(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Phantom of the Megaplex)
Doug (vo): So when I reviewed the Disney Channel Original Movies, a lot of people were saying, "You forgot the Phantom of the Megaplex! How could you forget Phantom of the Megaplex?" I was trying to think if I even remembered the title, and for some reason, I was thinking it was an Are You Afraid of the Dark episode. After finally sitting down and watching the movie, I can kind of see why. This film is definitely targeted at little kids. Everything is over-the-top, everything is over-acted, everything is super goofy. There's virtually nothing in it for adults, but I'll admit, if I was a little kid, I think I would probably like this.
Doug (vo): The film centers around the Megaplex and the colorful characters that work there, as it turns out there's gonna be a big movie premiere that everybody has to get ready for. The colorful cast of characters with extreme personalities all have to somehow work together to make it a success, but there's apparently a phantom...they think. It's more of a legend whenever little things go wrong around the theater. But, the night of the premiere, even more things are going wrong, and everyone's afraid it's gonna sabotage the big night. So it's up to our crew of silly troublemakers to try and figure out who the phantom is and how to stop him.
Doug (vo): On the one hand, I kind of like this idea. There's something about movie theaters that always feel a little mysterious and even kind of magical, I can't explain it. People who work there often have a lot of interesting stories, and they usually have a love for film as well. And this movie, for as over-the-top as it is, seems to capture that.
(One of the film's supporting characters, Movie Mason, is shown)
Doug (vo): My favorite thing, believe it or not, is Mickey Rooney as an old guy who thinks he works there. At first, he just seems like a crazy old kook who won't go away, but the more you listen to him, the more you realize how totally sucked in and intrigued he is by films. He constantly talks about how magical they are, and how they take you to distant lands. It's so corny and so cheesy, but the way he says a lot of this dialogue, I do find myself kind of enjoying it. There's a legit passion to his performance, and maybe some of that does come from the fact that it is Mickey Rooney playing him. He was one of the biggest stars in the world, and he does have all this history. Nothing about his performance ever feels phoned-in, it really seems like he just gets teleported somewhere incredible whenever he talks about film, to a point where he even stops people from seeing bad movies and won't let them in and directs them to better ones. It's so ridiculous, but it's so naive and innocent, you kind of got to love it.
(Various clips resume showing)
Doug (vo): That's probably the best way to describe this film, too: Naive and innocent. It's one of those movies where you pick up right away what kind of audience they're trying to hit. It's for little kids, and they act big for little kids, and they go really goofy for little kids, and they make up these weird lines for little kids, and, again, for a little kids' movie that has to entirely take place in a movie theater, which isn't exactly the most exciting place for a kids' movie, I do get why it's this over-the-top. So is there anything in it for grown-ups? No. Is there anything in it for older kids? No. Will it last the test of time? It already isn't. But I can't really get angry at it for doing exactly what it's doing, being a kids' film about a movie theater with a creepy little phantom. There's always a feeling that it's trying with the creativity, I mean, everything that the phantom sabotages somehow ties into a movie, like in a tornado movie, he turns the air up, in a movie about water, he turns on the sprinklers and so forth. The climax even centers around him putting this giant Godzilla balloon inside the theater and one of the kids has to grab a sword prop from a movie called Merlin on Mars and go after it, like a knight attacking a dragon. It's so childlike and ridiculous, it's kind of adorable.
Doug (vo): So do I recommend it? Only to little kids. I think they're the only ones that'll really get into it, and, hey, it's kind of teaching them that movies are really cool and they can really spark a lot of magical things, and that's a good thing to teach kids. I say for everyone else, it's a definite pass, but it's an understandable pass. It's childish, it's silly, but that's just what some kids' movies are supposed to be.
(The film's final scene, showing several characters walking into a cinema room, is shown)