CG Mockbusters
February 26, 2014 4:06 PM   Subscribe

The Asylum gets all the attention (and the lucrative gig filling time for "SyFy") but they're far from the only company out there making "mockbusters," those ultra low budget, direct-to-DVD movies named similar to big Hollywood blockbusters, in the hopes that an inattentive purchaser will buy their movie in the hopes they're getting something better. But The Asylum's not the only ones making them, and a prominent mockbuster subgenre is that of companies making really poor CG movies that resemble Pixar and Dreamworks hits only to the extent that they can maintain plausible, legal deniability, their profit margins relying on clueless grandparents getting something nice for the little ones.

Two of these companies are Video Brinquedo (trailer for their Little & Big Monsters and some clips from its sequel) and Spark Plug Entertainment (trailer for An Ant's Life). Far more of their output, including whole movies, awaits you than you could ever hope to stomach....

Warning: every video link in this post will kill you at least three times.
Previously: #1 - #2. Many of the video links for previously-covered movies have expired, all of these are verified to work as of 2/26/2014.

I. Video Brinquedo (aka Toyland Video)

This Brazilian company specializes in awkward animation, unnatural translation, long pointless waking shots, and pauses you could drive school buses through. Of special note is the lipsync system they use, in which they match character mouths to dialogue apparently using an automatic system that, while it works, has an unusual look to say the least. Some of their movies aren't even listed at the IMDb. 4Kids Entertainment appears to have done some of the dubbing for English releases, so there's the extra amusement of hearing anime voices on some of the characters. Video Brinquedo also does some CG-based 2D animation. Those are outside the scope of this post, but they aren't any better.

Common features: Stiff animation, blank stares, simplistic models, sometimes casual racism.
Corporate site - Wikipedia - TVTropes

The Little Panda Fighter
In which a panda is roped into helping his polar bear boss commit fraud to dethrone boxing champ Fabulous Freak Teddy Thunders. The panda in question isn't little at all, and neither is he much of a fighter.
Full movie - Trailer (in Portuguese)
Things to watch for: The infinite green field. "Sweet Bear," both his Care Bear design and his anime action lines. The movie posters in Polaris' office. The filthy laundry room. Pankata's walk cycle. Freaky polar bear laughter. Mr. Grizzlepuss's nose hanger. Pankata's master's lack of confidence in his pupil's ability. The ending.

Ratatoing
Trailer
About a battle between mouse restaurants, involving the theft of food from the human world. Contains lots of padding. "The city," according to the trailer, is Rio de Janeiro, a fact the narrator distinctly avoids mentioning. The only unmolested copy I could find has intrusive YouTube annotations. Be sure to turn them off (click on the player button with the gear, you'll have to do it anew for each video), they're not going to do you any good.
Part 1: Notice how the characters go out of their way to not name the city. Also notice the paintings on the wall being the restaurant patrons.
Part 2: Contains a time-wasting suiting-up scene in a Matrix-like white field involving CG mice.
Part 3: "Turn this crazy thing off!" "How did you turn that thing on?" "I think I pushed the switch!" "What switch?" "Push the button behind you!" "Did you say 'pull'?" "No! Not pull the button, push the button!" "Are you saying button?" "Yes, button! I mean switch!" "Did you say button, or switch?" "The button is a switch!" "Ah, what switch? Or button?" "AAUUGH!"
Part 4: Video Brinquedo proudly presents the worst-modeled cat of all time.
Part 5: Marcel Toing: in exchange for success in business, he turned traitor to his species.

Note: I started working on this post back in October or so, then got driven off for awhile by the unrelenting tide of crap. When I came back to it, several of Video Brinquedo's movies, a substantial part of the post, had been taken off of YouTube. I'm unwilling to throw away all my work, so in memory of the post that could have been, here is some information on them, and some surviving trailers.

