Before seeing the “Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie” I had pretty low expectations. In recent years, the once king of Internet reviewers seemed to have lost something along the way. His vulgar language and crude humor did not shine through as much as it once did, and the AVGN overall just lacked the anger that made us grow to love him. James Rolfe, creator of the AVGN, proved to me that he is the once and future king of reviewers in “Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie”; his magnum opus.
Before I discuss the movie, I should discuss why this was so much different from the average movie experience. First off, the film only played in a handful of theaters in the United States. I was fortunate to get a ticket to a screening at a small theater in Chicago. Fortunately, Rolfe announced that the movie will soon be available for digital download and the DVD’s will go up for sale on his website, cinemassacre.com, by the end of the year.
The second difference was the low budget, and how it was used to the movie’s benefit. On his website, Rolfe often discusses his love for when special effects were not just computer generated. Rather than wasting money from the budget and CGI effects, Rolfe uses miniatures, actors inside giant monster costumes and Tom Savini style make-up to pay homage to an era before CG.
The third and final difference was the audience. When you see a midnight release for a comic book movie, you are in a niche audience. However, it’s not very hard to find a comic book fan in your every day life. This audience wasn’t just nerds, it wasn’t just fans of videogames and it wasn’t just fans of Internet shows; it was an audience of fans of one nerd from New Jersey. With that being said, I have never before in my life scene an audience so psyched for a movie. This low budget film that we have been anticipating for nearly four years meant more to us fans than most movies we have seen.
Among the audience members was Doug Walker who is most known for playing the Nostalgia Critic on Channel Awesome. Walker announced the film by reading a monologue that the nerd himself supposedly wrote for him to recite for the audience. Having worked with Rolfe in the past, seeing Walker announce the movie was an unexpected treat for all the fans.
The movie centers around the nerd in his normal life reviewing games. A video game company called Cockburn Inc. is releasing a sequel to the E.T. game for the Atari 2600, and they want the nerd to review it. The company discovered that ever since the nerd became popular, people began intentionally purchasing bad games just so they can play them for themselves. I have been a fan of the nerd since I was in elementary school and I did the same exact thing after watching his videos. After word gets out that a sequel is being made to E.T., AVGN fans everywhere want the nerd to finally review E.T. for the Atari 2600.
Ever since he started reviewing games, the nerd has been asked to review E.T. for the Atari 2600. For those that don’t know, E.T. was a game that was so bad that Atari buried all the recalled cartridges in a landfill in Nevada, and lost millions of dollars in the process. However, as pointed out in the movie, Howard Scott Warshaw, creator of the E.T. game, only had five weeks to make the game because Atari wanted the game ready for the Christmas sales.
The nerd refuses to review both the E.T. game and its sequel because he does not want his fans to intentionally play bad games that caused him heartache as a child. In order to save his fans from playing bad games, the nerd and his friends set out on an adventure to prove that there is not an Atari landfill in order to lay the legend to rest.
What makes the film so entertaining is seeing the creativity shine through. Most directors have a long line of producers and executives they have to please, which means that the director’s hands get tied at times. Since most of the money for the movie came from fundraising and Rolfe’s own pocket, Rolfe had much more lenience with what he wanted. If he wanted a giant monster attacking Las Vegas, he got a damn giant monster attacking Las Vegas. Rolfe’s demented mind and creativity were what made this movie great.
This was also one of the funniest movies I have seen all year. Throughout the movie, the nerd makes jokes about modern video games, the nerd clichés and even the video game reviewers that were clear rip offs of him. Surprisingly, the movie creates several other very memorable characters other than the nerd who is usually a solo act in his show. The villains are hilarious and memorable, and the supporting protagonists get many well-deserved laughs.
The only complaint I would have with the movie was the blatant product placement. In an early episode of AVGN, Rolfe drinks a Rolling Rock beer. This caught on, and Rolling Rock became his trademark. Throughout the movie, Rolfe drinks Rolling Rock and there are Rolling Rock logos in the background as well. However, since Rolling Rock is more of a plot element rather than product placement, it wasn’t as big of a deal as dumb as the entire town owned by Dr. Pepper in “Thor.”
As I said before, this was a movie for the fans. People who don’t watch the AVGN would not like the movie as movie nearly as much as the fans, if at all. With that being said, it is hard to give this film a grade. If you are a fan of the nerd, then this movie was a 10/10. If you do not like the nerd or if you don’t watch his videos, then this is not the movie for you.