In the next scene, are heroes are riding in the back of a horse-drawn cart for a very long time. Apparently, they’ve abandoned their wizard with extremely poor aim, Oraculus.

In the back of the cart – in a scene where they aren’t moving, because continuity is not a big thing, Maya emotes about how her entire body is paralyzed due to the near-death experience. She’s moving her body a bit as she says this, so I assume Gloria doesn’t actually know what that word means.

Joey feels sick to his stomach, blah blah, and Maya says they need to find King Astrodoulos. Their driver informs them that the King has been informed they’ve arrived, and that he is “meditating at the Water Lily Pond.” Wait, a pond named after something that grows in ponds? After “Lake Lagoon” I was expecting it to have a name like “Water Pond”. Anyway, she says the guards will escort them.

And then! We get our big, expensive helicopter panning shot over an enormous, poorly computer-generated castle and city. Text over the screen informs us that this is Selinka, the capital of Maradonia at Lake Lagoon.

thebestcgiever

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I assume the Tesches purchased this shot from a stock footage company, and I have no idea why. Surely there must be stock footage you can purchase of a helicopter flying over an actual castle somewhere that could theoretically pass for a fantasy castle? It’s not like it’ll be any less convincing than something that looks like it was animated in Microsoft Paint.

Maya and Joey wander through the lush forest of southern Florida – noticeably, without any guards escorting them like they mentioned in the previous scene – until they find King Astrodoulos who is a pretty ordinary-looking old guy.

He’s sitting in front of a thick wall of ferns which helps sell the illusion he’s actually a king, if you’re making a scene with the budget of $26. I’d probably buy it more if he was sitting in front of a pond and there was at least one water lily, but you can’t always get what you want.

Astrodoulos tells them to not be afraid, which is a weird way to open. Given that he’s been hyped up as the greatest thing since sliced bread, why would he be concerned that they’re frightened?

The King explains that he holds the keys to “wisdom, magic, and knowledge, and the mysteries of generations past.” However, they are “major targets” of the Shadow Empire, so he has to send them away. At least that’s what I think he says, since it’s layered under shitty music and chickens squawking.

Astrodoulos says, “Do you remember?” and then pauses for about twelve minutes while he tries to remember his line. Eventually we cut to a new over-the-shoulder shot and he asks them about if they remember when they were in trouble and a magical deus ex machina supernatural power saved their lives. Apparently, they need that now and for all time. Essentially, Astrodoulos wants to give them Plot Armor to keep them from being killed, like the incompetent mouthbreathing neckbeards they are. A shield, if you will. Maya asks what kind of shield.

“BLOOD.”

The word is given a weird reverb effect that might have sounded….no, actually, there’s no way that wouldn’t have sounded stupid.

Meanwhile, there’s an auditory onslaught of sound effects in the background, which sounds like someone is crunching aluminum soda cans, scrunching plastic water bottles, having a Jello-O fight, and fucking on a waterbed, all at the same time. It’s a little distracting.

Joey says he doesn’t understand. Astrodoulos says that maybe ‘this’ will help them understand, and we…cut to stock footage of horses grazing.

It didn’t really help me, but after a moment we get Maya’s voiceover narration. I’m not sure why they are using Maya now instead of the same omniscient narrator we got at the beginning of the film, but then again, who am I to judge? In Maya’s words:

“When he spoke about the blood as a shield, I was thinking about Oraculus, the wizard, who left us after our rescue from the evil fairies. Oraculus told us about a lake called The Pool of Blood. He said it was an ancient secret that bathing in that pool would give a complete protection against all the powers of darkness. But, nobody knows where this place is except the King of Maradonia.”

Interspersed are shots of Maya tousling a tiger cub, and The Encouragers staring at a lion and a tiger through their cages at a fairly obvious zoo.

Immediately afterward, we cut to The Encouragers sitting in a gazebo with King Astrodoulos holding a cockatoo.

Then, a moment later, we cut back to what was clearly a previous scene where they meet General Genarius next to the ferns. Here, there’s what is clearly supposed to be a shot of Genarious waiting just outside of frame to walk in and kneel in front of King Astrodoulos, but because they don’t know how to frame shots or how basic filmmaking works, Genarius stands at the far right of frame doing nothing for a moment before he gets his cue and strides dramatically into frame.

