Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Whizzer

Or: Why I Shouldn’t Watch Movies at 1AM.

It’s well after midnight here in my wonderful world. I can’t sleep. I find myself watching The Wizard, an insanely stupid movie from 1989 whose sole purpose is to herald the coming of one of history’s greatest video games, Super Mario Bros. 3.

The movie itself, however, is a pile of crap. A lot has already been said about it, especially by the likes of The Nostalgia Critic. But, hey, this is the internet, it’s late, and I need to update this blog with something. Therefore, I’m going to rant about this stellar dunce of a movie; however, I’m not going to bother with the plot itself, as it is completely nonsensical. Go watch Nostalgia Critic’s review if you want to hear about that. I’m also not touching the dialogue, as it’s just… well, it’s about what you would expect when you slam Fred Savage, Christian Slater, and Beau Bridges in a movie together. It’s just plain weird.

This movie’s only real purpose, as I said earlier, was to usher in SMB3, which it did and did in quite the epic fashion; however, if that’s all this movie was, there wouldn’t be a problem. Pretty much everything else about video games in this movie is just dead wrong. And it is just this very point that I want to rant and rave. Why? Because I can.

  • Jimmy, the Rain Man of video gaming, comes across a Double Dragon arcade cabinet, where in a matter of 30 seconds he scores 50,000 points.
    1. Why is the arcade cabinet playing the NES version of the game?
    2. Really? 50,000 in the time it took Fred Savage to not buy a bus ticket? That’s not just impressive, it downright defies the nature of what’s possible!
    3. Let’s say that conversation about buying bus tickets took a lot longer than it actually did. This movie made a huge deal about Rain Man here making 50,000 points. Congrats, kid. You made it to level 6. TRULY THOU ART A GOD OF GAMERS.
  • F1 Dream – What, you mean the Rad Racer demo?
  • Speaking of the Rad Racer demo: Lucas. Oh lord, Lucas. Strap in, folks. This where I get really ranty:
    1. Lucas claims to have “all 97” NES titles. Right off the bat I have to call BS. Wikipedia tells me that “There are 799 titles in the NES library in the US and PAL region.” That’s from 1985 – 1994.This number doesn’t include the unlicensed games. In 1991, the SNES came out, meaning new release titles for the NES from 1991-1994 were very small in number. My point? THERE WERE MORE THAN 97 GAMES IN 1989!
    2. Lucas is pretty good at the Rad Racer demo screen, too!
    3. Lucas is even good at it using Mattel’s Power Glove, which is hilarious because that thing never worked.
    4. Side note: I had a Power Glove growing up, but it was mostly for uppity rich, whiny kids who just had to have the coolest stuff.
    5. Extra side note: You could not be cool AND own a Power Glove.
  • This is really just a continuity thing, but the father character (Why did you do this movie, Beau Bridges?) claims to have gotten really far playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Movie cuts to what he’s doing and…he’s on level 1. That’s just great. NEXT!
  • The Nintendo. Power. Hotline. Oh good gosh. Look, it existed, but it was never a good idea. At all. It was a toll-number where a person could call up and get hints and cheats for video games. Given a rather large stack of binders a call operator is accumulating while on the phone with one of our plucky heroes, I can safely infer that this phone bill is going to be epic. The kind of phone bill with at least four zeros.
  • Rain Man Jr. is playing yet another arcade cabinet that is… the NES version Ninja Turtles. Wait. What? No! Stop putting the NES games into arcade cabinets! That’s NOT how these things work!
    • They keep doing this, as Jimmy bounces from cabinet to cabinet and you clearly hear the coin sound from Super Mario Brothers at one point.
    • Ok, they do this for a LOT of games, but I’m going to leave it with these two: METROID WAS NEVER IN THE ARCADE! NEITHER WAS SUPER MARIO BROTHERS 2/DOKI DOKI PANIC! Ok, I feel better.
  • At the McGuffin, er… video game competition, everyone is gearing up to play Ninja Gaiden. For some reason they pronounce this as “Guy Dan.” Words do not express how sad that makes me on the inside.
    • Look, I’m just going to say it. Nobody can beat Ninja Gaiden without a Game Genie. The movie confirms this as everyone is at the same damn part of stage 2-2.
  • The unveiling of SMB3. I have no beef here. This was as epic as it was supposed to be. Move along.
  • However, when they do start playing the game, I do have a gripe. They state very explicitly that no one has EVER played this game before, but Jimmy finds the warp whistle pretty easily! Now, I know the point here was for the movie to say “Look kids! This game has secrets!!” but even Fred Savage is sitting on the floor screaming “FIND THE WARP, JIMMY!” How the hell did he know it was there?
  • “Jimmy finishes world 2!” Then how did he get three cards?
  • “The magic flute opens the warp!” Again, How the hell do you know that!? No one has ever played this game. You cannot know what an unfamiliar object does in a game that has never been played.

Ok, that about wraps up my review for this one aspect of this stupid movie. I know this isn’t a typical movie review and some of this requires context. Again, go watch the Nostalgia Critic video, or see this movie for yourself. It’s not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. Its only saving grace is that epic reveal of Super Mario Bros. 3. Everything else is dark, depressing, or just plain wrong. And with that, I’m going to bed.

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