I know what you’re thinking already, yes “The Throbbit” is a “re-imagining” of “The Hobbit”, but definitely not the XXX version I originally thought by the title. This feature-length spoof film just barely ranks around a PG-13. It contains a good bit of adult humor, but in the way of innuendos and word-play rather than anything explicit.
Now, I may not be the best reviewer to write about a film that spoofs a trilogy (I only saw the first and fell asleep mid-way) which itself is based on a classic book (that I haven’t read). My apologies if I miss glaringly obvious references to the original material (either Tolkien or Jackson). What I can appreciate, though, is the grand set design, costuming, puppetry, and for the micro-budget fan film that this is, the achievements in special effects and camerawork that were able to pull the audience into just as magical of worlds as the Peter Jackson films (I did see the trailers at least, as well as the LOR Trilogy).
Director Timothy Alan Richardson did not have the production team and post-production studios that Peter Jackson did, however he still manages to bring Dweebs, Gooblins (more than just goblins), a David Bowie inspired Gooblin King, flying beagles, a nation of Elfises in a Las Vegas style Rippendell, and a drag(on) queen to life.
Where this film really shines is the writing (Richardson with Michael Kouroubetes and David Boyer) along with the camaraderie of the ensemble cast. The jokes come swiftly, though I don’t know how much of Richardson’s script was set in stone or how far the cast was allowed to improv, but you can tell that everyone involved in the movie is having a great time. Even the over- (and under-) actors were obviously having fun. The cinematography was also quite commendable, particularly the bulk of the scenes that did not feature any CGI (e.g., the Flaming Dragon Club, the woods outside the House of Elfises, and the Golf Course).
Bryce Cone as Bobo Buggins really has his work cut out for him leading the whole cast, and it’s made extra tricky because his Bobo character is just so whiny. Luckily Cone has the support of some entertaining Dweebs, and is particularly complemented by the performances of Scot Purkeypile as Randolf the Wizard and Paisly Blackburn as Ram the gender-bending Dweeb.
There were three stand-out featured players: Jim Hall as Brad, Zach Gassman as Smag, and Circus-Szalewski as Scrottum. Each one of their characters had me laughing out loud, literally, not just texting it (LOL). Oh, and Kevin McInerney as The Benevolent Banana – I haven’t seen Richardson’s previous films yet (“The Dork of the Rings” or “Harvey Putter and the Ridiculous Premise”), but I would love to see The Benevolent Banana pop up in every one.
Smarter than anything from National Lampoon or the Wayans Brothers in the last 10+ years, two production teams that specialize in straight-to-video satire and spoof films, “The Throbbit” is one of those movies that delivers a lot more than it promises.
You can also catch “The Throbbit” on the Big Screen in the next months at the following locations:
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY – South Bend, IN: Oct. 17 @ 3pm. Screening and cast & crew Q&A. Free Admission – www.libraryforlife.org
GEEKONOMICON – Biloxi, MI: Dec. 11-13, 2015 – http://www.whynotgeek.com
LOST IN FANDOM – Union City, CA: Dec. 13, 2015 – http://www.shinjukucon.com