Pure Pwnage: Teh Movie Review

This article was originally published at Another-Castle.com

Pure Pwnage: Teh Movie was originally revealed on the crowd funding platform indiegogo in September of 2012. After years in development it finally premiered earlier this year on January 23rd in Toronto. After a world tour of screenings the film was finally made available through Vimeo on May 7th.

Pure Pwnage originated as a web series mockumentary video parodying hardcore gamers. The original video that began it all mocked players of the RTS game Command & Conquer: Generals, particularly those inhabiting the forums at cncreplays.com (now gamereplays). I can attest from direct experience at the time that many players were very much like Jeremy; the show’s protagonist. The original appeal of the show was to those in this online community but the web show soon expanded to include all types of hardcore gamers, especially with the introduction of fps_doug. After two web seasons ending after the tragic death of cast member Troy Dixon and even a season on broadcast television, a movie was a logical next step.

To begin, the best thing about the movie is that it doesn’t just try to put the characters back where they were but brings them into modern competitive gaming. The film opens with Kyle (Geoff Lapaire) finding both lead characters Jeremy (Jarett Cale) and Doug (Joel Gardiner) living together in a sham marriage and not playing video games at all. Jeremy takes pills to maintain concentration and instead of playing video games they have unconsciously gamified their whole life around acquiring consumer products. They’re also both working and even have girlfriends. Kyle wants to make a movie but Jeremy isn’t interested. With help from Doug who is noticeably unhappy with his gameless life, they replace Jeremy’s pills for caffeine and he’s soon back to his old ways.

Even for viewers with no knowledge of the original series, this was a great way to begin and makes sense with the lapse of time. Jeremy and Doug are soon looking to get back into competitive gaming and with League of Legends being a current competitive favourite they are soon involved with the fictional XOBO eSports event. Jeremy is challenged with not only getting his game back but also being able to work with a team and avoid constantly putting them down.

New characters are introduced and there are even appearances by Jeremy’s old love interest Anastasia (Miranda Plant) and their friend Dave (Dave Lee). Emma (Gwenlyn Cumyn) is the most developed of the new characters but the other new characters don’t do so well mostly because they aren’t who most viewers are looking to see. Emma is a send-up of the “gurl gamer” and even has a doting fedora-wearing friend who is unknowingly and forever trapped in the friend-zone. These cast members are then more caricatures than characters in their own right but this works well for the purposes of the film.

Pure Pwnage starts off very well and remains engaging and entertaining until the end. Unfortunately the second half of the film isn’t quite as well done the first. This is mainly related to the late introduction of an antagonist and some complications being solved almost as soon as they happen. The ending is also satisfying but quite typical of movies based around competitive sports. Still, it remains largely true to the web series stylistically and given the much longer run-time this is impressive. If you weren’t into the series then this probably won’t appeal but fans of the series will certainly enjoy it. If this is truly the last of Pure Pwnage then it is a worthy send-off.

It is available to view on Vimeo here.

September, 2016

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