He’s not wearing, as you might expect, a chain-mail hauberk, but instead, it appears to be strips of cardboard covered in black felt topped with strips of aluminum. It’s not the worst cosplay armor I’ve ever seen, but for a movie, it looks like absolute shit.

Genarius says they need to make tracks for the Pool of Blood immediately. So Maya hugs King Astrodoulos goodbye, and then Genarius tries to go in for a handshake but King Astrodoulos is going for the hand-on-shoulder-embrace, and it’s a bit awkward but they manage to almost but not really cover it so it’s not made fun of on the internet:

handshake

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They ride along for a bit until they reach a lake that’s been color-corrected in post to be red.

Also, there’s a black line in the lower left and upper right of the screen, as if someone rotated the shot a few decrees leaving angular black bars present instead of the movie. It’s the kind of amateur mistake you make it if you’re fucking around with editing shots in Final Cut and don’t know what the fuck you’re doing.

Genarius tells them to strip down and remove anything that covers their skin. And he’s carrying a trumpet, for some reason.

There’s a few shots of Maya and Joey chastely getting into the lake, and even though we obviously can’t see any of the naughty bits, it clearly shows them walking into the lake right next to each other. Now, maybe this is just me, but if I had to go skinny-dipping with my sister, I’d probably walk a couple hundred yards down the beach before I got nekkid. But they soak themselves and then get out to dry:

Anyway, after a minute or so Maya panics while looking at something offscreen and says “Look! Ravens!” A few seconds later we get stock footage of the sky with shitty CGI birds layered on top. Maya wonders if they’re the spies of King Apollyon.

Eventually they get dressed again, and Genarius says “Thank goodness it did not rain!”

Presumably because if it rained it would wash the magical blood-water off. In which case you would…I dunno, get back in the pool after it rained and let it dry on you a second time? Just spitballing here.

There’s a quick shot of a bird flying overhead, and a woman’s VO cackling about how they found Maya and Joey. Which…great job guys. You’ve found the multiple times this movie. Maybe try killing them this time?

After some close-up stock footage shots of a raven, we get more shitty CGI dragon and castle, and cut back to King Astrodoulos:

He explains he has a present for them. The camera jerks slightly to the left, as if someone jostled it, and they were like “well, we can only afford one take, so we have to use this one.” The King explains a long time ago times were shit but a Messenger came.

Joey interrupts: “But why did they have three caps?”

Which is weird, because Astrodoulos hasn’t mentioned any number of caps thus far. Maybe they cut the part where he says he has some caps?

Anyway, Astrodoulos kept one, gave one to Genarius, and he’s…decided to give one to Joey. And it’s the cheapest, flimsiest piece of shit cloth hat that I’ve ever seen. Joey puts it on and – he vanishes!

tarnkappes

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And the camera moves, as do the characters in the scene, noticeably so, because they weren’t capable of actually doing a proper vanishing – which is really not that hard. Like, you could go as low-tech as putting the camera on a tripod, yelling “freeze!” at the actors, have the vanishing actor run out of frame, and cut around it, and you’d have a better vanishing effect than this one.

Joey lets Maya try it on, and she vanishes, and at least the camera didn’t move this time, but the actors do, so it still looks like shit, and Joey has to improvise about how cool this is, which he does by making wacky facial expressions:

Maya says that the present changes everything – which it doesn’t – and thanks Astrodoulos for trusting them. The moment drags on awkwardly for several seconds until Genarius remembers his line and says they need to go. And…with that nicely wrapped up plotline, that’s the last we’ll see of Maya and Joey this film.

We cut to a CGI dragon flying overhead, then a red sunset, and the music gets scary and dramatic. We see a CGI door that opens, and text explains that this is the “Dungeon of King Apollyon”. And there’s this:

It’s a little difficult to see, but basically, there’s shitty CGI fire, layered over shitty CGI smoke, flowing over shitty CGI rocks, in front of a group of shitty (not-CGI) actors, in front of a black background. And there’s creepy WOOOOOOOOing like you’d expect from a fake ghost in a Scooby Doo cartoon.

