Part five of Charles Band's straight-to-video serial JOSH KIRBY...TIME WARRIOR! This has one neat plot twist near the end. But is reaching it worth the seven-and-a-half hours of tedious viewing?
Having lost their time machine in the last episode (JOSH KIRBY...TIME WARRIOR!: EGGS FROM 70,000,000 B.C.), the title teen (Corbin Allred) and his allies, Irwin 1138 (Barrie Ingham) and Azabeth Siege (Jennifer Burns), still lack one component of the Nullifier, a powerful weapon scattered through
time and space.
By using the nearly-complete Nullifier as a means of homing in on the absent piece, Josh and the gang teleport to a network of caves filled with a benign kingdom of whimsical mushroom people. Azabeth rashly takes a bite out of one and immediately falls ill. The antidote to the poison lies with a
mushroom who was taken by a much-feared creature known as the Muncher.
Accompanied by a few brave 'shroom guides, the heroes embark on a quest through the network of caverns in search of the Muncher. It turns out to be a giant rodent-shaped machine controlled by Col. Beauregard Damon (Matt Winston), an impresario who has been rounding up 'shrooms and other oddities
for his intergalactic circus. Irwin is able to turn the Colonel's own hypnotic ray against him, the captive 'shrooms recover from their trance, and Azabeth is cured.
But it doesn't end there, of course. This entry in the series, all shot in Romania, is simultaneously underplotted and overplotted, with the Magic Cavern and its campy 'shrooms--think the dancing fungi from FANTASIA (1940) doing schtick. One 'shroom is a William Shatner impressionist. There is
also an aggravating detour in the main narrative about rival time-traveler Dr. Zoetrope (Derek Webster) trying to gain the Nullifier himself. When Zoetrope finally intervenes, he saves Josh's life, uncharacteristic behavior for such a villain. Then Zoetrope is ambushed, and the last Nullifier
component is taken from him by a triumphant Irwin. The episode ends on the question of whether genial Irwin was the real bad guy all along, answered in the final chapter JOSH KIRBY...TIME WARRIOR!: LAST BATTLE FOR THE UNIVERSE.
The real problem throughout this saga is the 90-minute length of each installment. Each chapter is top-heavy with padding, pointless digressions, and loads of morale-building dialogue for the youngsters who are the intended viewers. This costs the filmmakers the forward momentum of their
overarching story line.
Irwin's treachery is a real surprise, if a bit of a sour note for viewers who might have been rooting for him all along. But it comes too late to rescue this series from terminal, temporal anomie.
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: PG
- Review: Part five of Charles Band's straight-to-video serial JOSH KIRBY...TIME WARRIOR! This has one neat plot twist near the end. But is reaching it worth the seven-and-a-half hours of tedious viewing? Having lost their time machine in the last episode (JOSH KI… (more)