Escapist Video Movie Review Report > Gamerz
Starring: Ross Finbow,
Danielle Stewart, James Young
Rated: Not rated - Contains
language, situations, and subject matter that are not appropriate for
IMDB listing: Gamerz
Find it at: Amazon
is the story of Ralph, a young man preparing to leave his humdrum job
stacking cans of peas at the supermarket and begin a new adventure in
college life. A gamer at heart, and eager to share his custom campaign
with other gamers, he makes two fateful discoveries in his new
environment - a gaming club (which he assumes control of during his
first session) and a hidden and forbidden passage to the maintenance
tunnels beneath the university (which are PERFECT for playing his
new gaming group consists of the neurotic Davy, obnoxious Hank (who
speaks mostly in belches), and the lovely Marlyn, who over-identifies
with her elf character. Lennie, a former friend of Ralph's before
taking to a career as a thug, finds out about the game and wants in. He
explains that he has fostered a fascination with all things fantasy
ever since sitting through a Lord of the Rings
triple bill while under the influence of psychedelics.
Ralph grudgingly allows Lennie to play, but when
he sees him begin to hit it off with Marlyn, he lets his emotions carry
over into the game, and before long, none of the player's characters
are safe from his wrath.
crosses the love triangle story with a genre that we see in the States
frequently - the "college movie," where a group of students get into a
load of trouble but always seem to find some way to weasel out of it in
the end. The events here are not quite as outrageous as Animal
House, however. They're limited to the relationships
between the members of Ralph's gaming group, and their collective
desire to keep the game going.
DVD review copy was difficult to watch at first, due to a slight image
jitter that seemed to happen whenever there was a lot of on-screen
movement, such as someone running. I tried the disc in two different
DVD players and got the same result, so it's difficult to say if the
issue is from an actual problem with the disc, a DVD region issue, or
my own faulty eyesight. Over time, it became easy to get accustomed to
it, but it could bother some people who are more sensitive to such
things than myself.
the dialogue was difficult to follow in parts, mainly due to the
accents of some of the characters. If you aren't a long-time fan of
Britcoms (like myself and many other gamers), you may have even more
trouble understanding the dialogue, particularly in Lennie's case.
Subtitles would have been helpful here - it's a shame that the DVD
didn't offer them as an option.
STORY - The story is a good, if
simple, example of the love triangle story. I really enjoyed the
alternate ending (which is actually more of an "extended" ending, as it
doesn't change any of the events of the story) and if they had kept it
in, I might've tacked on another die.
CHARACTERS - The characters are
funny and, for the most part, believeable. One scene, in which Ralph's
grandmother patches his cloak ("Canna have ma wee game keeper
goin' out weth a repped cloak, now can I?"), even got me a
little choked up. The film would have gotten five dice here if not for
the scenes where Davy expresses his fondness for Hank late in the
movie, which seemed sort of cliche and underdeveloped, as if it was
added as an afterthought.
LAUGHS & GASPS - There
are lots of good laugh-out-loud moments, and at least a few gasps,
particularly when Marlyn gives her gift to Ralph in the last part of
REFERENCES & REALITY - It
is clear that the writer/director Robbie Fraser is either a gamer
himself or knows a lot about them and the games that they play. The
patter between the players, the references to game mechanics, the maps,
figures, dice - it's all here. Ralph and company do not play a specific
RPG system - in fact, it's never mentioned what game they're playing
when he first joins the group, and he announces that he's introducing
his own game when he takes the group over - but the keen eye can spot
many, many popular RPG books and
boxes in his bedroom (I saw Gamma World!) Ralph's
custom-made GM screen is beautiful, and will probably make many gamers
want to start working on their own.
BONUS DICE - The fantasy
sequences are extraordinary - a mix of character silhouettes (played by
local LARP enthusiasts), animations, and watercolor backdrops that are
reminiscent of Ralph Bakshi's animated Lord of the Rings. A
DVD extra explains how they did these effects on a relatively low
budget. The "chapter" wipes are also fun - each is a copier scan that
reveals the next "level" of the movie. These touches combined earn Gamerz
four bonus dice.
DICE BAG - Gamerz has earned a bag
of 20 dice - It's a great little film with excellent low-budget effects
that puts gamers into the leading roles of a love-triangle college
"Ye canna make
money weth yer wee soldiers!"
This review is pure, 100% opinion, and could be
completely wrong. Agree? Disagree? Just want to add your two coppers?
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