Little & Big Monsters (Monstros e Monstrinhos): Robots from other galaxies come to Earth and cause havoc. Contains a secret conspiracy between two "crazy scientists," a racist robot, a "salt laser," a theater marquee labeled THE KILLER LASANGA, a rotary telephone, and large quantities of WTF. I'm sorry to see this one gone, it's insane and would be worth the whole post by itself. Trailer.
Tiny Robots: While a bit over-narrated at the start, this is the stand-out of Video Brinquedo's library, a somewhat interesting story that works as science fiction. That means it gets a rating of half a star instead of the customary none. There's certain flaws here. For instance, the robots aren't really all that tiny. Watch for R2D2 and C3P0's head in the background. Trailer - Tooncrap review.
Little Bee: A soldier bee wants to make honey, and a honey-making bee wants to be a soldier. Oh, how will they ever work it out? The "bees" are actually humanoid models wearing striped sweaters! Contains a scene where you get to hear the voice actress of Ash from Pokemon express her character's desire to mate: "That's what I'm talkin' 'bout, she will be mine!" You also get to hear a bee failing to do a French accent say "I am such a losér!" Trailer

Little Cars (Os Carrinhos): A bunch of animate cars in the town of Raceopolis/Rodopolis have increasingly generic adventures. Seems to be a repackaged Brazilian cartoon show. The deeper you submurge yourself into the Os Carrinhos phenomenon the stranger it gets, and by the end they're meeting genie trucks and rabbit cars. There appear to be a total of eight of these. Amazon sells all of them in one package for five bucks. World building problems that sort of bothered you in Cars will sit on your head throughout Os Carrinhos.

Little Cars in The Great Race: This is the first of the Little Cars "movies." To save a delivery business, the gang has to win a big race despite the nefarious efforts of an evil car named Wrangler. Trailer
A couple others in the series (all these in Portuguese): Volume 1 - Volume 2

Os Carrinhos – O Musical: A centerpiece of the "Little Cars" phenomenon is this "musical" in which live people wearing car character costumes prance about inanely in front of CG backdrops. Dada is alive and well and living in Brazil!
Teaser: Watch for appearances by a random spider character and what appears to be Daisy Duck for some reason.
Se você está contente - Os Carrinhos – Promo: They sing "If you're happy and you know it" in Portuguese with random noises included (including at multiple points what seem to be screaming). Watch the mouths of the characters long enough and it becomes obvious they don't match the song.
Carrinhos Live on Stage: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: In which a prancing guy in a car suit sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, in Portuguese, to another guy in a star costume. Here it is again on a talk show.
The "ABCs" in English: Sung three times while people in random costumes energetically cavort with blocks. Seriously, you should watch this, it is a portal to the dimension of LULZ. Empty your mind and watch this video and you will be a different person when it's over. Or maybe an end table.

Other Video Brinquedo Trailers:
Barquinhos: Like Little Cars, but with boats. Boring.
Gladiformers: A fairly bland Transformers knock-off.
Gladiformers 2: More bland Transformer-ish robots.
What's Up: Balloon Rescue: This one ISN'T boring. A sequel to Little & Big Monsters, and just as amazing. If you're a fan of pointless and stupid racism from protagonists then boy, are you in for a treat. This actually isn't a trailer as much as a clips reel.

For more proof of man's inhumanity to sense, check out the contents of Video Brinquedo's multiple YouTube accounts:
#1 - #2 - #3

   ***       ***       ***       ***       ***       ***

II. Spark Plug Entertainment

Imagine a world... a world of distant still backgrounds, of stiff, unattractive modeling, where the background radiation of the universe is omnipresent light jazz, where the laws of fate unceasingly punish youth for the deadly sin of disobedience. This world is real, it exists simulated on the computers of Spark Plug Entertainment. Do not visit it for long, your mere human sanity is incompatible with it.

Not as stiff as Video Brinquedo's output, but also somehow less polished. The production company seems to be a proxy for a man named Michael Schelp. All of the following movies are written and directed by him. His Wikipedia page lists a few other movies, including "Frankie Stein."

