Day 53: Gamer (2009)


I expect this week to be awesome. Not only is my birthday fast approaching and the weather feels more like fall every day; but within the next day or two, I will be spending quality time in Vegas. I don’t mean Las Vegas (I was just there this past weekend)– but New Vegas. What I believe will be my favorite video game of the year (if prior games are any indication) releases tomorrow. Sweet, sweet, post-apocalyptic Fallout: New Vegas; we will have some quality time together soon. Yeah, I know, I really have enough to do with my free time as is with TV and Netflix; but trust me, I will make time for Fallout, I always do. In honor of this much anticipated release, I decided to stick with the whole video game theme and watched Gamer (OK, folks, you should know by now that quality does not always win out in my queue selections).

 

Gamer takes place in the “not so distant future” where convicts are given the opportunity to participate in a real life video game, Slayers,  to earn their freedom. What’s the catch? (There is always a catch.) The gamers’ every action is controlled by players who pay for this experience, and they have to win multiple matches without being killed. Kable (Gerard Butler) is close to being released because he kicks butt in the game (also thanks to his controller, Simon). Kable really, really wants to be released– he has a wife and daughter on the outside, and, of course, he was wrongfully convicted (aren’t they always?). With the help of a human rights group (led by Ludacris); Kable escapes, tries to reunite with his family, and attempts to take revenge on the creator of the game, Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall). You are sharp, so I will let you guess what happens.

 

I was actually very excited to see that this movie finally made its way to watch instantly. I love video games– to play them, to study them, to analyze them– and I thought this film would fit perfectly with my interests. For the most part, Gamer had a lot of potential. I liked what they were trying to do with the film. It made some cool connections between media and society. In Gamer, there is also another game available to the public, Society. Essentially, this is the Sims—only instead of controlling animated figures, players pay to control real people (and conversely, people are paid to be controlled). Both Society and Slayer comment on contemporary video games (and how they are played). While I wish it would have examined this topic a little less superficially, I found this fairly interesting.

 

However, I didn’t like the way the film was directed. It was very distracting, shaky, and just odd in certain places. Yeah, maybe they were trying to get a video game feel, but the point of the film is that this game takes place in real life. It just doesn’t work for me, and actually made me a little grouchy while I was watching it.

 

I actually believe this film to be more informative than entertaining. Think of it as a “how-to” in case you find yourself in a real life video game controlled by a rich kid, all the while trying to escape because you were (dun dun DUN) wrongly convicted. Here are the highlights (I bet you won’t find these in The Worst Case Scenario Handbook).

  1. Be wary of grenades. When they explode, they will make you do acrobatics. This tends to be in the form of a back flip followed by a double twist. However, you will probably not stick your landing.

  2. Need gas to start a car? No problem. Slam a bottle of vodka, stumble your way through a battleground to a truck that takes ethanol, and remove the gas cap. Then (here is where it gets a little classy), puke your guts out into the gas tank. It probably wouldn’t hurt to take a leak in the tank after you barf. Women will find this task more difficult.

  3. If you are worried you won’t be able to tell if there is a computer virus in the game, relax. In the future, viruses will always be identified by static interference, a shaky picture, and repeating audio. Got it? Static, shaky, repeat. The new stop, drop, and roll.

  4. The best way to intimidate your opponent is to sing a song from Pinocchio. I don’t know why it works, but it does.

  5. Finally, and most important, before the final showdown, it is typical to perform a choreographed dance number. Yes, I know, most people learned this by watching Spiderman 3, but it never hurts to refresh your memory. These final showdowns are elaborate affairs and you don’t want to be embarrassed because you don’t know the dancing protocol.

Feel free to print out this list and put it in your purse/wallet for future reference.

 

Happy viewing!!! 🙂

 

Score: C-

Netflix Queue: 465

Watch Instantly Queue: 202 (Yay! Once again I am able to remove a movie from both queues! Huzzah!)


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