18 April 2011 | lor_
Ambitious porn film should have been much better
Besides being shot on film the "Arabian Nights" styled DESERT MOON boasts a real script and sort-of-storyline. But lackadaisical direction and listless performances keep this moderately diverting effort from excelling.
It's not obvious what went wrong but the film is half-hearted in every department: decent budget at times, but cheap sets also; big-name cast, but most of them with little or nothing to do; attempted clever dialog that turns out to be flat; weak thesping.
Sean Michaels stars as a do-gooder Sultan, actually too good to ring true. He's seen doling out food to an Arab sheik and his people, asking nothing in return, much to the consternation of his venal and evil wife Ariana. The sheik gives him a lamp, and returning home he discovers predictably that it's magical, with a genie (lovely Tina Tyler) granting him three wishes.
His first two are for wiping out hunger worldwide and ending all wars. Tyler the genie is mighty impressed, but the fans are waiting for the third ringer wish. Tyler pre-empts this by granting him a present wish of her own, which he wastes on ordering up a concubine; Tyler seems to magically change into a mulatto girl, who immediately services Tyler.
Meanwhile, wifey Ariana is plotting with her husband's chief adviser Mike Horner. This should have been a comical turn, but Horner is merely silly, the butt of dumb jokes throughout. Worse yet, unlike the rest of the cast there's no attempt to put him into period mode -he has his usual nerdy haircut which wasn't in style in 1995 when the film was shot and certainly not centuries earlier.
With the assistance of an aphrodisiac powder, he and Ariana overpower Sean's guards and steal the lamp. Now with the lamp in her possession, Ariana uses her three wishes more for spite than anything else, turning Horner into a mouse/eunuch (he couldn't choose which of these two fates to take) for his troubles, sends Sean to a fantasy world to get rid of him and finally asks for fear from all her subjects. This 3rd wish allows Tyler as genie to finagle and turn Ariana into a scorpion -unfortunately for her Dwayne Johnson had not begun his movie career yet.
Happy ending has Tyler joining Sean in the fantasy world, which just so happens to be inside the lamp.
Poorly directed by Greg Steelberg/Greg Steel, whose career per IMDb seems to have been short-lived, DESERT MOON fritters away its opportunities. There are transition scenes in a desolate area, not really desert but more scrub land (outside of L.A. no doubt) in which Ariana convincingly rides a camel, but the rest of the picture is claustrophobic.
Michaels reads his lines with a strange set of pauses, not quite Christopher Walken time, but too studied, while Ariana's arch delivery is merely irritating. Horner usually is a too-good-for-porn actor, but not this time -he sinks to the level of the ensemble. At first I was thrilled to be rid of the amateurish ad libbing of so much porn, but the stilted dialog here is not a good substitute.
Big, big names like Kaitlyn Ashley (misspelled as Ashlyn) and Anna Malle have bit parts while Debi Diamond delivers a d.p. for her fans. Funniest credit was Nicole London, not only lost in the ensemble but in charge of craft services, too!