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  • The addition of the "Sundance Kids" section at the Sundance Film Festival is a perfect opportunity to engage the next generation of film enthusiasts, and Juan Pablo Buscarini's family-friendly fantasy is the ideal accompaniment. The life of Ivan Drago (David Mazouz) is peculiar to say the least. While his father (Tom Cavanagh) sets his sights on hot air balloon adventures, Ivan dreams of creating board games like his aloof grandfather. After an accident leaves Ivan orphaned, the young inventor finds himself whisked away to a harsh boarding school only to escape and uncover the mystery behind the creator of a board game contest. Buscarini's adaptation is a wonderful mix of The Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter. The well-crafted set designs will reignite anyone's fascination for 1940s art deco. Mazouz shows his maturity as a child actor as he pits himself against veterans like Cavanagh and Joseph Fiennes. The creativity behind the characters' origins as well as their environment will appease viewers of any age. It's always a pleasure to have a film for children that refuses to underestimate the intelligence of its target audience. -Jimmy Martin
  • I loved the premise of this movie and it being about a child who loved games and loved to invent them while his father didn't like them. Also the challenges he went through to discover what really happened to his parents and what the tattoo that is on his wrist means. However, I feel this film did drag on and I felt like it was a little too long and started boring me a little towards the ending.

    Decent film however
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Here is a modern classic example of "realismo magico" - magic realism, a literary style which was born in Latin American literature- a style in which fantastical elements are blended into real life. The key difference between magic realism and just a fantasy film for kids are the dream-like elements that are based in emotion which you will see in this film as well. For example, the sinking school// feelings of reality sinking in... or a tattoo that won't wash off// feelings of accepting who you really are, etc. In this really beautiful film, you see Ivan's world change from ordinary to extraordinary, and even when there are moments which are scary, no-one dies or gets hurt. It has a happy ending, with a deep reflection on life intertwined. I would highly recommend this film for anyone studying literature, but also for kids- It's very nicely put together, full of adventure and optimism (things kids really need to see). 8/10.
  • refolded3 January 2017
    The Games Maker is beautiful--the filming, sets and costumes. It's the story of a boy who is growing to be a game inventor. He unravels the secrets of his family's past, and discovers what outside forces are trying to influence his life.

    You might enjoy it if you like these movies: It's like Harry Potter's coming-of-age story of a talented kid challenged at home and at school. The narrator and strange, funny faces reminded me of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The brave kid and unique companions are sort of like Wes Anderson films, and like the pacing and visuals of Moonrise Kingdom.

    Other reviews commented on how complicated the story is, and that is the downside. The strings could have been tied up better. The characters he meets seem to be tokens of ideas, but these are not obviously tied into the theme that his life is a game. Knight and Bishop are named after game pieces, but why? The movie could be improved by clearly showing how each step was like a game,and by speeding up the scenes. His life story was mostly like the board game,Candy Land, a colorful path to the end.

    I enjoyed this movie, and would recommend it to fans of the movies mentioned above, although it is one level below in quality.
  • Go into this with a clear head. One of those rare, perfect movie experiences that only works when what you're watching is a complete surprise. Reverse Flash (JD's brother) continues to drop killer surprise acting bombs, low budget directors can learn from how this film flashes through plot points and action without breaking the bank, and best of all, BATMAN. Best young actor alive in his craft, because you don't see Batman in this. You see Ivan Drago. Creepiest out-of-left-field villain of all time, that actor should be on Game of Thrones. More exposition takes place in a single shot in this movie than I've ever seen done on screen. I gave this a shot because David Mazouz, and wow. Just wow. Just watch. Then go watch Gotham and that one episode of the Office and then Gotham again. BECAUSE I'M BATMAN.