I’m not entirely sure what I expected from an AVGN movie. I guess not this but somehow, not anything else either. I’m a big fan of the Angry Video Game Nerd. A friend of mine introduced me to him via his Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm St. episodes. I’ve since then watched all of his AVGN videos as well as James Rolfe’s other work, such as Board James, James and Mike Mondays, and You Know What’s Bullshit. The Angry Video Game Nerd at this point is a internet personality legend and it makes perfect sense that he would star in a movie. But does the Nerd’s appeal withstand a nearly two hour movie?
After years of reviewing horrible games, the Nerd is trying to ignore the game his fans have requested the most for him to review, ET or EeeTee. However, a new developer is planning to release a sequel to the infamous game and is looking to the Angry Video Game Nerd to promote it. The Nerd, not wanting to review, decides that the reason the game is so infamous is because of the famous Atari dump legend, where hundreds of Atari 2600 cartridges, mostly consisting of the ET game, were dumped in a landfill in New Mexico. He decides to take a trip to the landfill, unearth it and prove that it doesn’t exist but instead gets caught up in an adventure involving government conspiracies and old legends come to life.
It’s funny since the landfill has been proven to be real just this past year, making the premise a bit outdated. However, that’s not the least of this film’s problems. The leaps and bounds in logic the film’s story requires you to stomach is just way too demanding for a lot of people. This movie has aliens, Area 51, armless generals, Godzilla-like monsters, and just way too much for anyone to take seriously. However, that’s probably on purpose. None of this is supposed to be taken seriously and that’s the point. I would compare this movie to a rollercoaster. Just throw your hands up and yell “Whee!” However, there is very thin strings tying all this together and it’s very understandable that some will be unable to suspend their disbelief.
If you can do this, you’ll probably enjoy seeing the Nerd in these bizarre and extreme situations. James Rolfe is the main protagonist in this movie and it’s always focused on him. If you’re a fan of AVGN, you’ll find a lot to love here. There’s a lot of humorous scenes and plenty of WTF moments. Rolfe himself stays true to his Nerd character and also manages to poke fun at his internet celebrity status. It’s because of this though that this film really does appeal to only Angry Video Game Nerd fans. There is something here for fans of campy Sci-Fi fans but this seems to have been made for a certain audience.
It doesn’t help that a lot of the other characters aren’t very strong. The Nerd’s right hand man Cooper is mostly undefined, their female companion Mandi is mostly a wasted character who only serves to oppose Sargent McButter, an equally wasted henchmen character to main villain General Dark Onward, and the General himself feels more like a mild hindrance more than a menacing foe. Luckily, characters like the mentally unhinged Dr. Zandor and the dozens of cameos from other YouTube personalities such as Pat The NES Punk, The Nostalgia Critic, Andre The Black Nerd, and ET The Game lead designer Howard Scott Warshaw help support the Nerd.
The Angry Video Game Nerd movie was made on a modest budget. It’s actually a bit surprising that Rolfe and the other filmmakers were able to recruit actors who had television roles (Sarah Glendering was a Soap Opera star and Jeremy Suarez was on The Bernie Mac Show). As such, a lot of the effects in this movie are more practical. As in they are definitely using toys and dudes and makeshift suits and dummies. Also a lot of green screen. This movie definitely has a homemade kind of feel to it, despite it being shown in clear 1080p and the editing being very good.
Ultimately, not everyone is going to like this movie. It’s silly, it’s campy, and it’s beyond ridiculous. But god damn if it doesn’t have a lot of heart and soul put into it. The horrible effects make it endearing, the silly plot can make it eye-rollingly pleasant, and it can definitely be a who’s who of YouTube personalities. If you are a gamer, you can find something to like in this movie. However, at the same time, you can also find something you don’t like. It’s worth a watch but I don’t think it’s something you’ll want for repeat viewings.