Good news, everyone. As I’ve implied in previous posts, I’ve begun to recover somewhat from my days as an incorrigible fanboy of the online video conglomerate Channel Awesome, formerly ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com, in accordance with the way they reportedly treat their employees, run their business, follow through on their fundraisers (in that they don’t) and stop hosting the content of whatever producer doesn’t answer a Skype call on time. I don’t so much blame Doug Walker, the man behind Nostalgia Critic and the poster child of the website for this, since he doesn’t run things as heavily as his brother Rob or Mike Michaud. Even so, my fanboyism has faded significantly. Thank God.
Because of this, I have held off looking at any of the so-called movies based on their Internet personas that the Channel Awesome producers have been putting out in recent years. I’ve heard good things about The Cinema Snob Movie, since Brad Jones‘ filmmaking truly resembles filmmaking as opposed to elongated YouTube videos in the vein of To Boldly Flee. Imagine then, if someone were to actually raise money for a legitimate feature-length film and miraculously come out with a product far worse than To Boldly Flee – which I still find excusable in its quality as it was made on a non-budget.
This is where the movie adaptation of Atop the Fourth Wall, the classic video series in which Linkara (Lewis Lovhaug) “reviews” bad comic books and fights copyrighted characters from all over nerd culture, comes in. In spite of raising more money for it than the aforementioned anniversary special or even The Angry Video Game Nerd Movie, Linkara’s product presents inferior camera work, far more embarrassing special effects, more top-cringe acting, more laughable sets, worse chroma key compositing, and just not too many things that separate it from a regular episode of the Internet show on which it is based. As it’s been noted in the past, the movie feels like a compilation of the unnecessary “story arc” moments from Lovhaug’s show, and the result is plain to see.
This is a film where the money very clearly isn’t on the screen and it feels equal parts questionable and lazy. So lazy, in fact, that I’m not going to write a review for it, but rather quote some of the best posts from Kiwi Farms (an old-ish den of hatred that I’ve only recently delved into) regarding it. User Von Clausevitz admits that he loves Brad Jones because “you can clearly see that he isn’t giving a single shit and has a blast”, but then he adds: “I am still not sure where all the money went; perhaps paying all those Ö-grade internet celebrities to make an appearance?”
A user named Ass Manager chimes in with: “I don’t follow Linkara and his crew enough to declare outright fraud, but criminal incompetence is on the table. How could someone with a background in video entertainment know nothing about the technical aspect of his job, especially with a budget of $50,000 plus? Many short films have been shot for a tiny fraction of that and look an order of magnitude better.” Jewelsmakerguy wisely asks if making videos every week counts as film production in the long run? I’m increasingly thankful I elected not to do any of my own research for this one.
A user called Marvin the Paranoid Android, who cares about this stuff a lot, was one of the first to comment: “I’ve seen short films made by middle schoolers with more general filming competence. He has ties with James Rolfe, right? Why didn’t he get that guy to help direct? James could’ve brought his professional equipment to film. He could’ve helped build sets properly. Why get a bunch of useless chucklefucks that can’t do anything but mug before the camera? The only useful reviewer in this movie is Nash, and that’s only because he’s leagues and bounds more educated at generally everything than Lewis is, up to and including to filmmaking, which is ironic because they could’ve used Nash’s DSLR camera and gotten a 1080p resolution, like a real movie.” Fun fact: this was back when only part 1 of the film was on YouTube. For later parts, they did in fact use Nash’s superior camera for a few random shots. And yes, movies come in parts now.
That’s a good summation, but I’ll do one more. Somari1996 says “I’ll give Lewis this, the movie’s at least better than Doug’s game show Pop Quiz Hot Shot, which had a bigger budget of $90,000 and is somehow much worse” while Asterisk makes a relevant observation: “I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Lewis pulled a Doug Walker and spent the money raised on unrelated bills; Channel Awesome’s never been open about money.” This, alas, is a different story for another time and I’m beginning to think that a 9 hour miniseries about the shady drama going on at Channel Awesome would make a better product than anything they’ve ever put out.
From this, I’m sure you can get a good idea of what this film is and how many notches above Birdemic and Who Killed Captain Alex? it truly is. Linkara teams up with various other CA/TGWTG reviewers, an evil threat from space approaches, Dr. Insano has an obligatory cameo (the fact that Allison Pregler would agree to be in anything with Noah Antwiler or even Walker again is pretty astounding, by the way; as is the fact that she’s currently doing a Brad Jones film with Walker in it), Linkara fights his cyborg double Mechakara, actors are shown in awkwardly static profile shots against .jpeg backgrounds as their voices reverberate, the cinematography throughout it all is lifeless and bereft of establishing shots, and several creatures appear that will make you miss Poiio the cardboard robot from the old show. I get the MST3K homage but even Tom Servo woulda chortled.
Incidentally, someone did cut together a compilation of all the story moments from Lovhaug’s AT4W series. As I skipped through it, it seemed a lot more entertaining and less aesthetically rotten than this. If you’re gonna watch this little movie of his, keep the Adblock on. I’m told Lovhaug doesn’t mind people who do that in the slightest; especially not with all the budget money it’s safe to assume he still has hidden somewhere.
I still do watch some of Channel Awesome’s stuff (for every myriad of semi-preachy editorial videos, there’s one Nostalgia Critic review like that of Pixels) but I like to think I do so the right way now that I know the way these human beings operate. That is, with Adblock Plus enabled, via archive.is, or when Phelous, Lupa and Snob release a deliciously snarky commentary track for it. Until then, maybe I’ll check out that JewWario film they completed for him in memoriam that starts with him getting shot by a Nazi. Hey, wait a minute…
NOTE: I know what you’re thinking, and you’re halfway right; I am indeed late to the party when it comes to discussing this movie. However, Jesus Bro is purportedly coming out very soon so feel free to see this as one of my “in anticipation” entries; sincere or otherwise.