It's never a particularly promising sign when your featured DVD quote happens to arrive courtesy of someone who is actually connected to the film, in this case actor and associate producer Kiran Shah, though it's easy to understand the desire to use Shah's quote since the actor is known for his work on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia: The lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and other films.
So, I get it. I really, really do.
Unfortunately, The Throbbit, a rather obvious spoof of The Hobbit trilogy, never quite lives up to that one word quote - "Brilliant."
Um, no. It's not.
From the award-winning filmmakers behind The Dork of the Rings and Harvey Putter and the Ridiculous Premise, this Gen Con screened sci-fi spoof is reminiscent of Bored of the Rings, though this low-budget effort radiates that low budget in every single one of its scenes despite a rather cheerio effort from its cast including the film's highlights, a delightfully fun Paisley Blackburn as Ram, an inspired Zach Gassman as Smag the Drag Queen, and Circus-Szalewski as Scrottum. Shah is perfectly fine here, though his top billing for the film more reflects his Hollywood history than his cinematic contributions here.
The film is directed by Indiana-based filmmaker Timothy Alan Richardson and is now available on DVD with a bonus-disc that includes - Documentary: Making of The Throbbit, Behind-the-Scenes Videos, and movie trailers.
It's hard not to admire a film such as The Throbbit, though as a film critic it's always a tad challenging to ride that balance between encouraging filmmakers and giving legit reviews. While I'd love to argue that I simply wasn't in the mood for a film like The Throbbit, the truth is that I simply hardly ever laughed and wasn't that particularly involved in the film.
The story centers around the neurotic Throbbit Bobo Buggins (Bryce Cone), who is kidnapped by a "throng of Dweebs and forced to aid them in regaining their technological treasures trapped beneath the Silicon Mountain." Led by Randolf the Wizard (Scott Purkeypile), they have to overcome a "Troll" booth, a David Bowie styled Gooblin King (Ken Dusek Jr.), drunken frat boy Elfises, a contest with Scrottum and, of course, the fire-breathing Drag Queen named Smag.
In the right mood, maybe high, I can picture The Throbbit being a blast of a film. While this may sound a tad insulting, if we're being honest there's more a than a few films that benefit from being under the influence - Rocky Horror, anyone?
I wanted to love The Throbbit or, at minimum, I wanted to give that old "indie gem" label that would encourage you to check it out. If you're from around Indy, you may very well find some names amongst the cast that you recognize and I'm sure the film played much better at Gen Con than it might with a more generalized audience.
For more information on The Throbbit, visit the film's website linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic