DVD Review - Game Box 1.0
David & Scott Hillenbrand (dir) featuring Nate Richert, Danielle Fishel and Patrick Kilpatrick.
I had the pleasure to take a look at Game Box 1.0 this weekend. A friend of mine had been dying to see it based on a trailer found online. I have to admit, the premise is pretty cool. Professional video game tester receives mysterious package in the mail containing a helmet that inserts the wearer directly into a game world, where he must save a girl who looks like his dead girlfriend from a game-generated version of the man who killed her.
Fun, right? Well... almost. As a concept, this movie has some interesting ideas. But in the genre of "is it real/is it fantasy", it has less to do with films like eXistenZ or Videodrome (two movies that Game Box 1.0 directly references) than it does with WestWorld.
It's merely a matter of the little things that get in the way. Once the lead character enters the game world, some interesting effects attempt to simulate a Grand Theft Auto type of style. And while greenscreen is liberally employed here, the sheer lack of creativity in the construction of the shots and scenes ruins the potential for something more engrossing.
In fact, if I had to choose the worst part of this viewing experience, it would have to be that the lighting and the camera work are exceptionally amateur. Hair buzzes with mottled flashes when in the world of the game due to improper greenscreening, hot spots from lights glare distractingly from surfaces... it's a lot of that. There are also some moments where you're BEGGING the scene to change because you've been staring at the same two-shot for what seems like hours.
The real problem is that if you can look past the minor technical stuff and get to the meat of the story and the philosophy behind it, there just isn't much there. I'd address this more, but there's literally nothing else to address. It just isn't there. For a character driven dramatic premise, the characters are painfully underdeveloped and, ironically, are far more 2-dimensional than Lara Croft ever was.
All in all, I'd recommend Game Box 1.0 for one of those nights that you're feeling a little silly and you're looking for a distraction for an hour and a half. It's a no-brainer that will have you rolling your eyes and laughing in all the wrong places.
But it is a neat gimmick. I hope that 2.0 gets made, because I'd like to see more.