From what I've heard Michael Schelp isn't a terrible guy, and moviemaking, by whatever means, is challenging. He cast several family members in A Car's Life, and they seem to be having a great time. (One can imagine Julia's single two-second scene being due to them shoehorning a protesting mother into the project.) But it remains that his movies are not generally good, cut corners all over the place, and like all the other movies in this post, are marketed specifically to people who think they're getting something else. You can admire his chutzpah, but that doesn't make these films watchable. And he was the executive producer of Spike's "MANswers," which is difficult to forgive.

Common features: slow animation, distant blurry skybox backgrounds, and omnipresent jazz on the soundtrack.
TVTropes

An Ant's Life
This movie is a lot more naturalistic than A Bug's Life, or indeed most animated fables about the lives of insects like AntZ and A Bee Story. It doesn't have the traditional three-act structure, which ordinarily I would be down with -- Death to the tyranny of Aristotle and Syd Fields! Anarchy! -- but I don't pretend that makes your movie generally watchable. Still, its reasonably experimental structure and sometimes shocking naturalism make it oddly fascinating to watch, and it might be the best of Spark Plug's product. This one is fairly short, barely a full movie at all.
Trailer
Part 1: The world of bugs is filled with terror, savagery and light jazz. That last thing makes it difficult to build up any sense of tension over what happens to the characters. Every time Josephine says something it's with the sly tone that movies use to signify evil to the audience. Hint hint!
Part 2: Salvatore the caterpillar and Gigi the mantis are on a first-name basis, yet openly acknowledge their prey/predator relationship, and that the only reason Gigi isn't eating Sal is because she's already eating someone thing. I'm sure kids will love the scene where Frank's lifeless staring head lies on the ground while his mate devours his flesh! It's like they watched the "Raymond" episode of Space Ghost Coast To Coast and thought, "Let's make a kids movie about this!" Although Gigi is as dangerous to the ants as the villainous geckos their conversation is handled casually, while lizard attacks get tension shots, rapid cuts and threatening music. I suppose I should be grateful, when Josephine is laying eggs, that they didn't model her cloaca; they just appear, extruded from her body.
Part 3: For the huge threat it's built up as being, the army of larva is less than imposing.

A Car's Life: Sparky's Big Adventure
The subtitle is "Sparky's Big Adventure," but really all the spunky little car does is disobey his father and come out the worse for it time and time again. Basically, this is automotive Pinocchio. When characters need to do something their anatomy is incapable of, like hold an object without arms, it's no obstacle, it just immediately grows a robot arm to manipulate it! Once the task is complete it immediately vanishes, not hanging around getting in the way and causing problems in later scenes that depend on cars not having arms. The actress for Speedy deserves an award for most annoying voice. I suggest calling it the Gottfried.
Trailer
Part 1: We get a record scratch sound effect within the first two minutes, and within six we visit a gravesite. Fun! There's a No Smoking sign at the gas station, so whatever their biology we know that cars can light up.
Part 2: How does Speedy clean windshields? By growing a robot arm, natch. If a car's eyes are its headlights, why does it have seats? And why does covering its windshield with oil blind it? There are two main female characters in the movie: Sultry Bad Influence, and Pinkie Pie On Crack. But, how do cars know what gender they are?
Part 3: The design of the gas leeches leaves one wondering what evolutionary pressures there are in this desert Motorama. Hope you like watching cars careening around the desert like lunatics, because we have extra helpings of that! The "races" amount to a finish line and a lonely trophy standing stark amidst the sand like a gold cactus; there are no other competitors, or indeed race staff, at all. Speedy mindlessly laughs and gawks in a way that brings one to mind of dread Azathoth, a vision of madness.
Part 4: I guess only girl cars get robot arms, and only when they're being evil or stupid. Speedy gets beaten up pretty bad here; it's like the director thought the donkey scene from Pinocchio didn't traumatize enough children. Pops shows up to reinforce the deadly conformity that's the movie's theme. Oh, he says he won a Champion's Cup when he was younger, but the movie didn't spend an hour showing awful things happening to him. "Who wants to race to the highway?" For two minutes under the closing credits? Sign me up!

