Meanwhile, in a room filled with computer keyboards glued to the wall and enough sickly lime green light to make Godzilla instantly sterile, a woman with dangerously pointy hair is playing Quake with a roaring fire in the background. The General comes in, and they have a quick chat about evil and blowing up the world, in which she sees his glorious overacting and raises him an incredible fake-Russian accent. Their fun is interrupted by Alex trying to sneak into the base, using the advanced espionage tactic of "walking right in front of every security camera," prompting Quake Lady to confront him in the basement. Her idea of confrontation mostly includes making vampire noises for no discernible reason, and then shrinking Alex down to the size of a bug and dropping him into a glass jar. She puts the jar in front of his parents' cell and then wanders off to congratulate herself with some sweet railgun sniping.
What Quake Lady didn't count on was good old Django, who is back at the church playing the glass harmonica harder than he's ever played it before. Some crappy blue light shoots out and shatters the jar, returning Alex to normal size. He makes a break for it with his parents, but his innate tactical abilities kick in and they end up on a balcony with no exits, where they are immediately cornered by Petrov and a dozen soldiers. Things are looking pretty bad for our hero, the only way out of this is if he...oh...oh God no. In a veritable orgy of terrible CG effects, Alex turns into a lame digital approximation of a gryphon:
The soldiers, who were all ready to shoot Alex when he was a scrawny teen, are suddenly hesitant now that he's turned into some kind of hideous monster, because they have no higher brain functions of any kind. Gyphalex grabs his parents and flies them to safety over the city. The view is breathtaking, in that your brain stem will try to seal off your windpipe and choke you to death in response to being subjected to such images. Oh, and this is the last time Alex will ever shapeshift in the movie. You should take a moment right now to guess what he'll be doing for the rest of the movie instead. If your guess is correct, then congratulations, you are writer Thom Richardson! Please exit the gene pool in whatever manner you prefer.
Back at the U.S. embassy, which doubles as the CIA safehouse because that's nice and discreet, we discover that Alex's parents have been tortured to the point that they no longer remember their own son. Any potential tender family moments are immediately destroyed by the double-talking CIA director once again trying to one-up himself:
CIA DIRECTOR: Alex, we're very interested in your skills.
ALEX: Are you trying to recruit me?
CIA DIRECTOR: I didn't drag you here...as far as I'm concerned, you should be home in school.
Argh, it's more excruciating every time he's on screen. The CIA should consider using this as an actual interrogation technique. It's just like good cop/bad cop, except the good and bad cops are both the same self-contradicting asshole.
Alex stumbles back to the Church of the Vomiting Rainbow, only to find Django lying on the floor dying. All in all, it's been a pretty bad day to be Alex. After Django dissolves into some lens flares, because magic, Alex sends him off to his final rest the only way he knows how: with a farewell glass harmonica concert. Aside from the usual light show, this causes another extravaganza of horrible CGI to emerge from the meteor Django had on his table, in the form of a glowing blue woman made of ones and zeroes. Brace yourself, because this is going to be a doozy.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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