Two steps back. So apparently miniature demons have decided that now is a great time to invade Earth. The purpose of the invasion is to either eliminate the animated puppets or destroy the live-giving serum, it’s never 100% clear (this is a Puppet Master movie). In the meanwhile, a kid hotel sitting a la Jack Torrance stumbles across Toulon’s puppet stash and brings them to life. With Puppet Master III, they took a step in the right direction by focusing more on the story. They really cut themselves off at the knees by reverting back to this foolishness, and here’s why: Do you know what the tagline to this movie is? It’s “When Bad Puppets Turn Good”. Why would you even consider taking the one thing that the series has going for it in the evil puppets and then turning them into heroes on a dime? They do everything in their power to neuter whatever threat these puppets have been previously established as, and I’m not certain the purpose behind this. In regards to puppets teaming up with humans, I would be okay with some sort of uneasy alliance being formed to take down a bigger threat, but what happens here is they go from 0 to chummy in no time at all. I am not making this up when I say that this features a friendly game of laser tag between puppets and humans.
I didn’t realize how crazy the timeline is until this point, and it takes you a good chunk of time to place where you are in the through story. I checked the Wikipedia page, and I’m starting to think I made the wrong choice by watching them in order of release date; if you were to follow this story chronologically, it goes 7, 3, 9, 10, 1, 6, 2, 4, 5, 8…
I can only guess that this confusing order of events has everything to do with the most interesting character offing himself five minutes into the first movie, but that is neither here nor there. This is very lacking because it is so back to basics, i.e. right back to people wandering to their death in a hotel. The new element with the demons doesn’t really work because their motivations are not made clear, and I really feel that the choice to sterilize the puppets almost to the point of being cuddly is one of the worst decisions I’ve seen a series make. This is the shortest in the series but it feels like the longest, and I can’t say that I’m excited that the next movie, which was envisioned to be as one complete story along with this one by director Jeff Burr.
Puppet Master 4 (1993) *1/2
– Critic for Hire