Sequels:
A Car's Life 2 Trailer - Full movie with annoying audio commentary
A Car's Life 3 Trailer

Spider's Web: A Pig's Tale
What could be more heartbreaking than a mockbuster based off of Charlotte's Web? One where a kid pig lies in haiku, mother pigs keep pies in cages, spiders hang from threads extending up into the deep blue sky, snakes try to eat our hero pig because he strayed from his home barnyard mudfield where presumably the same fate awaits him, aliens run hotels, and snakes drive cars. When spider characters are supposed to enter a door, they just coast by it on their inexplicable threads, and they're inside. At the end it's revealed that the snakes were planning on eating the pig all along, but the wait to get to that point is excruciating. This is probably the worst movie of those covered here; I could, and almost did, fill this whole post with a discussion of its flaws. I made many omissions just to get this post finished. It is a mine, if not of gold, then of some substance.
Part 1 - Any real horse named Mr. Wigglesworth would be out for blood. They may grow mud on this farm, but by gum they do it while worshippin' the LORD. When you knock off an E.B. White story, you should have better writing than this.
Part 2 - What does a naturalistic pig burdened with homework write it on? A chicken reacts with horror at news of her eaten relative. A snake needing an arm suddenly sprouts an animate stick.
Part 3 - That's a mean TV. Bugs ride motorcycles and have missiles they can fire, but are still afraid of spiders. We see an anthropomorphic paddle with bug wings. I don't even what the heck go to hell.
Part 4 - The meat grinding machine is anthropomorphic too. Just kill the pig already.
Part 5 - How does stinging a snake stop a grinding machine? The happy ending takes us back to the Elemental Plane of Mud. The ending credits are presented in Comic Sans, and feature the characters bobbing rhythmically to jazz in front of THE COLD BLACK VOID OF DOOM. Be sure to end the video at 6:47, where the annoying host voice-over begins.

Plan Bee
A buncha bees have adventures in Washington D.C. Slightly better rendering than Spider's Web, but the bee models are quite unattractive. Unique character design amounts to a vocal tic, a unique disfigurment and a change in eye and neck ruff color. By animating flying insects, Spark Plug was able to do away with all those pesky walk cycles: the bees pretty much hover and movie their mouths and that's it.
Part 1: I suppose we can't fault the decision to give the bees (somewhat) realistic bee tongues, but their similarity to phalluses is tres disturbing. All the Spark Plug animated movies have a problem with music not matching the action, but it's particularly bad here.
Part 2: The bees' respect for George Washington is sufficient to cause one to suspect a political motivation on the part of the producer. The way their bottom eyelids clip into their faces fascinates me horribly. At the end it seems the bees have electric lighting.
Part 3: Although computer animated, Plan Bee's use of blurry paintings of Washington D.C. as backgrounds is reminiscent of the low-budget sci-fi monster movie Beginning Of The End, which infamously used grasshoppers crawling on postcards of a city to simulate an attack by giant insects. I hope you like organ, maracas and snare drums, because that's all you're gonna hear for nearly a whole minute here.
Part 4: It's easy to mock the animation in these, but the writing is worse. Note that the old queen bee doesn't seem to know how she was deposed, it was just something that seemed to happen, no confrontation or intermediate steps. She was just mysteriously ousted, like she woke up outside with the trash one day.
Part 5: If the voice of the pig from Spider's Web and the main bee of this movie sounds familiar, it's because it's Corinne Orr, long-time voice actress, best known from the English dub of the original Speed Racer and according to her Wikipedia page its last surviving English voice actor, and prominent presence in a number of other anime dubs. She's 77 now. Wherever you can find work Ms. Orr, rock on. Film ends at 3:25.

