A few months ago I raved about how big a fan I am of The Angry Videogame Nerd (AVGN) web series. In case you missed that blog, AVGN is portrayed by James Rolfe, who is a stereotypical nerd who loves Rolling Rock and ripping apart terrible NES games in his web series. I also mentioned in that blog that James Rolfe just wrapped up his work with his much anticipated film, Angry Videogame Nerd: The Movie (trailer). It did not have a traditional theatrical run, and instead Rolfe took the film on a ten city tour throughout the United States before it got an online digital release at the end of 2014. Just several weeks ago AVGN: The Movie finally got a BluRay release, complete with a boatload of exclusive extras.
For a few years leading up to the film, the AVGN character randomly teased on his web series to reviewing the most requested game by his fanbase, E.T. on the Atari 2600. After years of teasing, he finally got around to reviewing it in grand fashion by dedicating a whole movie to it. E.T. is notorious for being a horribly licensed movie game rushed to market in time to coincide with the blockbuster Stephen Spielberg directed film. A lot of people point to it as the impetus of the crash of the videogame market in 1983 in the United States, which resulted in a few terrible years of console games until Nintendo resurrected the market with the NES in late 1985. Atari overproduced the game, and bad word-of-mouth resulted in many unsold copies that Atari buried along with plenty of other unsold product in a New Mexico landfill.
From following blog posts on Rolfe's website over the years, I remember a full length feature film has been a passion project of his for many years now, and he made sure to go for broke on AVGN: The Movie. The film well surpassed its online crowd funding goal, and wound up with a budget of $325,000. This results in a much more better looking product on screen when compared to the average online AVGN episode. The film is shot entirely in high definition, which yields far better lighting and camera work that can be done with an entire crew when compared to the usual one man production filmed by Rolfe. Rest assured, the film is still filled with plenty of vintage cheesy special effects and action shots the web series is known for, so it is not like the film is trying to pretend to be this grand major motion picture as it retains plenty of the essence that lead to the popularity of the web series.
As for how I felt on AVGN: The Movie as a whole, I had my highs and lows with it, but I enjoyed it for the most part. I felt Rolfe really nailed the opening setting up The Nerd's lifestyle outside of his gaming room, and what lead to him finally going on the road trip to New Mexico. Once they get to New Mexico though, there were parts where the pacing started to drag in parts with a little too much emphasis on constantly trying to run away from General Onward's forces and whatever the newest threat they put in front of The Nerd, Mandi and Cooper. The final, big climatic action scenes were fun to watch, but I felt they could have easily trimmed a little bit off of it as the film feels just a bit too long at nearly two hours in length.
hotel clerk from one of my favorite videogames, Heavy Rain does. I will give the film the benefit of the doubt because a lot of those smaller roles are filled in by fans and guest stars from the online gaming scene. Nitpicking aside, I still liked the film for the most part because I could not help, but feel great for Rolfe living out his dream of making a feature length movie driven entirely on a grass roots level by fan demand and crowd funding and eschewing the traditional major film distribution model.
James Rolfe makes sure you get your $20 worth from the BluRay release by filling it with over ten hours of bonus content. Being the nut that I am, I made sure to watch each and every minute of all the extra features (it took me over a week to do so!). If you do not have time for the plethora of extras, I highly recommend first listening to the commentary track from the two directors, James Rolfe and Kevin Finn who go into a lot of details on how everything was shot and provide lots of facts and tidbits on all the actors and production that a lot of the other extra features also detail. Some of the bonus content that really stood out to me was a 20 minute review from Doug Walker, aka the man behind the web series, The Nostalgia Critic, and even though he has a cameo in the film he makes sure to calls this film like he sees it. There is a 48 minute compilation of b-roll footage of filming the gigantic robot monster scenes that is fun to jump around into seeing how they pulled off those shots.
Ultimately, it was great to see AVGN: The Movie finally come to fruition, and yes he does eventually give the proper AVGN review treatment to E.T. during the closing credits. You do not have to pay to see the movie if you want to only see his long anticipated review of the game since Rolfe has kindly spliced out the review and has it up on the AVGN website for free. For longtime fans of the show, you owe it to yourself to watch Angry Videogame Nerd: The Movie and see the passion project Rolfe has had in store for us for his most requested game to review ever.
Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs
12 Angry Men (1957)
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Field of Dreams
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Marine 3: Homefront
Marine 4: Moving Target
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Star Trek I-XII
The Wrestler (2008)