One of the people begs for water. Another says “I suffer eternally in the Underworld” which is an odd sentence from someone suffering in what is essentially Hell, but okay. I think they’d just be screaming, really, but I’m not an expert.

Another guy asks someone – maybe the cameraman? – to dip his finger in water to cool his tongue, because he’s tormented. This, if you don’t know your Bible, is plagiarized from Luke 16:19-24.

I think my favorite thing about this scene is all the actors are very clearly wearing clothes that are just black plastic garbage bags with holes cut in them for their necks and arms. It was a rough day in Costuming.

Anyway, several more people go into lengthy monologues about their dreadful plight, and none of them can act, at all, and none of this is in any way related to the plot of the movie – if there even was one – and I don’t expect there to be a sequel, so let’s move on.

We then cut in to an Evil Dinner Party with all of our bad guys. They jump up as Apollyon walks in. He kisses his sword (???) for some reason before setting it down. And the video quality of this scene is just atrocious. I don’t know if it’s entirely due to them trying to make the curtain backdrop look like flames for some reason, but it’s heavily pixelated, extremely under-lit, and mostly out of focus.

Apollyon bangs on the table and declares the “General Council of the Empire” as inaugurated. He points out that anyone can speak freely and openly. We cut to a random shlub at the table who asks if ANYONE can speak freely, even if they disagree with an opinion. Apollyon says “Of course!” In fact, everyone has the obligation to do so, because it’s the foundation of their council. Huh. Yeah, this’ll end well.

Speaking EXTREMELY slowly, and carefully sounding out the longer words. Apollyon says the raven-spies spotted Maya, Joey, and Genarius in the Hill Country, but the fairies weren’t able to attack them successfully.

The shlub, who is Remmilos, demands to know how it could happen.

“Are you telling me Prince Abaddon and the mighty fairies with their enormous potential of spells and powers, could not stop a pair of insipid human children?!”

Yeah. Seems weird. Especially since they can supposedly kill people with a single touch, you’d think Maya and Joey would’ve died when the fairies tied them to the table to burn to death.

Apollyon goes on to explain how a raven told him about the Pool of Blood, and that the Light King pushed a castle full of secrets and spells into this lake of water – [Ed: aren’t most lakes water?] – and it immediately turned red! Which seems obvious, since they call it the Pool of Blood, but Apollyon is really very bad at telling stories. Apollyon says Maya and Joey went in, and now they are untouchable by the Evil Powers.

“That is depressing news, father,” says Prince Plouton.

No shit, Sherlock.

Because we need more characters discussing a scene we already saw, Apollyon talks some more about exactly how the castle magic mixed with the water, and became a Substance, and if you’re covered with that, you’re untouchable by their power. I know. YOU JUST FUCKING SAID THAT USING THOSE EXACT GODDAMN WORDS.

Remmilos shouts that a change in leadership is needed. Abaddon shouts that he has no right to criticize his father. Remmilos points out that Apollyon gave permission to speak freely and openly. And then the actor who plays Apollyon starts seizing.

Wait. No, actually, he’s acting. He flails around for a bit and conjures up a super realistic ball of fire –

-and flings it at Remmilos who disappears and is presumably dead.

Then, uh, a mostly see-through person holding a sword walks along and gives it to Apollyon-

-who gets up, and tells Abbadon:

“When I touch…this blade…to your forehead…you are now the…crown prince of the Em…pire. I give you the power and the authority…to…START A WAR!”

Abaddon looks like he just creamed in his pants and starts a slow “War!” chant. He then tells everyone they attack Maradonia tonight – giving them plenty of time for preparations.

We then cut over to Prince Plouton, who is seething about his older brother getting the crown prince job, and Remmilos’ brother, who is seething about his older brother being murdered via fireball. He asks Plouton if it’s true that Abaddon is now in charge. Yes, you fucking idiot, we literally saw that less than 10 seconds ago. Blah blah, Remmilos’ brother thinks that Plouton should actually be King of Maradonia. Plouton says they don’t know what they are dealing with.

“Easy, great prince. Just bring your brother to a special cave. And we, the Titans, we will chain him under heavy fetters. And command our vultures to only eat on his liver, because his liver will grow back again.”

I desperately wish there was behind-the-scenes footage or a making-of featurette recording the actor’s expressions when they read their lines for the first time.

