Ginger Nuts of Horror
After what seems life half a lifetime Reggie, Mike and Angus have finally made it through their battle through the dimensions and come home for their showdown. The battle weary combatants look a lot older and a lot more ragged, hair is going; wrinkles are showing, and their eyes look a little bit deader than they did when we last had the pleasure of being in their company. Which is rather sad as it is not just the cast that looks like they need to put their feet up. Sadly Phantasm Ravager looks like it too needs to put its feet up and have a long rest in the nearest retirement home.
Do we outgrow films? Or do we just allow the rose tinted memories our youth distort the fact that individual films were never that good? Phantasm Ravager while it certainly feels like a Phantasm movie, it has all the essential elements Spheres to face and the back of the head. Spheres slamming their blades through doors, annoyingly just mere inches away from the heroes head ( I wonder if the Spheres and Star Wars' Stormtroopers are related in some weird way). Of course, we have Reggie giving us a song, where would we be without a Reggie blast, a scene or two in the desert, and of course we have to have the obligatory Booooooy!!!
And while this has in the past made for a fun filled if albeit, stupid movie experience Phantasm Ravager just feels as though this is a film the audience desperately wanted but wasn't necessarily the one they asked for.
The biggest problem with this movie is that it hasn't moved with the times it is still too firmly planted in the 1980's, and while staying true to your roots is to be expected, and in many ways admirable, it just leaves Phantasm Ravager open to a lot of head shaking moment.
A prime example of this is the opening scene and the return of Reggie. This should have been a great handclapping roaring in the aisles moment where every fanboy got their dream come true, but thanks to too many stupid little things it ends up being slightly embarrassing. The poor acting, to a modern audience, is jus painful, especially from the driver of the car, the "I know let's use a pistol to shoot at a Sphere while driving a car with one hand and both eyes on the road" just comes across as a double facepalm moment. Cliched dialogue "I don't accept lifts from strangers" " Hi my name is Reggie, now we aren't strangers" may have passed the mustard a few decades ago, is just cringeworthy now. And yes I know both of these examples are keeping with the spirit of the previous films, it just seems forced now. It feels like you are to forced to watch a film that one of your kids made, and being obliged to find nice things to say about it. Full of clumsy exposition, and pointless info dumps of backstory, I get the feeling that the filmmakers don't realise that the only people watching this film are the ones who are already fans.
The ending also feels cheap, with the showdown with the Tall Man robbed of all feeling and closure thanks to the interference of a secondary character. After all this time, space and dimensions this just felt like two fingers up to the fans.
However, the biggest flaw with the film is its desire to make things bigger. Why they thought they should go Independence Day and change the nature of the films from a personal battle between Reggie and The Tall Man, into a film where The Tall Man wants to dominate the whole planet is beyond me. It robs the film of a lot of its heart and even some of its poorly handled subtext, and that's before we even talk about the poor sub-Sharknado special effects. These scenes are terrible, you'll cringe as the poorly superimposed FX fly around the screen, hell they look worse than the FX from the previous films.
Phantasm Ravager is sadly a poor way to end the series, while its heart may have been in the right place, its execution makes it feel as the fans have just had a double Spherring to the groin.