Youtube Film Club – The Helix…Loaded (2005)

The era of the parody movie seems to be behind us, thank heavens. The last Friedberg / Seltzer movie with any sort of money behind it was 2010’s “Vampires Suck!” (which I sort of half-liked), and while they made a Fast and Furious parody as recently as 2015 – “Superfast” – it was straight-to-Netflix and barely anyone watched it. Their “Taken” parody, “Who The F*** Took My Daughter?” has been abandoned, so it would seem, and while they have a Star Wars parody in the works, there’s a decent chance that never makes it either.

Even though they’re justifiably mocked as terrible and not funny, they’re far from the worst operating in this particular cesspool. That honour must go to David Murphy, writer / director of “Not Another Not Another Movie”, which paid Burt Reynolds, Chevy Chase and Vinnie Jones to wander through the set for half an hour with a camera on them, and is among the more miserable experiences of my life. Honourable mentions go to such people as Marlon Wayans, who continues to churn out parody movies, such as “A Haunted House” and “Fifty Shades Of Black”; Josh Stolberg gave us “The Hungover Games”, not to be confused with Friedberg and Seltzer’s own “The Starving Games”; and a monster by the name of Craig Moss has made “The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It”, “Breaking Wind Part 1”, and “30 Nights Of Paranormal Activity With The Devil Inside The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”.

I’m a believer in us getting the sort of entertainment we deserve, and this catalogue of misery was foisted on us because we kept giving them money. Luckily, we all woke up from this national nightmare, and aside from the occasional accident, like a budget that was decided ten years ago and no-one had the heart to cancel, we are free.

All this is sort of irrelevant when talking about a movie from 2005, though, even one that I was completely unaware of until earlier this morning. What’s perhaps surprising is that, in this torrent of parody movies, “The Matrix” survived relatively un-mocked (the billion comedy sketches about its two or three most famous scenes notwithstanding, of course). Then, this fine new year’s morning, as I sat shivering on the sofa, trying to beat the cold I picked up a few days ago, I discover this, and find it’s available in its entirety on Youtube!

There’s even a plot. A group of party-goers are looking for a mysterious substance called “The Helix”, which is like the ultimate high or something, but Orpheum and his sidekick Infiniti know that it’s got some mystical enlightenment powers and they need “The Other One” (“The One” having died in a boating accident) to combat some super-powered agents and the mega-corporation that employs Nuvo and his friends.

Anyway, that’s all you’re getting of that. Aside from the majority Matrix stylings, there’s a bit of “Fight Club” mixed in there, as they were really aiming hard for that late 90s audience…in 2005. The jokes are unbearably lame, as like so many others, it seems to think that having a character dressed like someone from a famous movie, or say a line from one, is enough for the joke.

But there’s a section roughly in the middle that feels like it was written by a funnier person. There’s a joke about Sha-Na-Na in there, which would have flown over the heads of 99% of the people watching it, Sha-Na-Na having ceased to be a thing 30 years before the movie came out. Then there’s a segment which gently parodies “Koyaanisqatsi”, the Godfrey Reggio experimental documentary (with the legendary Philip Glass soundtrack), which made me smile but must have been done purely for the filmmakers’ own amusement.

The final battle is just terrible, though, as the movie grinds to a halt when it should be going full-tilt for the end. It felt like every actor demanded their own mini-scene when they didn’t need it – the lack of anything approaching a central character was a bit of a bummer throughout (the Keanu Reeves avatar, who was more interesting in doing a “Bill And Ted” impression anyway, kept disappearing from the movie for entire scenes, like he was busy doing something else during filming).

When your big acting name is Vanilla Ice, and it’s 2005, there are some serious questions you need to ask yourself. Well, one, and that is “should I be releasing this damn thing? Is this not just a vanity project to show my friends anyway?” Poor ol’ Vanilla doesn’t even get all that much screen time! The one acting name I had heard of – Jennifer Sky, star of the Robert Tapert / Sam Raimi produced series “Cleopatra 2525” – is in one scene, for about 5 seconds; and the weird thing is, she’d have been totally decent in the one central role that cast an actor who looked a lot like her, much better than the woman who ended up being cast, and I can’t imagine she was too busy or charged too much then either.

It’s cheap-looking, certainly, and is filmed in a variety of ugly interiors, but some of the special effects are good – the ones that most directly parody similar scenes from its more famous parent are pretty well done, and honestly not that much worse than the original. Kudos to the special effect guys!

Movies like this are almost enough to convince me the Matrix is real – think you’ve got it figured out and they’ll just tweak reality on you. How did this movie make it all the way to 2019 without me ever having heard of it? Plus, it’s got Vanilla Ice in it! I’m pretty sure it never existed until this morning, and I fully expect this review to disappear, along with my memory of it, Youtube and IMDB links, and so on, when the Matrix’s programmers figure out the mistake.

Rating: thumbs down