Age of Hobbits pics

Into Battle
[adrotate banner=”1″]Asylum’s mockbuster Age of Hobbits has hit the point where they put a bunch of photos up on flickr, so let’s celebrate by embedding a few of them in this post! As I’m sure you recall, the plot of this future epic feature is:

In an ancient age, the small, peace-loving Hobbits are enslaved by the Java Men, a race of flesh-eating dragon-riders. The young Hobbit Goben must join forces with their neighbor giants, the humans, to free his people and vanquish their enemies.

Age of Hobbits was filmed in Cambodia, and stars Christopher Judge and Bai Ling. This will turn out to be one of the least weird movies Bai Ling has been in! It comes out on DVD/VOD on December 11, 2012.

More info on Asylum’s website

A Competition

Age of the Hobbits synopsis

The Asylum’s filmed in Cambodia mockbuster Age of the Hobbits has advanced to the point that a plot synopsis and actors have appeared on their official site.

In an age long ago, the last village of clever, peace-loving Hobbits is attacked and enslaved by the Java Men, komodo-worshiping, dragon-riding cannibals. Now the young Hobbit Goben, along with his father and sister, must seek help from the “giants” (human hunters) to find the Javas’ lair and rescue the last surviving Hobbits, Goben’s mother among them. In their quest to destroy the Javas, the heroic partnership of humans and Hobbits will transform both species forever.

From the sound of it, they’re incorporating a lot of details from various homonid species. The Hobbits are the so-called real Hobbits, Homo floresiensis. The Java Men also take their name from a Homo erectus subspecies colloquially called Java Man (Homo erectus erectus) The Komodo mentions means the whole thing is set in the Indonesian region, where Java Man and the Flores Man are both found. So this is basically Quest for Fire meets Willow meets Caravan of Courage. Which I like. Christopher Judge (Stargate), Bai Ling (all sorts of awesome stuff), and Sun Korng (I have no idea) are attached. Joseph Lawson directed, he actually did digital work on the LOTR trilogy, as well as directing Nazis at the Center of the Earth. Writer Eric Forsberg wrote the entertaining Arachnoquake. This means Age of the Hobbits could be pretty good. Just don’t be boring, that’s all I ask!
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Homo floresiensis

Actual photo of Bai Ling

pic via

Asylum gives us Age of the Hobbits and some Buddies

[adrotate banner=”1″]Movie concept improvers The Asylum got profiled again, this time by the LA Times (in an article that mentions many other knockoff/mockbuster studios) and there was a nice tidbit about one of their upcoming films that was news to everyone:

That’s why the Asylum is sending a small crew to Cambodia to shoot what could be the hottest drafting opportunity title of the holiday season: “Age of the Hobbits.” If all goes well, the disc will be stocked in Redbox kiosks before director Peter Jackson’s”The Hobbit” hits theaters in December.

Yes, a Hobbit mockbuster! Filmed in Cambodia, of all places! Age of the Hobbits has the potential to be awesometacular!

Speaking of awesometacular, the Air Bud/Air Buddies series has given us 12 entries so far (including spinoff films) but what it hasn’t produced is a wave of immitators that have staying power. That may change when The Asylum comes to town, because they’re also doing their own golden retreiver puppies series, Golden Winter! And thanks to the winter theme, it can easily be sequelized to different seasons without missing a beat! Featuring Shannon Elizabeth and Haylie Duff, the film will feature a kid who befriends some puppies and then they stop a bank robbery. Maybe this will be puppy Home Alone too? Tom Seidman writes and directs. Clearly Haylie Duff proves she’s the superior Duff sister. No, that wasn’t a joke, by the way. She voices Rory the puppy leader.

Golden Winter

We're not buddies, in fact, we all hate each other and you!

Almighty Thor – Discount Puppet Explosion 411 – Episode 110

It’s Discount Puppet Explosion 411! Two teams battle to review B-movies.

In this episode, Team Bastards deals with Thor. Not the big budget Thor that was boring and bland, but the low-rent Thor that has guns and whines all the time. But there’s dinosaurs! And giant dogs! And Richard Grieco! And some chick! Will Whiny Thor make Team Bastards declare war against Thursdays? Find out!

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Prior episodes

Princess of Mars (Review)

Princess of Mars

Directed and written by Mark Atkins

The Asylum are the masters of the Mockbusters, the films released on DVD the same day that films with similar titles open in the theater. We got Transmorphers, The Terminators, and Dragon. Thanks to the magic of the public domain, the first couple of Barsoom books are copyright free in the USA, thus allowing Asylum to get away with this cash in. Surprisingly, this is not a mockbuster of John Carter of Mars, the upcoming Pixar film due out in 2012, but is a mockbuster for Avatar, complete with mentioning Avatar on the DVD cover.

Now, a few of you will not be that familiar with the story of the Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter books. A brief explaination: John Carter is a Virginian and former Confederate soldier who is wandering around the West and goes in a cave, and ends up on Mars, called Barsoom by the natives. He’s captured by Green Martians, who are 14 foot tall green Martians with tusks and four arms, who admire his great strength and hopping ability (a gift from his Earth muscles on the lighter gravity of Mars) and train him up to be a warrior. They also capture some Red Martians, who are human-like except for their red skin. Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, is the main captive, and Carter falls for her and soon they are escaping and lots of fights happen. And everyone on Mars is naked all the time. Guess which part is not in the film! Most of it, actually.

Barsoom – planet of substandard emissions standards

So here at TarsTarkas.NET we have a vested interest in Princess of Mars because there is a dude named Tars Tarkas in it. He’s played by Matt Lasky, who has also left comments on the blog, so we got that going for us.

