legends might stand eternal, but no server last forever. When the one hosting
one of the earliest surviving fantasy MMO’s is finally decommissioned, it
causes great angst for two of the most dedicated players. A pair of snarky
documentary filmmakers intend to capture the resulting drama, but the story
evolves beyond their control in Metal Man’s Wizard’s
screened at the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival.
nothing could upstage Christopher Nolan receiving the inaugural Founder’s Award
at this year’s Slamdance, news that Jack Black plans to develop and executive
produce the American remake of Way was
still pretty big stuff. He could probably star as well, in nearly any of the
scruffy roles. Joe Stretch and Chris Killen (played by their namesakes) are
recent film school grads, who somehow received early notice of the impending
demise of Wizard’s Way. Recognizing a
good opportunity for cinematic exploitation, they seek out Julian “Windows”
Andrews, a stockroom prole by day, who is the undisputed top gun amongst Wizard’s
Way’s dwindling ranks.
his schlubby roommate Barry Tubbulb explains, Windows is the only player to get
married “in-game” to Elin, whom he has never met outside of Wizard’s Way. When
the plug gets pulled, Windows is understandably distraught, because he has lost
his “wife” along with his life’s passion. Somehow Stretch convinces the gamers
to stick with their film, but he has some rather cruel manipulations scripted
out for the lads. However, Andrews and Tubbulb might not be as dumb and
pathetic as the would-be-documentarians think.
Wizard is exactly what Zero Charisma should have been, but wasn’t. There is no question in the culture war
between geeks and hipsters, Metal Man, a.k.a. co-writers Socrates Adams-Florou,
Chris Killen & Joe Stretch, line up solidly behind the geeks. Their
sympathy for Tubbulb and Andrews is genuine and the eventual comeuppance is
Tubbulb, Adams-Florou lets loose with a fair amount of shtick, but Kristian
Scott is surprisingly grounded (and rather reserved) as Windows. While Killen largely avoids the spotlight
(which is definitely an issue for his character), Stretch’s slow, creepy
evolution into outright villain is frankly quite impressive. This is obviously
a zero budget affair, but everyone in front of the camera gamely holds up their
You do not often see movies at festivals that
tell documentary filmmakers to sod off, which is why Wizard is so refreshing.
Similar in tone to Electric Man,
David Barras’s affectionate ode to comic readers, Wizard defends geek culture in general, while gently encouraging the
addition of an offline component. It all
works quite well. Highly recommended for gamers and fans of eccentric British
comedies, the news-making Wizard’s Way should
have plenty of festival screenings in its future.
Labels: British Cinema, Slamdance '14, Video games movies