We’ve officially reached the low point of the series. An origins story of Toulon, this shows how exactly he became the titular puppet master. We’ve now reached what is ultimately the reason why I’ve started down this rabbit hole of a series, the man who gained notoriety from starring as Mark in The Room, ladies and gentlemen, Greg Sestero! He came into town recently to promote his wildly entertaining book, The Disaster Artist (trust me, it’s well worth your time), and a group of close friends and I had the opportunity to shoot the shit with him over drinks.
He tries so hard, working with next to nothing in this movie, and while I personally appreciate that, this is just a really boring movie overall, because there isn’t much that really happens. With the previous six movies, sure, they’re all pretty unspectacular, but at least they all have two or three things you walk away remembering. This, not so much. Why even bother with a prequel if you don’t have any good ideas on how to flesh out the main character’s background? The biggest thing you retain from Retro Puppet Master is the awful French accents that everybody keeps slipping in and out of. It’s where you get most of the laughs from, as well as most of the groans from as well. This story goes nowhere slow, and the thing about the series is that it takes its sweet time to get anywhere, and any time there aren’t any puppets to be found onscreen, you couldn’t care less. There are new puppets featured here mixed with vintage versions of the puppets you already know, only they look cheaper and have less personality.
The ending isn’t quite as abrupt as 6, but it’s hugely disappointing, almost like their budget just ran out. It wraps everything up with a line similar to, “well, this doesn’t really answer most of the questions you had, but that’s a story for another day,” and I’m not even joking. The only thing people want to see out of these movies is puppets killing people. I really couldn’t tell you why they keep putting as little of that as possible into these later sequels, and Retro Puppet Master commits the biggest crime of all in that it is dull at every turn.
Retro Puppet Master (1999) *
– Critic for Hire