Director – Maximilian Elfeldt, Screenplay – Jeremy M. Inman, Producer – David Michael Latt, Photography – Josh Maas, Music – Christopher Cano & Chris Ridenhour, Visual Effects Supervisor – Glenn Campbell, Makeup – Denise M. Chavez, Production Design – Allison Schenker. Production Company – The Asylum.
Lauren Parkinson (Snow White), Christina Licciardi (Alice), Elizabeth Eileen (Red Riding Hood), Marah Fairclough (Sleeping Beauty), Katherine Maya (Magda), Eric Feltes (Rumpelstiltskin), Michael Marcel (Prince Charles Charming III), Randall Yarbrough (Hatter)
Magda, the Queen of Atlantis, emerges on the beaches of Los Angeles along with her armies and causes devastation as she moves across the city. Rumpelstiltskin realises that this is because she wants to marry Prince Charming. Alice thinks the best solution is to bring Prince Charming together with his beloved, Snow White. And so Alice retrieves Snow White, Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty from across time and together they set out to stop Magda. In the course of this, Snow White falls back into Charming’s arms. Angered, Magda breaks into Looking Glass and activates the magic device that banishes Snow White and others through a portal into the past. There they try to find a way back as Magda uses all her wiles to get Charming to marry her.
The Asylum is a company that specialise in mockbusters and have produced titles such as The Da Vinci Treasure (2006), Pirates of Treasure Island (2006), Snakes on a Train (2006), I Am Omega (2007), Transmorphers (2007), Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls (2008), The Day the Earth Stopped (2008), Death Racers (2008), 100 Million BC (2008), Sunday School Musical (2008), The 18 Year Old Virgin (2009), Paranormal Entity (2009), The Terminators (2009), Almighty Thor (2011), Battle of Los Angeles (2011), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012), Age of the Hobbits (2012) and Atlantic Rim (2013), among others, all of which are timed to come out at the same time as a high-profile Hollywood release but with soundalike titles in the hope that people won’t took closely.
Avengers Grimm: Time Wars was the third film in The Asylum’s Avengers Grimm series. The first of the series Avengers Grimm (2015) came out on the coattails of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), while the sequel Sinister Squad (2016) came on the back of DC’s Suicide Squad (2016). Likewise, Avengers Grimm: Time Wars was intended to come out at the same time as Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars (2018).
Where Marvel’s films were conceived as a team-up between their in-house superheroes, The Asylum imagine a crossover between fairytale characters where Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Goldilocks, Alice in Wonderland and Little Red Riding Hood team up to fight Rumpeltiltskin, the Big Bad Wolf, The Queen of Hearts and others. Some (but not all) of the same actresses (Lauren Parkinson, Marah Fairclough, Christina Licciardi) repeat previous roles, although other parts have been recast. The first two films were directed/written by Jeremy M. Inman who now steps back to a scripting-only position.
There is an amusing idea at the heart of the Avengers Grimm films but in all three films it falls down in an ineptness of execution. For one, the films wrench the original fairytale characters radically out of shape – here Red Riding Hood wields two handguns and tosses hand grenades, while Sleeping Beauty has gained a superpower in being able to blasts walls of ice. All of the roles are cast with D-list nobodies, most of whom have credits either as extras, in short films or the total number of bit parts you could count on one hand. Not too surprisingly, the actresses look less like fairytale princesses than they do bored Hollywood party girls hanging around looking to find any way they can get a foot in the door – the exception to these might be the fresh-faced Elizabeth Eileen who is cast as Red Riding Hood.
The other complaint one has is Jeremy Inman’s plotting, which runs to the frequently incoherent throughout the ‘Avengers Grimm series. The plot here flips back and forward in time and has a slightly more coherent through story about getting Prince Charming to marry Snow White instead of Magda. Unfortunately, given The Asylum’s typical low budget, none of this matters. There are one or two good effects – especially with Magda and her army of merpeople emerging out of the oceans. However, this is a film that involves battles across time, city-destroying wars and struggles to set things aright where all of this fails because the low-budget, indifferent performances and utterly average direction fails to create any drama, urgency or reason to care about the outcome.