Lil’s review published on Letterboxd:
You're in a dark room. Your arms are tied to the back of the chair you're sitting in. Suddenly the walls light up; screens everywhere. It's a variety of different people. The words they speak echo repetitively against each other. "I'm a nerd. I'm a nerdo. I don't fit in. I don't wanna fit in. Have you ever seen me not referencing pop culture in any conversation? That's weird."
Damn, I liked Pacific Rim: Uprising better, and that was a Hollywood-templated product. Joking aside, that's really how it felt watching this. Or imagine someone screaming in your face, their spit spraying, "I'M A NERD!!!!". Storywise - the story hidden under all the pop culture references - it's just your average adventure story, almost like any most simple game-you've-ever-played's plot. I guess it's only watchable because I haven't seen anything from the genre in a while. Anyway, I just really don't like CGI films all that much by default. The only thing I liked about it here was the dinosaur (I can't believe the Jurassic Park franchise are the only blockbuster films I can think of that have dinosaurs in them?!). Oh and this also features a teenaged male falling in love with a manic pixie dreamgirl (or whatever the "girl who plays video games" trope is) over knowing her through game walkthroughs and a really forgettable backstory. There's also a part involving The Shining which was unfortunately the most interesting part for me. Wasn't even that great, except the part where it involved that room. Haha.
I think why people liked about this was either because 1. They liked the book, 2. They go to the movies to genuinely just have a good time, or 3. They thought "I know what that is!" to every reference. Because this heavily depends on its semi-dystopian world (where the only culture that exists, exists from before 2018) and people knowing references.
Here's a few things I did/thought watching this:
- "I need someone to punch me in the face. Why did they make this?"
- "What the fuck ew"
- *someone says 'millenium falcon'* *shifts uncomfortably in seat*
- Oh shit I just remembered a scene involving Protagonist touching Love Interest's face and at that point I sighed really loudly because it made me nauseous
- "Oh hey it's Ben Mendehlson/Mark Rylance/Simon Pegg" (took my growing spite away for a few seconds each time they appeared in the first hour)
- "oh my GOD we GET it you're a NERD"
- i can't remember clearly but there was an extremely "but bro no homo" part that made me laugh
Update: my friend posted his review on instagram saying "great movie especially if you're a gamer" which made me groan because we GET it your gamer lives are super exclusive and no one else will understand the beauty of this film if they've never played an Atari! I honestly didn't expect I'd be this pissed at this movie