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‘Return of the Moonwalker’ (review)

Review by Dean Galanis

An evil magician resurrects Michael Jackson so that he can retrieve a magic lance, which will ensure global domination.  Or something.

Fans of so-bad-they’re-good movies…..don’t get your hopes up. 

Return of the Moonwalker is flat-out hideous.

At 93 minutes, it feels three times that long, with not only zero laughs, but enough wretched acting, directing, editing, camerawork, make-up, any skill involved in filmmaking (hell, I’m sure even the craft services sucked) to make any viewer who expects competence for their rental money throw eggs at the screen.

In fact, the movie made me angry from the first few seconds of its interminable running time.

It opens with two male little people engaging in sadomasochistic sodomy. 

That’s the entire joke. Boy, the filmmakers went the extra mile!

How outrageous!!

I’m sure if John Waters ever bothered to toss this filth into his DVD player, he’d eject it after 30 seconds and break it over his knee.

Obviously, a film that brings back Jackson from the dead is aiming for tastelessness. Guess what, jerks? You missed.

Your film DOES have taste.

Awful, horrendous, embarrassing taste. Every joke flops. Every bid for offensiveness flops. The only thing offensive about this crap is that it was released in any form, and that these clowns want people’s hard earned money and valuable time.  Even if you’re a retired billionaire, you’ll feel robbed by Return of the Moonwalker.

It’s great in this day and age that getting a movie made for peanuts is easier than ever. Truly. And it’s okay to have fun and make a fairly ambitious flick with a non-existent effects budget.  Manborg for example, is a nifty sci-fi/actioner with not-so-hot effects, but it knows it, and supplants this with a great sense of playfulness and fun. And it’s entertaining. And it’s not a rip-off.

Even something like Birdemic, which is a pretty bad movie, at least aims to entertain. It fails miserably in terms of what it set out to do. But because the filmmakers committed and made some oddball choices along the way, Birdemic comes across as a fun, modern-day Ed Wood descendant. Same with The Room.

Those filmmakers tried and failed to make “good” movies. But they had a vision and passion (as wacked-out as they may be), and it comes across in the final product. We laugh at those movies, but the films ultimately do entertain, which is more than one can say for many – if not most – of the multimillion dollar releases from the major studios year in, year out.

And it’s a helluva lot more than one can say for Return of the Moonwalker. The Michael Jackson jokes are clichéd and stupid.  There are Obama jokes: hold on to your sides for this one! One of the villains (I think it was a villain; I detested everyone in this crud) dispatches “Obama” with the line, “I found your birth certificate, Obama!” Um…..huh…?

It’s indicative of the comedic chops of everyone involved that the film ends with an idiotic Hitler gag.  Not only that, but the actor portraying him is wearing a STORE BOUGHT HITLER MASK.  (Which, come to think of it, may have been wise in light of the ghastly make-up on display throughout the rest of the film). Still, it just seems like either a) they thought we’d think it’s funny that they’re being intentionally cheesy and cheap or b) by that point, everyone had just given up.

The only crew member who even seemed to try is the editor. Don’t get me wrong, the editing is wretched. But it’s just cutcutcut, with many gimmicky tricks like the visual equivalent of the old record scratch gag, speeding up the film, quick intercutting, etc.  I got the feeling the editor knew the material was noxious and was trying to at least spruce it up — or trying to distract us.

I realize it’s difficult to make an intentionally funny and cheesy, “tasteless”, “cheap” movie. Very few filmmakers have pulled it off (John Waters being the obvious exception). But even with that in mind, I have no sympathy for anyone involved with this dung. One of my biggest pet peeves in film advertising is the line, “Beyond your imagination!” Screw you, douche – I have a terrific imagination and you don’t even know me. I coulda thunk up a better movie than the dull poop you’re flouting, jerk.

But, you know, most movies involve SOME level of imagination. Birdemic, The Room, Black Devil Doll From Hell, Troll 2 – there are moments and entire plot points that were, yes, beyond my imagination. I never would have thought of the boardroom scene in Birdemic, most of the dialogue and its delivery in The Room, the ending of Troll 2, the entirety of Black Devil Doll.  From an aesthetic standpoint, they’re awful movies, but they’re great fun…..partially because  of the filmmakers’ unusual imaginations.

Return of the Moonwalker has absolutely NO imagination.

The opening scene is really all you need to know: “Hey, we’ll have two gay little people in S & M gear having anal sex!!!” “Oh, my God, that’s HILARIOUS. What happens next?!” “ Dude, seriously?  That’s hilarious ENOUGH!!” “Oh, God, sorry! You’re so right!!”

This is why the movie fails so miserably. 

Nobody tried. Nobody gave any thought beyond the rudimentary. Therefore, again, I have no sympathy for their fail…because they didn’t even try.

F you,  Return of the Moonwalker. F you.

Return of the Moonwalker releases 11/26 on iTunes, XBOX, PlayStation, Vudu, and DVD (through Indie Rights).

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