When I first stumbled across the announcement for this movie, I was super excited.
I mean, if there’s ever been a movie that seems to be tailored for me, this has got to be it, right?!
That said, by the time I got to the end of it – frankly, I was kind of bored and disappointed…
I mean, I like Neil Patrick Harris just as much as the rest of us, but the entire story is a flashback-style didn’t sit great with me off the bat. It took a while before I made the connection that it was basically a geeky remake of A Christmas Story, though I didn’t think it focused quite enough on the actual video games to pull it off.
There were some nuances that just bugged me, like the Power Glove being included even though it didn’t come out until later, and in the trailer there’s a scene where a janitor is describing a Black Friday stampede seemingly for the NES … only to find that in the movie, there’s a different logo on the wall because he’s actually talking about a stampede for Cabbage Patch Kids instead!
I know that they do that in movie trailers from time to time in an attempt to maintain surprises – in Avengers: Endgame, the part in the trailer where Captain America is arm wrestling Thanos shows only a couple of Infinity Stones in the gauntlet, whereas in reality that was at the end of the movie and he had collected all of them except for the Mind Stone.
I get it, but I don’t really like it.
As for the disappointment at the end – *** SPOILER ALERT *** I was really cheesed that we didn’t even get a big moment with him unwrapping an NES and going crazy on Christmas morning because it felt like the whole movie had been building to that, only to decide at the 11th hour that they wanted to end on a completely different kind of movie. Again, thinking that video games were the focus of the movie, it was a disappointment to instead have a story about a kid who played video games but also did a bunch of other stuff.
I think that trying to make a new Christmas movie in particular is a challenge because so much of what we love about the classics is nostalgic … just like those games themselves, a lot of them aren’t really very good movies these days, yet they transport us back to a simpler time when we were kids and that’s half the reason why we get such a kick out of revisiting them year after year after year.
So I guess it’s tough for a movie that’s made for my generation to really hit when they don’t fully commit to the concept, whether they set out to make a video game movie and just slipped on the proverbial icy patch along the way or if the Nintendo was really just a prop in an otherwise father and son tale all along.
I think they could’ve done the NES a lot better than this.