Friday, June 26, 2009

Rock Monster

Welcome back Sporefans. Now I know last week we assaulted your senses by subjecting you to a review of Mustang Sally's Horror House, complete with sanitized dirty pictures of... stuff. This week we've decided to take a look at a movie that steps away from all the senseless sex, drugs and violence... a movie that's slightly more wholesome, although still not really very good.

I have to give the Chiller channel props for keeping me in enough bad movies this Summer so that I don't have to spend my meager salary on discount DVD's from the Walgreens movie rack. I don't want to have to choose between food and movies, and I haven't figured out how to eat DVD's yet, so this is a plus for me. Not that I mind a few re-re-re-released Christopher Lee movies or old Flash Gordon compilations from Walgreens. This week I've got a movie not only featured by Chiller (a subsidiary of SciFi) but produced by the Sci-Fi channel as well. Sporefans, I present... Rock Monster!

No. Stop. Stop it! Stop singing "Rock Lobster" by the B-52's. If you don't we'll never get through this review.

Oh, OK, fine. Get it out of your system.

I should also mention that Rock Monster also features John "Is that gasoline I smell?" Polito as the crazy retired General.

Done? All right then. Rock Monster is a movie about four college students trekking through Eastern Europe. When their bus breaks down in the middle of the woods, Jason (Chad Collins), Toni (Alicia Lagano)... wait... what the? In possibly one of the laziest moves I've ever seen, the other two friends, along with most of the rest of the cast of Rock Monster is not listed on IMDB's database. There are a total of seven actors listed on IMDB for this film, but there are definitely more than seven people in the movie. Where are the other two friends? Where are the townspeople?

Where the SPORE is everybody?

Check out this kwality shot from the movie. Doesn't this make you want to watch the film? No? Where are you going? Don't run away like so many of the villagers in the film! Come back!

It only wants to be friends.

Were they too ashamed to put their names on this movie? That can't be right, as most of the entries on IMDB are created and maintained by fans. Can it be that no one bothered to enter the information into IMDB's database for anyone aside from the seven actors listed as of June 10th, 2009?

Good thing I've got my DVR.

The two other friends are Warren the annoying English guy (played by Daniel Hembling) and Benny (Michael Flemming).Take that Internet! I know something you don't! Well, didn't; as now the Internet also knows it via me. Maybe I'll be nice and upload their names into IMDB's database so they can be forever ashamed, uh... I mean remembered, of being eaten by a giant monster made of rocks.

Or maybe I'll be lazy and procrastinate until I forget about it. I'm good at that.

If the monster were any type of competent it would just step on the annoying hero, but I guess it can't roll high enough to beat the armor class of a man in a heavy winter coat.

After Benny and Warren try to remove the sword from the stone, Jason is able to pull it out with ease. Does that make him the king of a small area of Eastern Europe? No. What it actually does is unleash a monster made of stone from its timeless slumber to feast on the blood of the local villagers.

You've got to love how upbeat Eastern Europeans are. Their unbridled optimism makes for the best myths. "No son, you don't get to be king. We just all die. Good job... jerkface."

This has nothing to do with the movie. Or does it?

How did we get a giant monster made of rocks? Well the movie explains that long ago there was an evil wizard who plotted the destruction of the village of... wherever they hell they are. Said evil wizard was defeated by a brave knight with a magic +1 sword, who happened to roll a natural twenty and score a critical wound on the wizard. But evil wizards can't truly be killed by virtuous heroes, so he was only imprisoned in the earth and his body eventually turned to stone. Jason, our protagonist, happens to be a direct descendant of that ancient hero, and thus he was able to pull the sword out of the stone and accidentally awaken the monster. Now Jason must become a virtuous hero to defeat the rock monster once in for all. You know, the monster that can't be defeated by virtuous heroes with magic swords.

Apparently the key here is screen time.

Of course, if Jason were able to go up to the monster and stick the sword back in it and save the day, that would be too easy. Luckily there's a villain named Dimitar (played by David Figlioli, who was lucky enough to be named in the original seven cast members), who sabotages Jason's sword before he can kill the monster. There happens to be a slot for a magic jewel in the pommel of the sword that gives the sword its "magical energy". I guess you could say that it's the sword's family jewels... er, jewel. Without the gem the sword is able to hurt the monster, but not defeat it; as if it were some how less... potent.

Which is really odd because said jewel is not in the sword in the beginning of the movie, and yet the monster was subdued by it. Plot hole anyone?

What do you mean my sword doesn't work?

So Jason has three goals in this movie. First, recover the missing family jewel while the audience makes jokes about how his family only has one, and that's why he's the last of his line. Second, he must use the jewel to revive the potency of his sword which will enable him to defeat the rock monster. Finally, he has to rescue the mayor's daughter, which is about as close to a princess as you can get in this Podunk fake Eastern European town.

Wait, did I forget to mention the girl? I'm sorry, I must have been trying to block out the most painful parts of this movie. Cassandra (Natalie Denise Sperl, who was also lucky enough to be one of the less than magnificent seven) is not a bad character, she's just a little flat; and no, I'm not talking about her chest. Over the course of the forty-eight hours or so that the movie takes place she meets Jason, falls in love with him, agrees to marry him and move to the United States (presumably to live in his dorm), is kidnapped by Dimitar and the rock monster and rescued.

In other words he's on a never ending quest to save his girlfriend. Until the end of the movie that is.

Believe it or not John "Is that gasoline I smell?" Polito is standing right next to this girl, but he's not in the shot. You can actually see the medals on his costume there. Oh how the mighty have fallen in a Sci-Fi production.

Apparently this is one of the themes of the movie, as Toni, the only one of Jason's friends to survive the movie finds her true love in the form of some Eastern European farm boy (plated by Niki Iliev, and actually credited as "Farm boy"). Is it something they put in the Eastern European water? Or is Declan O'Brien just a great big fan of Zelda games and happy endings. No, the traditional kind, not the massage kind.

If after all this you still want to watch Rock Monster, I will say that the movie doesn't cause horrible pain and won't give you ocular syphilis. Its not a good movie, true, but it does have some fun moments. There is some interesting dialogue in between mostly cookie cutter catchphrases in Rock Monster, but you'll be hard pressed to find them. I wonder if there's some sort of website devoted to one liners from action movies that might have inspired Declan O'Brien's work.

Think about it this way Sporefans, if you want to watch a movie where a guy plays with his sword in the woods for two hours in an attempt to beat some rocks off his girlfriend, then I won't stop you. I will, however, warn you that the synopsis I provided in the previous sentence is much more entertaining than the movie itself.


esuarez said...

what I find surprising is that most rock monsters in media has been shown as gentle beasts. For example, The Thing from the Fantastic Four or the rock monster from the neverending story. Boulder dash...I say to deadly rock monsters! The monster was acting on the wishes of the audience.

On a side note what are your thoughts to scifi channel changing its name to syfy.

Spored_to_Death said...

They're gonna do what? Tell me you're joking.

You're not joking are you?

“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network. (from pulled on 6/29/09).

So they've decided that they no longer want to be a channel for people who like science fiction because science fiction is for nerds. Even though they're the science fiction channel.

I guess its not really a great loss as the Sci-Fi channel went bad back in '02 or '03 and never got better. Besides, for all of us video game loving antisocial geeks who actually don't live in basements there's always the G4 channel.

They have Ninja Warrior you know.