The NES, memories of your geeky childhood and Fred Savage deserved better than this.
A stupid young S. Cadet rated films positively based on the number of curse words, titties and video game cameos throughout run time. So when I found out about The Wizard I already knew it was on.
The Wizard caught me a generation ahead as the Super NES, my first console, set the groundwork for years of neckbeard fun. I nevertheless appreciated the film for what it did and desperately wanted a sequel. Then, for some reason, running the film back on HBO Go one night sounded like a good idea.
Let me just say, DAMN. Watching The Wizard years later is hardly worth it. It’s difficult to lambast The Wizard‘s plot as silly since it’s a kid’s film. The fun pass doesn’t allow red marks for poor writing, hammed-up deliveries throughout and flat-out wrong video game references. Plus he feature’s unabashedly 80’s score added an extra layer of comedy in hindsight.
I mean Fred Savage’s infamous “You got 30,000 on Double Dragon!” bit is still hilarious. Yet it’s gaffes like this that really make The Wizard fall flat. The movie’s tongue-in-cheek humor creates more cringes than cackles but, at the same time, it takes the viewer back to a easier time when a Game Over in Contra ended his/her world.
Perhaps being a geek contributes to side-eying The Wizard. Or maybe there’s no hope as The Wizard‘s a plain corny film? Kids of the ’80s ought to get a kick out of seeing clips of Ninja Gaiden, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and reminisce on the broken controllers left in their wake. Those nostalgic bits are wrapped in a cheesy presentation which makes the film really hard to revisit.
The Wizard serves as another example of poor game-based films. Old school gamers should find a a few unintentionally meme-worthy bits throughout. Everyone else probably sees it at face value as a 90 minute commercial for Super Mario Bros. 3.