Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Some years ago me and a few friends went to watch one of those comedy club amateur nights.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a comedy club and watch a comedian fail, but it’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings ever.  You just sit there in complete silence, while some poor sap shoots unfunny joke after unfunny joke, and eventually the silence becomes deafening where even a shift in a seat creates a creak that sounds like thunder.  Director Roy T. Wood’s ‘Disaster’ isn’t quite that bad in its numerous earnest attempts to shake humor out of its watchers, but it does come damn close.

Using his puppets to spoof a movie I completely despised, ‘Armageddon’, Woods film begins with a shot of a huge planetoid on its way to destroy our little planet.  The Head of ASSA – look, they said ASS – General Washington (voiced by Glenn Morshower) knows there is only one man who can stop the impending doom and that’s Harry Bottoms (v. Jim Cummings).  Harry is a cross between the Bruce Willis character from Armageddon and Indiana Jones, complete with a whip.  Harry agrees to do the job, not to save the planet mind you, but for twenty million dollars though 20 mil is fairly worthless if you don’t have a planet to spend it on.  Harry also needs to gather his crew which consists of his estranged daughter and pilot Sandy Mellons (v. Jeannie Ellis), storm chaser V.D. Johnson (v. Steve Mackel), and deep hole driller and Black character Donkey Dixon (Isaac C. Singleton Jr.).  Just as a side note, I’ve known Black people pretty much my whole life as I actually popped out of one and other than ESPN host Stuart Scott, I can safely say that I’ve never heard a Black person utter the words Boo-Yah.  Along the way the crew pick up a pilot in Guy Kirk, also voiced by Jim Cummings, who does one of the worst Shattner impersonations ever and a dizzy blond nuclear scientist in Hanukah Jonez (v. Heather Capps).

So our crew goes off to drop some nukes on this planetoid, and in-between we get to see loads and loads and loads of puppet feces, gallons upon gallons of puppet barf, a few pairs of puppet boobies, more puppet dookey, puppet bestiality, puppet felatio, puppet sex and puppet dismemberment.  There is also gay robot that shows up on our way to the asteroid and we also pick up a flagellant Frenchman.  I was unaware that the French species had an inability to control their gaseous discharge.  On and on it goes, until eventually it comes down to whether or not Harry and his crew can save the human race.  Hopefully if Harry and them fail, all copies of ‘Disaster’ will also be destroyed as it would be quite embarrassing for some alien race stumble across this DVD and think it is a proper representation of human culture.

I shouldn’t be so hard on ‘Disaster’ because the effort was definitely there.  The puppet animation was actually very good and the sets and backgrounds looked great as well.  Wood has a good command over what he is seeing through his lens and the hard work put in by he and his crew is quite evident.  But it’s just not all that funny unfortunately.  There is the obvious comparison to the Parker / Stone creation ‘Team America’ which uses Thunderbird style puppets and which was also rather crude and rude, but I thought ‘Team America’ was killer.  The montage song?  You can’t beat that stuff.  ‘Disaster’ uses a puppet style similar to the Christian claymation show ‘Davey and Goliath’ which was a little more disturbing.  I don’t know exactly how comedy works, and for that matter neither do a lot of folks because then everything would be funny, but I imagine IF a fart joke happens to be funny the first time, and that’s a big if, then chances are it will be exponentially less funny each time you do it.  And how many times can a puppet be covered with dookey before somebody steps up and says, ‘I’ve think we’ve exhausted the possibilities of that joke’?  Another thing I’ve picked up watching animated films is that voice acting is pretty much everything.  There’s a reason that these studios pay Tom Hanks, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Rene Zellwegger et. al big money to do a job you would think almost anybody could do.  They’re professionals and even simply sitting in a sound booth they know how to ‘act’ with their voices.  The voice acting was fairly lame in ‘Disaster’ and if it had been better, I’m sure some the timing on the jokes would have been better as well.  It wouldn’t have lessened the dookey factor, but it might have helped.  You see, here is a classic example of what I was talking about earlier.  How many times can I type the word ‘dookey’ before it stops being funny?

In spite of myself ‘Disaster’ did make me laugh out loud a couple of times and I have seen worse comedies in my day.  It just wasn’t close to funny enough, and if you didn’t hear me before, there was way too much dookey in this movie.  Oh snap!  That just rhymed.  Boo-Yah!

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