21 April 2011 | ShadowGal
Charming and fun--and a little bit geeky!
I think there are two target audiences for this movie: kids, and anyone who's a bit of a fantasy geek. This movie succeeds in catering to those two groups, and quite well, in my opinion.
The acting in the movie is pretty good. It's not quite at the level of some children actors I saw growing up--the Sandlot for instance--but it's better than quite a few of the kids' shows I've seen on television. The plot is basic enough: kid is bullied for being a geek, kid finds out that 'fantasy' stuff is real, kid goes on adventure to beat the evil bad guys. It's also well-executed, and there are a few really good lines in the movie that had me chuckling.
On the down side... The troll in the movie sounds like someone trying (and just barely failing) to do an impersonation of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and that bothered me--but only a little. And the CG in the movie is... Well, it's not horrible. On its own, it's pretty good, especially for such a low-budget film. The "low-budget" part is obvious once you realize that the cg animations have to interact with real backgrounds/places/people, and then it's just... Not as appealing. Not a big issue though, really.
Here's the bottom line: If you're a childless adult who's never been into fantasy games, TCG's, etc., then this probably isn't for you. If you're a parent who doesn't mind watching a slightly cheesy movie with an 80's adventure feel to it, then you'll be okay with the movie--you probably won't love it, but you'll have had worse ways to spend an hour and a half with your kids. Kids will probably love this one--especially younger kids and tweens. Anyone who's fond of fantasy, gaming culture, trading card games, etc. will probably get a kick out of this charming film--a fair amount of the humor and references are aimed at people like us.