Back in 2007, a young man by the name of James Rolfe posted a video on YouTube reviewing the NES classic Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest under the title of Bad NES Games. He’d recorded the video in 2006 along with reviews of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Karate Kid and they were posted to YouTube in 2007, now with the moniker of The Angry Nintendo Nerd. In the following weeks and months he posted more video reviews with each one increasing in anger levels. His reviews became incredibly popular and before he knew it, the newly named Angry Video Game Nerd reviews had amassed a rabid following and his monthly videos were gaining thousands upon thousands of viewers – he was a bona fide Internet celebrity. Now, six years and a lot of fan funding later, James Rolfe’s Angry Video Game Nerd is moving to the big screen.
After debuting the trailer in the same movie theatre where the iconic scene from The Blob was filmed, our first glimpse of Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie was released on the Internet on Saturday. And, well, it’s pretty much what you’d expect.
The movie sees The Nerd do a review of the one game that he has constantly been asked to do since day one of the character’s run – the legendary and notoriously terrible E.T. the Extra Terrestrial for Atari 2600. Along the way he, his best friend Cooper (a play on co-op) and love interest Mandi seek out the truth behind the rumour that Atari buried all copies unsold copes of the game in a New Mexico landfill. They also appear to be tracked by a military operation lead by General Dark Onward and Sergeant McButter.
The trailer shows off big explosions, kung-fu action scenes, aliens, robots, zombies, a villain who appears to be a play on Stavros, references to his previous reviews (including Top Gun on the NES) and the sort of over-the-top violence one would expect from a man who grew up idolising horror movies. Considering the movie is based off a character who does 20 minute reviews of video games, you’ve got to be impressed with the amount packed in.
I do have to question the choice of casting Jeremy Suarez in the role of Cooper when website contributor Mike Matei, who is Rolfe’s real-life friend, is a decent screen performer himself. In a recent video posted on YouTube, Rolfe and Matei discuss Matei’s camera shyness and reluctance to act for The Nerd videos, but if you watch his Batman: Revenge of the Joker review (and countless others), you’ll see that he is a very fine comedic actor and his casting would have made more sense in the world of The Nerd. Perhaps Matei just didn’t want to take the role and I’m sure that Suarez will go a great job in the role of the best friend; it’s just a personal preference for continuity.
From the production notes released on Twitter and Facebook we can expect to see cameos from the likes of Doug Walker’s Nostalgia Critic (who has been at “war” with The Nerd since 2007 resulting in full-scale fights) and E.T’s lead game designer Howard Scott Warshaw (who confirmed his appearance on James’ Cinemassacre website). Other rumours have suggested we could see a cameo from movie producer Fred Fuchs, whose name has been a running joke throughout The Nerd reviews because it sounds like a rude word. You never know, we may even see cameos from other Internet reviews like Pat The NES Punk or maybe even The Happy Video Game Nerd or The Irate Gamer (who has always been considered an Angry Video Game Nerd rip-off).
As I’ve been watching The Angry Video Game Nerd reviews for the better part of 5 years, I am really excited to see this movie. I’ve always liked Rolfe’s humour and having seen some of his college movies, he’s got a good eye for directing. There is a question of whether a character who has only reviewed movies from a couch could last a 2 hour runtime, but I think Rolfe has enough charisma to make the idea work. The same argument could have been made against Mike Myers’ Wayne’s World, and that film turned out alright.
If you’re a fan of Rolfe’s videos then I’m sure you’ll have already seen the trailer and will have more or less made up your mind if you’re going to see it or not. Personally I like the look of it and look forward to buying the DVD. I’m not expecting an amazing movie, but it will certainly entertain me.
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.