when video games cost a quarter and required players to stand on their own two
feet? Evidently, there is at least one coin-operated video arcade still
chugging along in Oklahoma City. Of course, as the genre film tradition
demands, it is not just an arcade. It is also a portal to a fantasy dimension
that a pizza deliverywoman will unwittingly open with her high score. Yes, everything
is old school about Kyle Roberts’ short film Heroes of the Realm (trailer here), a recent
selection of this year’s Comic Con International Independent Film Festival, which
screens during the upcoming 2016 FLY Film Festival.
Vickors has just been dumped via text (that’s very 2010’s), so she blows off
steam 1980s style after making her regular pizza delivery to the neighborhood
video arcade. When she sets the high score, the machine opens up, offering her
a glowing golden bracelet. That’s all very nice, until Thorak, the big warrior
lug, comes looking for her and the bracelet to help him stop an invasion of
evil from his plane of existence.
Realm was shot as part
of a 48-Hours Film Project, so the special effects are bound to be quick and
dirty. However, there is something nostalgically appealing about it, bringing
to mind the short-lived, hazily-remembered eighties fantasy spoof Wizards and Warriors. To her credit,
Kate Le makes a terrific action lead as Vickors. The entire game cast handles
the lunacy quite well, particularly Alissa Ford, who gets the best lines as
Vickors’ roommate Gina. Stephen Goodman also looks the part and is quite the
good sport as Thorak. Granted, the film’s humor could definitely be described
as broad, but that makes it much harder to land.
If you remember pizza and video games as being a
nice treat back in the Reagan years, Realm
will be massively nostalgic. You could say it is like the fantasy version
of The Last Starfighter, which is
obviously cool (and the one-sheet art is awesome). The film just gives off good
vibes. Highly recommended for those who will get its retro appeal, Heroes of the Realm screens twice this
Saturday (8/6) as part of the FLY Film Festival in Enid, Oklahoma.
Labels: Fantasy cinema, FLY '16, Short Films