But the question is…is Princess of Mars a good film? Ha! It’s not the worst thing Asylum has churned out, but it is far from a masterpiece. It isn’t awful, but parts make absolutely no sense. I would have much preferred that they just went with an original story, but, whatever. I can say it is the best Barsoom movie ever, because it is the only Barsoom movie! Yet. I will not rag on some of the CGI or costumes (except when they get really bad…) because at TarsTarkas.NET, we forgive small budgets. We don’t forgive bad writing, so expect that to get pointed out.

Enough jibber-jabber, let’s do this thing, Martian style!

John Carter (Antonio Sabato Jr.) – John Carter is a Marine sniper who originally was from Virginia but gets sent to Mars 216 thanks to the military doing….something….for some reason….never explained. So, yeah, he’s on Mars 216, hopping around, and kicking butt and naming names.
Dejah Thoris (Traci Lords) – Dejah Thoris is the Princess of Mars and Princess of Helium. But since the natives call Mars 216 Barsoom, shouldn’t she be the Princess of Barsoom? Or the Princess of Mars 216? Questions, questions. Traci Lords is not the raven-haired, red skinned Dejah Thoris of the novels, nor does she have the tough, proud warrior independent spirit, instead protraying Dejah Thoris as a more somber, introspective princess.
Tars Tarkas (Matt Lasky) – Tars Tarkas is a Green Martian warrior (Green Martians are Tharks) and befriends John Carter of Mars. Tars Tarkas eventually takes over the Thark clan, because Tars Tarkas rules. The Tars Tarkas costume starts deteriorating as the film progresses, so keep an eye out for that. The Green Martian heads look like artichokes or asparagus spears or something.
Sarka (Chacko Vadaketh) – Sarka betrays John Carter in Afghanistan and is partially responsible for Carter being sent to Mars 216.
Sab Than (It is a mystery!) – Who is the mysterious warrior Sab Than, who is sort of the Princess’s bodyguard, but not really?
Tal Hajus (Mitchell Gordon) – The fat Jabba mofo who runs the Tharks and is totally evil. He also hates women with eyes. Yeah. He gets sliced and diced.
Sola (Noelle Perris) – Sola in this film is just a random Green Martian lady who is friends with Tars Tarkas. She does some pivotal rescuing.

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The Terminators (Review)

The Terminators

Directed by Xavier S. Puslowski

The Asylum makes a living producing mockbusters, which are DTV films with titles deceptively similar to films that have hit the theater the same week the DTV film hits video store shelves, thus people rent it by mistake and get enraged at what they saw. It is a strategy that works, gets them lots of press, and on occasion produces a film that’s better than the film it is mockbusting. TarsTarkas.NET has covered the mockbusters Transmorphers and Dragon (and will be covering more soon!), though those two films were done long ago when Leigh Scott was responsible for most of The Asylum’s output and better mockbusters. He has since left to do his own thing, and I haven’t really seen any post-Scott films from Asylum until now. Does it measure up? Read on and find out!

On first glance, you would think that The Asylum would get their pants sued off for the title alone. The Terminators? That doesn’t leave much room for error in what they are trying to mockbuster. But as The Asylum got lots of free publicity when they were threatened over the title of their The Day the Earth Stood Still mockbuster The Day the Earth Stopped, it is understandable why they would want to push the envelope again. From the trailer, it became obvious that they were using both the Terminator films and the remake Battlestar Galactica series as inspirations for the story and design, and that became even more obvious upon seeing the completed film.

What did happen is if you went to The Asylum’s Website, you saw no mention of the film. Sources say they did receive a cease and desist, but released the film regardless while scrubbing all promotion of it on their own pages. Sneaky, and calling someone’s bluff. The information was returned about a week later and is still up as of the time of writing this review.

One of the major problems with the film is the pacing. I am generally forgiving when it comes to bad effects (even if I point them out I find them charming) but as the Terminator franchise is generally known for fast-paced action, The Terminators is more on the lines of jogging action. A few sequences have brief bits of excitement on the scale of a bigger production (the van chase, the space battles), but most of the film is just the same robot guy walking along and killing people. Granted, there is no way that a small budgeted film like this could pull of complicated car chase sequences, nor are they expected, but when you are using all CGI for space shots, just go for broke and fund a few thousand dollars worth of cooler shots that will get people talking more.

This is Xavier S. Puslowski’s first film, though he has been the assistant director on many Asylum films (and if the rumors are true, he was basically the director on at least one of them thanks to the real director not doing anything!) Writer David Michael Latt is the current writer for what looks like everything the Asylum has done in the past few years, though this time he was working with story elements from lesser Asylum player William Morey. One common theme on Asylum productions is thinking big, so you can’t fault them for wanting to be able to do awesome stuff. The problem lies in their ability to do awesome stuff, which doesn’t always work with tiny budgets.

It is the future, and everyone owns a robot slave, called a TR4, all of which look identical, some bodybuilder. Yeah. I can totally see a sinister-looking model like that getting bought by families in the suburbs to cook breakfast. Of course, this movie would have not looked like the film it is mockbusting had the cyborgs all looked like Mrs. Doubtfire, but it would have been insane. Also, in this future where we have cyborgs and space stations and starships, everything else is modern day. In fact, the cars are all older model cars, probably because most of them are destroyed and a buying a new car would eat up the whole budget (it’s not like Chrysler is going to give them free cars, but maybe they should since they are broke and could use the publicity The Terminators could give them!)

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