After years of production, the Angry Video Game Nerd Movie was released online on September 2nd, 2014. As a fan of the work of James Rolfe, I was anticipating this film ever since it’s announcement back in 2011. Of course, everyone knew the film would be about the Atari 2600 game “E.T”, from the fact that it is generally considered to be the worst game of all time, but no one knew any other details about the film. James Rolfe is known for his lifelong passion of film making on a budget, and even this film, which was crow sourced with a budget of over $325,000, shows the signs of being very classic in its style and production.
I won’t spoil much of the film here, but I did want to give my thoughts on the film, since I did enjoy it, and it is the result of what James has spent his whole life doing – Making films about whatever he wants. It deserves a bit of special attention.
The basic premise goes like this: A company is going to release a sequel to the original E.T game of the 80’s, and they want the Nerd to review the game as a way of promoting it. This follows a current trend where games that are considered terrible are now desired by collectors for their notorious status. Of course, the Nerd doesn’t want to do this, as it would mean he would have to review the original game, which he absolutely refuses to acknowledge the existence of. He rejects the idea, and even decides to go out of his way and try to debunk the Atari Landfill Myth to try to ruin the mythical nature about the game, and to hope to quell the desire for him to review the game.
This of course requires him to travel to the desert of New Mexico, which is where the plot begins to develop. His hunt for the landfill where the carts are supposedly buried attracts the attention of the military, and that’s as far as I am going to spoil. Lets just say, the crazy starts up right from there, and doesn’t stop until the end of the film. Let’s just say this is a film where you want to stay around during the credits.
The film is a nice, just under 2 hour long comedy. The special effects in the film were mostly done with practical (read: real, on screen, not computer generated) effects, which gives the film a very 80’s feel. The actual image quality is good, however, so don’t think this will look like something recorded on VHS in someones backyard. Yes, you can tell many of the effects are miniatures, but that adds greatly to the charm of the film. It isn’t a forced “cult classic” feel, but it seems to be a genuine attempt to re-create the style of budget sci-fi films from the past, and I think that adds greatly to the movie. It certainly looks unique in comparison to most films these days.
The films soundtrack is outstanding, with a good balance of vocals and music, and a very well composed score. This is certainly one of the better aspects of the film, and you can tell James really wanted this part of the movie to be strong in comparison to the “traditional” feel of the rest of the film.
As for the actual plot and pacing, while it starts off slow and pretty straightforward, things get crazy 30 minutes in, and after that, the film goes from crazy to outright insane. This works perfectly, though, and gives James many opportunities to wedge in other elements from his various films and projects over the years. Many people make special appearances in scenes, and the film maintains a comedic charm throughout its run.
By the end of the film, you won’t quite remember everything that went on, which is good; that makes you want to watch the movie again. I think it would take several viewings, even by very hardcore James Rolfe fans, to notice all the little hidden bonuses in the film. It really is a treat for fans of his work, but I also think the character is explained well enough in the introduction to make this film appreciable to anyone who has a slightly crude sense of humor.
All I can say is, the film is worth a watch. If you think you would want to watch it, then you owe it to yourself to check it out.