Tubi Or Not To Be’ is a series in which each day a member (or members) of the film world (be they an actor, writer, director, critic, podcaster, etc.) tackles a film from Tubi. The only catch being that the film must be one the viewer has either never heard of or never watched before. It’s an intrinsically silly idea, but one that should prove to be a bit of fun.
Oh Tubi. Good Ole’ Tubi. Bringing us movies that we’ve either forgotten or wish we had. I was turned on to Tubi little over six months ago and it quickly became my go to streaming app. Honestly, in my opinion, Tubi is one of the best free tv/movie streaming services out there. The content alone is so diverse you can spend hours trying to figure out what to watch first. Tubi also has some extreme partnerships with different distribution and production companies. Some of which I personally love, such as Full Moon Features and Charles Band. Many may be aware that Charles Band is known as the main producer of Full Moon Features and produced some of the most entertaining horror movies from our childhood. Many may NOT be aware that Charles Band directed a handful of children movies. That’s right… children movies.
If you know me and my nostalgia brand, Forever Bogus, you know that I love shotty, low budget kid movies from the 90’s and early 2000’s. So, as you can imagine, I was beyond thrilled to see that Tubi housed most, if not all, of the Charles Band directed children flicks. The only challenge was deciding on one to review. After scrolling for what felt like hours, I landed on Mystery Monsters from 1997. The movie poster instantly stood out to me because it reminded me of the monsters from Pet Shop (1994) morphed together with the puppets from Doll Graveyard (2005). This movie MUST be rad… right?!
The plot of Mystery Monsters is simple. A young boy, Tommy, is given the opportunity to act as a new character for his favorite tv show, Captain Mike’s Mystery Monsters. This kid’s show is a blatant Mr. Roger’s rip off but with three ugly looking monster co-hosts. Tommy and his newfound girlfriend discover that the monsters on the show are real and were stolen from another planet by the host of the show, Captain Mike. Now they are on a mission to save the monsters from Mike’s evil grip and set them free. Little do they know that the monster’s real master, evil Queen Mara, is on Earth to reclaim her monster slaves and take revenge on Captain Mike for stealing them. Okay. Maybe the plot isn’t THAT simple.
Two of the monsters are puppets, which are well made and believable, but it’s obvious that the other monster is an actor in a costume in front of a green screen. It is pretty evident that this monster was only created to be the voice of the monster’s backstory and help push the story along. It honestly does not work for me. It comes off creepy and unnerving every time he is on screen.
The score for the movie is very out of place and almost feels like it is a score reused from a different movie. For instance, the score reaches a climax during a sequence where meaningless dialog is being delivered but stays silent when the monsters are almost caught by Tommy’s parents. The pacing of the movie is all over the place. It seemed as if it was a bunch of ideas all strung together as if they were filming them as it was brought up. The acting is something I expected from a Charles Band movie, and in fact, if you are a fan of his movies, you may recognize some of the actors. In other words, the acting did not bother me. All of the criticism aside, I’d say this film was okay, but the biggest caveat was the ending. It does not resolve the main issue of the film, but instead puts a bandage over it. I don’t know if there was an opportunity for a sequel or they ran out of time.
Overall, I found this film to be mediocre but fun. I did not love it nor did I hate it. As I mentioned before I love shoddy, low budget 90’s kid movies and Mystery Monsters had a lot of the elements I liked. The monsters looked pretty cool and the plot is very reminiscent of Prehysteria!. If you have an hour and half to blow or want something to put you to sleep check it out.
As great as reading is, sometimes you just want to listen to a review, you know? Well, you’re in luck, you’ll be getting the best of both words! So listen in, listen up and enjoy!