Tuesday, July 15, 2014

AVGN Movie Trailer #2 is out...

The picture pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
I'm not gonna link it. It's on YouTube somewhere. I'm sure you'll find it. You'll probably like it... which means you probably won't like what I'm writing here.

You know... my expectations weren't exactly high when the movie was announced, especially when it would revolve around E.T. for Atari 2600 and the whole landfill thing (that was discovered and excavated in real life, by the way). And when the first trailer for this thing hit, my initial reaction was that it looked decent on a technical level, but I still wasn't sold on the story being told... or the acting, for that matter... but I'll reserve final judgment on the finished product.

But after watching this second trailer... how do I put this delicately as to not fray any weak-minded fans of that particular franchise?

It looked like shit.

I mean, it really looked fucking horrible.

It's basically a shitty Channel Awesome movie with a bigger budget and even less potentially likable characters, with no potential to be anything more than an outright sub-mediocre mess of a movie whose reputation is going to get more praise than it deserves because it's from a beloved Internet personality.

"It's a labor of love!" they say.

"It'll be EPIC!" they say.

"It'll be the greatest thing James Rolfe ever makes!" they will say.

Only one of the above has any truth to it; the bit about it being a labor of love. And as much as I crap on this trailer and the potential disaster that I fear the movie to be, never let it be said that I do not give Rolfe credit where it's due. With the first trailer, I thought the content looked good on a technical level and at the very least, it looked somewhere within the realm of cheap-o SyFy Channel original movie quality rather than cheap-o Internet movie production. And I also appreciate the possibility of actual model work being used in the movie... a pity that the amount of cheap shitty CG effects looks to outweigh the practical effects by a considerable margin.

With the second trailer, it opens with a brief tease of establishing the Nerd caricature; who he is and all that. It's not a big thing, but it was something that was lacking the Channel Awesome projects I saw where the film assumes you know all these caricatures and thus gave you no reason to actually care about these people. In a way, I'm glad to see Rolfe include this bit as a way of saying "If you're unfamiliar with the Nerd, don't worry. Here's a bit to acquaint potential new viewers as to who the Nerd is and what he does." Now whether the movie gives the viewer any reason to care about the Nerd caricature is another story entirely.

But beyond that one sliver of credit and the uncluttered bits of trailer that, if nothing else, look decent by the technical standards of an Asylum film... the concept is still kinda shit, the caricatures seem shallow and uninteresting, the digital special effects are rather lame, and I've seen more impressive CG effects on a Sega Dreamcast. The whole thing might be a labor of love, but it just looks like the visual equivalent of a 3-year-old mashing on a piano without rhyme or reason.

And the truly sad part about all this is that James Rolfe is actually a competent filmmaker. He is capable of churning out really great stuff. He HAS put out really great stuff. There's a bunch of his older short films that I've enjoyed tremendously that perfectly showcases the kind of talent he has for this sort of thing. The Deader The Better is an example of one of his better films. Cinemaphobia is another good one. The shorts he did for the 48-Hour Film Project for a few years were pretty good (Death Secret was probably the best of the bunch). The Dragon In My Dreams was a nice retrospective piece on his childhood.

Hell, a couple months ago, I just got around to seeing Jersey Odysseys: Legend Of The Blue Hole and for a student film with lesser production values and generally weak acting, I thought that was probably the best thing Rolfe's ever made. I thought the subject matter was interesting when I didn't think it would, the overall story flowed rather nicely, the main character had some level of depth to him and had enough substance that you actually cared, there was an aura of suspense and mystery that was Rolfe's strongest point, and the ending left it open to the possibilities of a follow-up, which makes sense since this was intended to be an ongoing thing but never came to be for obvious reasons... and that's a bit of a shame because this was a fucking good short and it left me wanting more.

Now that's the James Rolfe who I would've liked to have seen do a feature film. The James Rolfe who could take what he did with those short films and really take it to another level with the added budget and openness that that level of filmmaking would afford him. But that's not the James Rolfe who made a movie for the past year.

Instead, we get the James Rolfe who has potential for greatness, but is content to be complacent in mediocrity. The James Rolfe who is content in pandering to a fanbase by continuing a series that has become the very epitome of creative bankruptcy. And that's reflected in grand fashion in the form of this Angry Video Game Nerd movie. It'll be successful, no doubt. It'll be highly praised, without question. And the most ardent and mindless fans will easily eat up this self-fellating vanity project that will no doubt stroke the egos of Rolfe, Matei, and all others involved, just as quickly as they gobble up any other edition of a franchise that remains popular despite not having anything relevant or worthwhile to say in years.

The Angry Video Game Nerd movie will, indeed, be James Rolfe's biggest success.

But the best thing he's ever made?

Hell fucking no.

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