Piper Penguin And His Fantastic Flying Machines
Or, At The Mountains Of Badness. A penguin has dreams of building a flying contraption out of random junk that washed up on the shores of Antarctica. In the meantime he goes to Penguin School, wrecks the Penguin Prom, and is a subject of interviews with PNN.
Part 1: A penguin named Pepperoni.
Part 2: Whale raid sirens, a disturbingly horny gym coach, and “krill on a shingle." Don't penguins eat fish? No, it turns out, their food is extruded from a big nozzle on the wall.
Part 3: Tetherballs of the antarctic waste, perfectly square ice sheets, an encounter with a deadly villainous whale in a movie where no one swims, the Platonic ideal of the bad W.C. Fields impression, and the secret life of krill.
Part 4: "Penguin curling," the penguin prom, and a walrus singing about the type of females that he personally considers to be sexually arousing.
Part 5: "The toilet made of see-through ice!" If the whale's so evil, why do all the penguins refer to him by a nickname?
Part 6: They actually set up for a sequel. Why are they taking the krill characters with them? Movie ends at 3:06.
Early trailer
posted by JHarris (35 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can't wait for The Elgo Movie, The Playmobil Movie, and The Kubrick Movie.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:09 PM on February 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Warning: every video link in this post will kill you at least three times.

Quoted for truth. Oh my goodness. These videos are like... I want to say amazing, but amazing like seeing a bloody harpoon protruding from your stomach moments after getting impaled. Thanks, JHarris - and also, wow.
posted by RokkitNite at 4:26 PM on February 26, 2014


JHarris's soul died for our amusement.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:33 PM on February 26, 2014 [14 favorites]


A lot of this is awesome to me, because i'm obsessed with "terrible" early CGI for some reason.

It scratches the same itch as like, the minds eye or the CGI sequences in lawnmower man do.

This is an awesome post, and i'm sure it's going to suck up a ton of my time in the next few days.
posted by emptythought at 4:36 PM on February 26, 2014


I'm kind of wondering how old these are. The Gladiformers stuff seems to be from the last couple of years, but I'm not sure how old the rest is. A lot of this stuff would be ok in the 90s-early 2000s, especially for young kids, but not good enough today, obviously.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:47 PM on February 26, 2014


What's Up: Balloon to the Rescue is 2009. The most recent Spark Plug production with a clip here is Car's Life 3, I think, which was released in 2012. Piper Penguin is pretty recent too. You can generally get a sense of how old one of these movies is by matching it up to the Pixar or Dreamworks property it's riding on the coattails of.

emptythought, I'm the same way, I'm not sure why I find these fascinating. While the going was remarkably difficult in some places while compiling the post, I kept coming back for some reason. I think it's the same reason I appreciate glitch art; bad live action movies at least have the laws of physics and elementary logic going for them. These are potent examples of just how bad a thing mankind can create when it unmoors itself from reality.
posted by JHarris at 5:38 PM on February 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ah man, emptythought... I remember when The Mind's Eye came out on VHS - I was absolutely floored by how completely awesome it was. I remember bringing friends over to the house to watch it - it was unreal what they could get a computer to do, and, "man, seriously, someday videogames are gonna look like this!"
And then StuntRaceFX came out for the SNES and, again, I was floored.

It is baffling that CG has come so far in two decades that both of these titles now induce mild cringing.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:00 PM on February 26, 2014


There was a look-alike for Brave as well. I saw it behind the counter at Safeway the first week Brave was in theatres and wondered why the dvd was out so soon.

It would be interesting to learn how much money these schemes make.
posted by sneebler at 6:03 PM on February 26, 2014


Yes sneebler, the movie in question is Kiara The Brave, which was originally on my list but didn't make it into this post for the sole reason that my brain was about dead from making it through the last two movies in the post, Piper Penguin and Plan Bee.

