Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

This is an... interesting movie. Made by independent filmmakers Dead Gentlemen Productions, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is apparently a spiritual sequel to The Gamers, which is a movie I’ve never seen, though I wish I had. The plot follows a group of role-players as they try and finish a campaign. The problem is that the GM is an aspiring writer who’s the type that insists that the players actually role-play and often railroads them into where they need to go. Conversely, the players are a bunch of munchkins who don’t care so much about the story. They just wanna kill stuff and loot the corpses. More tension is added as the ex-girlfriend of one of the players joins the group. This is her first time role-playing, and she actually does want to role-play. Hilarity, as they say, ensues.

And that’s about it. Really, there’s not much more to the story. The focus is really on the relationship between the group members, even though half of the movie takes place inside the game, it’s as much (if not more) of a catalyst for getting the group to interact with each other than it is a self-contained story of its own.
While the characters are mostly interesting, and their interactions inside the campaign are usually pretty funny, the movie just isn’t that great. It’s not that bad either, it’s just that despite good acting and constant and consistently funny jokes, this movie is only mediocre. Generally speaking it’s just… well… forgettable. When I first sat down to write this review, it had been about a month since I'd first seen the movie, and I had to go and read a synopsis because, while I could remember a couple scenes from the movie, I honestly had trouble remembering what in the world had happened. I mean, it is a funny movie, and it’s definitely a movie made by gamers, for gamers. There are all sorts of references and allusions to real life gamer stuff, and the movie is simply replete with gamer in-jokes. But that by itself really isn’t enough to carry a movie; it needs something more. The worst part is, I'm not even sure what that “more” could be. Usually when I watch a movie, even a movie I really like, I can see ways it could have been improved. Not so with Dorkness Rising. I wish I could tell what it's missing, but the movie appears to be complete, in the sense that anything I can think of would just bog the movie down more. It makes me wish I had seen the first Gamers movie so I could see if that one has anything that this new one doesn't, but that's a different review, I suppose.

Bottom line: This movie... It’s like… it’s one of those movies that comes really close to being a good movie, but it falls just short enough that you’re left unsatisfied. It’s not that there’s nothing good about the movie, there’s plenty of good stuff to mention. And it’s not that there’s much about the movie that sucks, because there really isn’t anything in the movie that sucks. It’s just… average. I don’t really know how else to explain it. In the end, I would say that it’s worth watching, if you’ve got the time for it and if there’s nothing better to watch that you haven’t already seen. Apparently the DVD is getting a new release soon with a bunch of new features, so this might be the right time to watch it. Assuming that you're into this sort of thing.

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