Sunday, October 18, 2020

Death of Nintendo - 2020 LAAPFF Movie Review

The Movie: Death of Nintendo

The Director: Raya Martin

The Cast: Noel Comia Jr., Agot Isidro, Moi Marcampo, John Vincent Servilla, Mailes Kanapi, Nikki Valdez, Elijah Alejo, Kim Chloe Oquendo

The Story: In the early 1990s, a teenager and his gang of friends enjoy their summer playing games as they grow up.

The Review:
This movie focuses on the daily lives of a group of teenagers as they navigate friendship, hormones, bullying, video games, and the possibility of sex. The tone is very lighthearted and whimsical even as the events play out on an island in the Philippines that has an active volcano that could erupt at any time. No, this isn't an epic disaster movie featuring big special effects and heroic deeds, the volcano thing is just a mild and random disruption.

The main thing to enjoy about the story is how the kids interact and plan and scheme and come up with crazy ideas about life that only adolescent minds could come up with. For example, the group of boys are convinced that getting circumcised is going to make their junk bigger which will lead them to being able to finally enjoy the pleasures of a female's company, so to speak. This adds a lot of comedy to the character's interactions but what really makes it interesting is how strongly they believe in this and take steps to actually carry out their plan.

There's also some interesting dynamics between each of the kids and their respective moms, each coming from a different set of life circumstances, career choices, and financial standing. Director Raya Martin does dig into topics like class, politics, poverty, and other social issues although she seems to be very aware of when to have them show up and when to back away and let the story be about the kids. There's a lot going on in the Philippines and there are a lot of movies that dig deep into all those types of issues so it was interesting to see a story that isn't meant to showcase them but still makes sure the audience understands they are part of life for these people.

The story is set in the 90's so there is a ton of nostalgia at play, hence the title, and right from the very beginning, the film makers show off the styles and fashions and music of the time period. Snow's classic pop song Informer is one of the first things we hear right at the very beginning and hearing that told me what this movie was going to be. It was fun watching the kids play 90's era Nintendo games with wired controllers and no online capabilities. Oh, the good old days of gaming.

The Verdict:
Death of Nintendo is a light hearted comedy that has a lot to say and knows just how to say it. If you combine American Pie with elements of The Goonies and then set it in the Philippines during the 1990's, that's pretty much what this movie is.

To see more reviews, interviews, and festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at LAAPFF 2020.

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