Well, that and that it was made by India's Shemaroo Entertainment, which hasn't made as many mockbusters as VB and Spark Plug, and Kiara the Brave has never to my knowledge been posted to YouTube in its complete form. (Also, it was originally released in India a non-mockbuster, although still not terribly good, movie called Super K. Cartoon Brew article on Kiara the Brave.)
posted by JHarris at 6:22 PM on February 26, 2014


I'm going to build a time capsule and put these inside. One day, they will be all that's left of early 3rd-millenium culture.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 6:34 PM on February 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


Thanks JHarris. Yikes.
posted by sneebler at 6:49 PM on February 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm in awe of the typing and linking, much less the mind-boggling feat of actually watching all these clips.

Yikes indeed.
posted by GuyZero at 7:13 PM on February 26, 2014


I just gotta say that "Plan Bee" is an awesome, awesome title.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:45 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I laughed out loud at the trailer for An Ant's Life. It really amuses me that some pair of siblings out there is going to have that as their instant timehole back to childhood.
posted by threeants at 10:17 PM on February 26, 2014


I'm also fascinated by the way these films inhabit a sweet spot where they aren't good enough to be remotely watchable other than for laughs, yet still necessitate enough effort that they were surely a major undertaking for someone. just...what
posted by threeants at 10:20 PM on February 26, 2014


Actually, they're so crappy and odd that I would definitely get these for my kids if I had some, in order to instill in them a hearty sense of the absurd.
posted by threeants at 10:22 PM on February 26, 2014


Yea, threeants. They're like a 3d animated version of the godawful animated titanic movie i just remembered.

jeeze i'm just blowing my load of stuff i've been saving up for FPPs in this thread.
posted by emptythought at 11:03 PM on February 26, 2014


I think I should mention that I do feel a bit conflicted talking Spark Plug's productions down so much. I know if I accidentally bought one of these expecting a Pixar movie I wouldn't be too happy, but they seem like they were made with a very limited staff, especially An Ant's Life, which seems to be just Schelp, the voice actors and the music guy.

Everything I said applies, but I can't help but think if I ran into the guy I'd like him. Anyway, he's been doing this for at least five movies, I'm sure he has a thicker skin than my feeble barbs could pierce.
posted by JHarris at 12:22 AM on February 27, 2014


Saw the trailer for the forthcoming CGI Tarzan last night , and it doesn't look like it'd be *that* out of place amongst the above?

(amazing post btw. And to think I wanted to get some work done today.)
posted by ominous_paws at 12:46 AM on February 27, 2014


I can't believe you watched the whole thing(s)
posted by asok at 2:32 AM on February 27, 2014


If these aren't bad enough for you, the 24-hour infinite loop Livestream of Foodfight is still going....
posted by JHarris at 3:49 AM on February 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


It would be interesting to learn how much money these schemes make.

Millions, at least for certain players.

The Asylum has, reportedly, never spent anything close to a million dollars on one of its films, and usually breaks even within three or so months. I don't know about Video Brinquedo though. It seems to me like there would be a point where even the knockoff market would start to turn on you.
posted by valkyryn at 3:59 AM on February 27, 2014


VB's home market is Brazil, and Os Carrinhos is at least popular enough over there to have a cartoon show and stage... thing. Presumably a lot of their profit comes from there.
posted by JHarris at 4:47 AM on February 27, 2014


Whenever I see these in a Redbox or convenience store DVD rack, I feel bad for all the disappointed kids who wind up watching them.
posted by usonian at 5:59 AM on February 27, 2014


/stands slackjaw, struck speechless
posted by mwhybark at 7:10 AM on February 27, 2014


A few years back there was this like Mickey Mouse animation or something? And it was super weird and awkward and it had the Leakspin song by Loituma (sorry, can't remember the real name). Anybody know what I'm talking about? It was so amazingly bad it was awesome. I don't think they were trying to pull one over on anyone though. I'd love to see it again.

...

OOOH Let's do a veggie tales one, but it'll be like, all Satanic and shit! Frighten the hell outta the young'ns... A real terror.

...