Anyway, Plouton agrees to deliver Abaddon to them. He then scurries back over to hold his sword up with his dad and brother so Apollyon can announce that they’ve declared war on Maradonia, just in case you missed the two previous scenes where they explicitly stated that was happening.

We cut over to the fairies chuckling about how they’ll have a war again, and one of them has a great line:

“Fire…explosions…people will die!”

We then cut over to a sweaty random bald guy we haven’t seen before talking to his pet snake, which he refers to as Leviathan. And then he, well:

snakeswallowing

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I’m not really sure why the Tesches decided to end on a freeze frame of a sweaty bald guy deep-throating a snake, but hey, they’ve released a feature film, so what do I know? We get some text on screen that we hold on for way longer than anyone needs:

I cannot tell you how much I wish this to be true, but I don’t think there’s any hope.

The credits roll under a pretty generic and uninteresting song. There’s an amusing moment where they fuck up the credits a few minutes in – the listing has the character first and then actor’s name second, obviously, and then they fuck up and switch sides for Commander Justine, Spirit of Kerry, and The Medium Dimitry before getting it right again.

There’s also a number of characters only credited by a single name or an obvious pseudonym. One can only assume they realized what a crock of shit this film was going to be and demanded to not have their full names appear in the credits. Also, “Jonathan Tesch” played four separate characters, the unfortunate bastard. There’s some other wacky shit, like Gerry is credited at the beginning and again near the end as the director.

Anyway, that’s about it. I highly recommend it. Get some friends together, get some booze, and turn it on. You won’t regret it.

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Comment

  1. LoneWolf on 3 February 2017, 04:49 said:

    I see, this new ‘Maradonia-Film’ is a truly shocking and chilling production that is going to be popular all the world over!

  2. The Smith of Lie on 3 February 2017, 06:59 said:

    I can sort of understand a book being vanity project. Especially now, that we live in cyberpunk future and cost of physical copies can be ingored one is satisfied with publishing in digital format only.

    But movies are a whole different animal. Even with a decent budget and production staff, that knows the basic of the creaft we it ends with Battlefield Earth… It makes you wonder at the dephts of Tesch family delusion. Especially given the threat of sequel.

  3. Lone Wolf on 3 February 2017, 09:33 said:

    I am surprised that they made no attempts to release it on DVD or even as some kind of paid movie-for-download. Were they discouraged by the movie being rejected at AFM 2015 and their divorce/foreclosure?

  4. Rorschach on 3 February 2017, 20:05 said:

    I am surprised that they made no attempts to release it on DVD or even as some kind of paid movie-for-download. Were they discouraged by the movie being rejected at AFM 2015 and their divorce/foreclosure?

    I have it on reasonably good authority they hired an editing company to complete the film but did not pay them, and said editing company is holding the film hostage until Gerry Tesch pays them or secures release funding from a distribution company to pay the editing company.

    The watermarked version that leaked was made for a film festival for Gerry to try and sell it. He was unable to sell it because, well, obviously. So since he has no money to get it and the editing company won’t release a non-watermarked version, it’s stuck in a holding pattern.

  5. LoneWolf on 4 February 2017, 07:26 said:

    Ah, so Dr. Gerry’s scammy methods didn’t pay off this time. A pity, it would be more entertaining if they did release it officially.

  6. Betty Cross on 5 February 2017, 18:56 said:

    I have it on reasonably good authority they hired an editing company to complete the film but did not pay them, and said editing company is holding the film hostage until Gerry Tesch pays them or secures release funding from a distribution company to pay the editing company.

    A perfect business model for the Trump era.

  7. The Smith of Lie on 6 February 2017, 18:38 said:

    I have it on reasonably good authority they hired an editing company to complete the film but did not pay them, and said editing company is holding the film hostage until Gerry Tesch pays them or secures release funding from a distribution company to pay the editing company.

    And here I was sitting here with bated breath, waiting for international release in cinemas of the backwater country I live in…

    Curses, foiled again!

  8. Lurker on 6 February 2017, 21:15 said:

    That poor snake :(

  9. Emy on 10 February 2017, 00:29 said:

    Did anybody else notice that the forces of the Evil Empire are all vegetarian? Except for that guy with the snake.