Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (James Rolfe, 2014)

I remember a couple of years ago when I saw the queues of young girls stood outside the theatre awaiting the release of the latest One Direction Movie, 1D: This Is Us. I’m pretty sure I passed a snide comment to whoever I was with at the time berating the popularity of the film, which was clearly not aimed at me. I wasn’t the “target audience”. Nonetheless, what a bunch of idiots standing there to watch such a rubbish film.

One for the fans

One for the fans

It took me until last night to realise how wrong I was to do this. My wife was out of the house and so I saw it as a perfect opportunity to finally watch the imported copy of Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie [1]. Alas, my wife returned home and walked in just as The Nerd threw up over a copy of Eee Tee 2 and the woman holding it. As I looked towards the door, I saw myself reflected back: bemusement, disdain and a lack of willingness to understand. I guess that means that I’m a teenage girl and James Rolfe is Harry Stiles. Maybe.

And that’s the point. This is by no means a film for everyone. It is specifically a film for the fans of James Rolfe’s character The Angry Video Game Nerd, the central character in his webisodic (it’s now a word) series in which he reviews terrible old games in a foul-mouthed and occasionally aggressive manner. It’s a film full of references to the series, made for the fans, and a pet project for Rolfe to flex his big-budget muscles and show exactly what he can do once he leaves his underground lair.

The storyline concerns the release of Eee Tee 2, the sequel to Eee Tee, the biggest flop in video game history (and barely hiding the reference to E.T.). The Nerd has always refused to review this game, but when an opportunity arises to go to New Mexico and dig up the infamous New Mexico Atari landfill as a tie in to the sequel, he agrees. The Nerd and his two assistants start the quest but are pursued by federal agent General Dark Onward, who believes The Nerd is trying to investigate Area 51.

It is quite a convoluted plot but it’s not really there to win any awards for screenplays. It’s a platform on which Rolfe bases some quite hilarious moments and I see the film as a success. Yes, it’s probably a little long but I can forgive Rolfe for this – he was bringing his own dream to life and wanted to make sure his fans got the most out of it. Some of the script feels a little like it’s deliberately trying to aspire to be a cult film, and it gets very silly at times, but it’s delivered with enough charm to be forgiven for a few misfires.

There’s a nice bonus at the end, where he finally reviews E.T. The Extra Terrestrial on the Atari, which he has never previously done. The bonus features on the disc are plentiful and give a bit of insight into the film (though many of the featurettes were previously available during the making of the film on Cinemassacre).

Steer clear if you have never heard of The Nerd before but if you want to see what he’s capable of it’s worth the plunge.

[1] For those in the UK, the best option to see the movie in HD is to import from Amazon.com. Be warned though – you will pay through the nose for the postage and then get slapped with import duty when it arrives. It’s expensive and if you aren’t fussed about the HD then you have an option to stream from Cinemassacre for a small fee.

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