Director – Frank Arnold, Screenplay – Paul Callisi, Ethan Reiff & Cyrus Voris, Producers – Oana & Vlad Paunescu, Photography – Viorel Sergovici & Vivi Dragon Vasile, Music – Steven Morrell, Main Theme – Richard Band, Visual Effects – Alchemy FX (Supervisors – Joseph & Wendy Grossberg), Visual Effects Consultant – Chuck Comiski, Digital Effects Supervisor – Randall William Cook, Zoetrope’s Exoskeleton/Stop-Motion Armatures – John Deall, Dinosaur Effects Supervisor – Len Burge & Darren Perks, Creature Effects Supervisor – Mark Rappaport, Prism Effects – Ralf Cordero, Alien Makeup and Spider Effects – Allen Barlow, Production Design – Vali Calinascu & Colin De Rouin. Production Company – The Kushner-Locke Co/Full Moon Entertainment.
Corbin Allred (Josh Kirby), Jennifer Burns (Azabeth Siege), Barrie Ingham (Irwin 1138), John DeMita (William of Dearborn), Spencer Rochfort (Lord Henry), Heinrich James (Heidelberg), Sandra Guibord (Lady Jennifer), Richard Lineback (Willie Pooch), Dumitru Bogomas (D’Artagnan), Derek Webster (Dr Zoetrope)
With the aid of a tamed dinosaur, Josh Kirby and Irwin 1138 muster the peasants to storm the castle, save Azabeth Siege from execution and depose the tyrannical Lord Henry. They are then thrown through time into the year 70,379 where humanity has become a race of giants. There they and a group of other time-displaced people are regarded as toys and forced to fight one another for the amusement of a giant child.
The Human Pets was the second of the Josh Kirby … Time Warrior! films from low-budget production company Full Moon Entertainment. Along with its predecessor, the first film, Josh Kirby … Time Warrior! Planet of the Dino-Knights (1995), it constitutes the weakest episodes of the otherwise enjoyable series. You get the feeling that with the first two entries the filmmakers were bumbling around trying to find out what they were doing.
The first two films give the impression of having been shot back-to-back, or even as one film, and then chopped in half and padded out to make two films. Half the film here is taken up finishing off the climax of the first film – the story then with almost no bridging jumps right into The Human Pets adventure, which occupies only about a third of this film. There is a hurried feeling of things having just been slung together – the transition between the two adventures is cursory and the climax with the annoyingly immobile puppet Prism suddenly going rogue seems randomly inserted just to provide a cliffhanger. The problem was that the decision was made following shooting to make Planet of the Dino-Knights into the first story and The Human Pets the second, when both were shot intended to be the other way around, which involved some post-production organisation of the storylines.
On the plus side, the film seems to be gaining some of the character strengths and sense of humour that made the other entries enjoyable. There is also a touchingly nice performance from Sandra Guibord as the evil usurper’s mistress. The action/adventure angle is disappointing. The fight scenes are unbelievable – the teenage hero is able to defeat seasoned fighting men after only five minutes sword training. The troops must be some of the most incompetent ever assembled in history – able to be fooled by people breaking into tears in the midst of combat, taps on the shoulder and being overcome by kids.
The dinosaur effects are appallingly shoddy – the battle between two riders on dinosaur backs cuts between the two actors seen only from the waist up and two extremely badly animated dinosaurs with mounts that in no way resemble the actors.
The other Josh Kirby … Time Warrior! films are: Josh Kirby … Time Warrior! Planet of the Dino-Knights (1995), Josh Kirby … Time Warrior! Trapped on Toyworld (1996), Josh Kirby … Time Warrior! Eggs from 70 Million B.C. (1996), Josh Kirby … Time Warrior! Journey to the Magic Cavern (1996) and Josh Kirby … Time Warrior! Last Battle for the Universe (1996).