As I was considering what I wanted to talk about for todays Retro Tuesday I decided to talk about one of my favorite video game movies. When I was a wee lad I dreamed of competing in a video game tournament*. To be crowned the best in all the lands on Nintendo would have been one of the coolest things to happen to me. Video game companies like Nintendo understood this and released a few video game TV shows and movies to capture this, one such movie was The Wizard.

The Wizard was filmed in 1989 and stars Fred Savage, Christian Slater, Beau Bridges, Luke Edwards and Jenny Lewis. A bit of movie trivia, Jenny Lewis who played the love interest of Fred Savage in the Wizard grew up to front the indie rock band Rio Kiley. As a young lad, I rather enjoyed watching the kid from the wonder years in this film. The actors in the movie do a pretty good job and after watching it recently the film holds up for me still.

The film is a pretty large ad for Nintendo but it doesn't forget its characters or story and is essentially a road trip/family falls on hard times film. The premise is Corey's(Fred Savage) little brother Jimmy has a learning disability as well as a fascination with running away. He is put in a home and after Corey experiences one too many arguments between his Dad and Father he decides to run away to California with his brother Jimmy. After realizing Jimmy is a video game prodigy Corey and his brother meet Jenny. They realize Jimmy's talent and Jenny suggests he enter a video game tournament in California to win the reward money.

The movie contains ample scenes of coin-op & NES greats like Double Dragon, Rad Racer, Ninja Gaiden, Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man 2, The Adventures of Link and the world premiere of Super Mario Brothers 3. The game is essentially one large Nintendo commercial and focused on the final game of the tournament, Super Mario Brothers 3. Its odd because in the final game of Super Mario Brothers 3 Jimmy somehow figures out where a warp whistle is and warps way beyond the other players. That's not the only oddity in the film though. When I was a kid I noticed a scene where Christian Slater is playing his Nintendo and unplugs it from the TV in haste and misses collecting the cable connecting the NES to the TV. A few scenes later Christian Slater plugs the Nintendo into a new TV and magically has the cable. I guess its a case of the magical appearing Hollywood continuity cable.

The Wizard also features a scene where a rival video game player Lucas shows off the power glove. After watching this I totally wanted a power glove but I never could quite get my parents get us one. After finally getting my hands on a power glove later on in life it seems the power Lucas had was in his mind. The Power Glove isn't easy to use and doesn't help you play games any better. That said, it was a bit ahead of its time and Nintendo later refined it to the Wii remotes. But, its fun to put it on and say one of Lucas classic lines, "The power glove it makes me feel bad." Me too Lucas, every time I put it on!

I look at several video game movies as classic and The Wizard is one of those movies. Its not one of the greatest films of all time, but it is awesome. I found a YouTube link where you can watch The Wizard in its entirety as well as a few clips from the film:

Watch the whole movie on YouTube right now:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2mpHD7xjeg&feature=related

Lucas's Power Glove Makes him feel so bad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdNAlLLeeNM

The Wizard in 5 Seconds:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT6zfPC3sDk

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098663/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizard_%28film%29

* - I actually competed in a Capcom video game skirmish/tournament at my local mall as a kid. I played a few rounds of Ducktales, Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers and Talespin. I did fairly well but the winner of the even was some adult. He was sent to California for a larger tournament and thats all I knew about it. Makes sense that an adult would win a Nintendo game tournament as eSports now don't feature kids because they are not good enough to compete. All in all it made sense but in my childlike mind an adult beating me at a video game was a pretty unknown to me, most adults I knew didn't play video games.


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