When I was in 3rd grade, I got these weird animal robot-changers (transformer/gobots), and I didn't care. It was weird to have a peacock robot, but goddamn, nobody else did! I never got the Optimus Prime I wanted, but we didn't have a lot of money growing up. I don't know if me crying about it in the store broke my mom's heart that she couldn't afford it, or really just pissed her off thinking I was entitled, or maybe a bit of both.

....

What broke my heart, not for me, but my mom... was when my dad was buying me huge boxes of baseball cards, and my mom, to try to be nice, bought one of those clear bags of like 100 commons with the tag "maybe you'll find a big expensive card in here!" And she gave it and asked, and I just pretended like "no luck" instead of "oh mom... there's never going to be anything good in these things..."

But what was good to me, was that she loved enough to try.

...

So, here's a question. Are these knockoffs the same price? Or are they cheaper? Because my stories above had to do with money. If these are charging the same price as the full thing, well clearly fuck them. Well either way, fuck them. I think we knew PeacockRobot was a cheap knockoff, but to try to be an alternative in look/name, etc... then shaaaaaady.
posted by symbioid at 7:55 AM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's because I have kids that are around the target age for these, but I can't hate on them too much. Especially when you consider that the homes that these movies end up in are most likely lower income, and to a three-year-old, any cartoon or kids show can become pretty beloved. I mean, some of the early stuff the Wiggles put out rivaled classic Doctor Who for low-tech and crappy staging, but a kid at the right age will absolutely delight in it.
posted by jbickers at 8:27 AM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


OMG I found myself getting scared for a caterpillar that was going to fall in a spider's web in god knows what of those links I clicked on. I found myself caring about this while eating my lunch and came back to reality. Thanks JHarris for an awesome post about something I never thought about much and I kind of hate you too for posting this and forcing me to care for 4 seconds about a poorly done CGI caterpillar.
posted by marxchivist at 9:30 AM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


The voiceover on the "Little and Big Monsters" trailer is awesome.
posted by Clustercuss at 10:14 AM on February 27, 2014


I feel like I got JHarris addicted with the gateway drug that is Foodfight and now he's a full-on bad CG Junkee now.
posted by hellojed at 12:26 PM on February 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


So, here's a question. Are these knockoffs the same price? Or are they cheaper?

I've looked around Amazon a bit, and I've found that they charge whatever they think they can get away with. So, mockbusters based off of older movies will be bargain bin prices, but the more recent ones can be $10-11. I say this as someone who actually would like to purchase Little & Big Monsters and What's Up: Balloon to the Rescue for infliction value, but not if I'm going to end up paying more than $5.

Little & Big Monsters is about $7 on Amazon, but its list price is $12.98, which is rather a lot relative to what you get.

OMG I found myself getting scared for a caterpillar that was going to fall in a spider's web in god knows what of those links I clicked on.

Yeah, An Ant's Life is odd in that it's effective, somewhat. That one's pretty much just Michael Schelp. It's got plenty of other flaws, but it's unique. I can't imagine another kid's movie where the big reveal is that the queen ant is (gasp!) a social parasite!
posted by JHarris at 12:32 PM on February 27, 2014


And hellojed, I will admit to going back to the Foodfight Livestream last night after linking to it... and found people in it.
posted by JHarris at 12:41 PM on February 27, 2014


I enjoy watching these on my Magnetbox flot screen TV.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:49 PM on February 27, 2014


Also:

Maybe it's because I have kids that are around the target age for these, but I can't hate on them too much.

We should be extra harsh on these movies for that. For lower income kids deserve good movies too. Quality doesn't respect income, a movie is bad independent of the social class of those who watch it -- who may have no alternative but to watch it.
posted by JHarris at 2:52 PM on February 27, 2014


When War of the Worlds (2005, with Tom Cruise) came out on DVD, one of my friends accidentally picked up the god-awful War of the Worlds (2005, with C. Thomas Howell) by mistake. It was... bad. I mean, it was really, really bad. We tried MST3K-ing it at first, but we couldn't make it all the way through.

I have a copy of Transmorphers stashed away somewhere, just waiting for her.
posted by xedrik at 8:54 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


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