Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

After watching the Sci-Fi Channel original ‘Jabberwock’, which has absolutely nothing to offer the Entertainment Gods, outside of the fact that 23-year old actress Kacey Barnfield is really good-looking, I’m convinced that the Sci-Fi Channel and the companies that provide them with these 25-30 original movies they broadcast every year need to take a different approach, because this is getting sad. For instance, don’t abandon the monster movie concept, but if the script calls for a CGI monster as opposed to a guy in a rubber suit, since decent CGI costs money that they aren’t willing to spend… then let it go. Make something else. Then there are the scripts for these stories they tell. If you read the IMDB comments on some random crap Sci-Fi Channel movie, invariably you’ll run across some clown claiming that he has a drawer full of scripts better than the one they just shot and broadcast. While I normally wouldn’t encourage this, but it’s about time to contact that guy. And period pieces… let’s stop those too.

Anyway, two dudes are riding across the plains back in medieval times, or it is kind of medieval times. Chainmail and suits of armor haven’t been invented yet, but will be in about seventy five minutes. Continuing on, a lighting bolt strikes a beat up looking egg and out pops a baby Jabberwock, which goes from cute little monster to full grown, fourteen foot man eater in about three seconds. It eats one of these guys while the other guy, Sid (Raffaello Degruttola), cowers in fear.

Now we are in the local village where Francis the Blacksmith (Tahmoh Penikett) cares for his sickly old man and avoids closing the deal on hot village maiden Anabel (Barnfield). While it’s never clearly stated, Francis is obviously gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Soon Sid the Scaredy Cat shows up babbling about he’s being chased by a monster and nobody believes him. This will introduce us to one of the more irritating characters in cinematic history, John the Poet (Stephen Waddington). This cat speaks in rhymes and riddles practically throughout this entire movie. Instead of saying ‘Hello’, John the poet will say ‘The sun has risen over the hill, yet the fields and the hay could use the till’. He does this through the whole movie. I hate that guy.

So the Jabberwock shows up, following Sid no doubt, eats some people and then snatches Anabel’s sister and takes her away. We could ask why the sister has this heavy Easter European accent and Anabel speaks clear English, but we’re not going to do that. John the Poet then proceeds with the Jaberwock poem and nobody knows what the hell he’s talking about. The funny thing is that the characters in this movie constantly tell John that ‘We don’t know what the hell you are talking about’, but does this stop him from rhyming? No it does not. The consensus is that the monster has to be hunted and killed, thus Francis’ warrior brother Alec (Michael Worth) leads an expedition to find this creature, which then leads to our search party stabbing in the air at absolutely nothing. I know I’m supposed to imagine that there’s a monster there, but there’s no monster there. And Alec gets captured as well.

Now Francis must save Alec and the sister, because the Jabberwock doesn’t eat important characters, only sets them to the side for later, but to do this Francis has to finish this wacky concept that his dying old man had dreamed up called A Suit of Armor. Besides, the prophecy says he’s going to kill this thing, just ask John the Poet. Or don’t. Please… don’t.

The stage is set. Francis has given in to peer pressure and kissed the pretty maiden, thus ignoring his nature, he’s setup a big mouse trap to ensnare the super strong bird, he’s donned the new fangled armor and placed himself inside as bait. The Jabberwock doesn’t have a chance. Why yes he does actually. This movie actually has a second climax, probably because the first one was so lame.

While I didn’t expect ‘Jabberwock’ to be the second coming of ‘The Host’ or anything along those lines, I was fairly certain that director Stephen R. Monroe’s movie wouldn’t be dull, but that is ultimately what this movie ended up being. My man tried his best to attempt to infuse some adrenaline into this film, but I imagine this is difficult to do when budgetary constraints won’t allow you to show your human cast and the poor CGI monster in the same scene. Thus we have a lot scenes of characters running from nothing, we have a few more scenes of characters getting stuck by nothing, yet catapulting through the air as if shot out of a cannon, lots of scenes of characters thrusting their swords in the air at nothing, with that idiot poet wedged in between forcing us to listen to his whacky rhymes.

But it’s not all bad. The important things are bad, that being the monster, the action and the plot… I mean the initial Jabberwock hunt is almost high comedy at its finest… but we already mentioned that Kacey Barnfield is real easy to look at and some of the acting is pretty decent, particularly Michael Worth as the warrior brother and Rafaello Degruttola as the comic relief, though our director wasn’t much of a stickler when it came to choosing a common dialect for his actors to use during these medieval days.

True enough, we’ve seen worse on the Sci-Fi Channel, just not much worse. And like a true whackjob, I will be watching the next Sci-Fi original monster movie, with all these same limitations, and I will be fully expecting a different result.

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