Thursday, May 8, 2014

Don't Return to Oz: Flying Monkeys

Oz is the place to be.  Apparently someone said 'We need another Film about Oz,' so we have the film coming out this Friday.  To that I say 'Okay.'  I'm here to tell you that there is another Film that you should consider: 2013's Flying Monkeys.  Is it an Oz Film?  Well, kind of.  It is called 'Flying Monkeys,' so that is one point from then.  There are many references to the classic tales- although less than I was expecting- peppered in as well.  The new Film- (League of) Legends of Oz- is Animated with some nice-looking CG.  This Film has...less-nice-looking CG Effects, but is otherwise Live-Action.  Legends has Dorothy leaving Kansas for Oz yet again.  Monkeys has the titular beasts traveling from China to Kansas, so that's...something.  Finally, Legends features the Voice of Glee Star Lea Michele, while Monkeys has...the Professor from Boston Common.  He- Vincent Ventresca- was also the Star of the 2000 Invisible Man TV Show, so that's...something too.  The Film is both a bit odd and a bit formulaic.  The set-up and logic behind the creatures is weird, while everything else is pretty much 'by the numbers.'  To be honest, I wanted an excuse to watch/review this when I found a movie called Flying Monkeys.  Besides, I want me some new readers- help me, Google!  In case you missed this on Syfy last year, here's your chance to avoid what is being flung by the...
In the Cold Open, two people are flying a bunch of exotic animals to the U.S. when one of them breaks out.  It turns out to be one of the titular creatures and it kills one of them.

For plot convenience, it can't get the other one hidden behind a door.  The guy managed to fly another several hours to boot!
The proper Plot involves a single Dad raising his kid in Gale, Kansas (ugh!) and he isn't giving her enough attention.  He can only think of one thing to do...
Buy her a Monkey!  Why not?

As it turns out, the small Monkey is actually the creature from earlier.  The pretty damn silly, so I'll save it for later.
Okay, so here's the (silly) explanation for this.  Try to stay with me (and stop laughing)...

The Monkey is actually some sort of Demon that transforms into the winged beast at night.  There's more silliness, but I'll get to that later.
In Plot B, these two people are in China looking for the creatures.  They find that one of them is still in the area and go to hunt it down.  This leads to the other silly Rule related to these creatures.
If you kill them (which is quite easy, actually) with normal weapons, they multiply...because magic.  You have to use ancient, blessed weapons (which the two have in spades) to actually kill them.  Magic!
To make a long story (actually only about 90 minutes), the Monkeys spent a bunch of time killing random people in Gale.  While this happens, they keep getting 'killed' and multiplying.

If you can't make your monsters tough, make them multiple!
The Plots collide when the two Chinese Warriors make their way to Gale (by retracing Plot Points from earlier!) for the big showdown.
You know how this all works?  They kill the final Monkey and the day is saved.

The bigger question to me: how does our heroine's friend- aka one of the Babysitter Twins- have an accent as a native Kansas resident?  The End.
Yeah, it's exactly what you think it is.  If you peel back the silly layers, it is pretty much every Syfy Film.  With few exceptions, they all tend to feel 'samey.'  You can take just about every silly premise and see the same basic film.  Whether it is a film like Robocroc, Tasmanian Devils or even Sharktopus, they pretty much fit into the same mold.  The question is this: is the goofy stuff enough to make you endure the stock nature of it all?  If you can make the goofy stuff strong enough, some people will.  Case in point: Sharknado.  This is not Sharknado (coming back to Theaters in July via Rifftrax).  The CG is pretty bad when you see it alongside real people.  The Acting is not that great as a whole.  The whole thing certainly feels cheap.  As a bonus, it is set in Kansas, while it was Filmed in Louisiana (thanks, tax breaks!).  If you see a Film listed as Flying Monkeys, you will either roll your eyes or want to see it.  Whatever category you fit in, you can make up your mind.  I will leave you with one of my favorite Memes- the fake Search Engine (now with bad pun)...
Next up, I try to make Maynard mad (since he deserves it).  Will I love Wrong Cops?  Stay tuned...

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