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Press Start tells the story of a suburban youth in a videogame world who discovers his destiny when he's recruited by an ill-tempered ninja and a tough-as-nails space soldier to save the world from an insecure evil sorcerer.
With special appearances by game actors Daniel and Carlos Pesina (Mortal Kombat) and music by videogame composer Jake Kaufman (Contra 4), there's never been anything like Press Start!
SPECIAL FEATURES: 3 Audio Commentary Tracks, Making-Of Featurette, Trailer, Selected "Press Start: Bonus Levels" web cartoons, all 3 "Dial V for Vile" shorts, Japanese Dolls Commercial
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Top customer reviews
Let's get one thing very clear from the off - this is a low budget movie. Not Hollywood low-budget (With only $20,000), but a near-enough $0 budget. With their pittance of cash, the crew have attempted to go above and beyond to create as professional and as fun a movie as possible - hoping to break away from the "webcam-comedy" stylings of the internet.
The success of these things, however, depend upon the talent of those most prominently featured in the title (As well as those of the cinematographer, director, editor etc) - anyone who's fingerprints are written across the entire movie (See Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns - badly dubbed Spanish actors didn't ruin phenomenal performances from the trilogy's leads). These are things that someone can develop or learn, or sometimes things people have a natural gift in (Acting, directing, camerawork). Unfortunately it is this very element that makes the film falter.
The script itself is fairly strong, with many small references (A few scenes feature a few too many references squeezed into as few sentences as possible - pace of references needs work there) and cleverly parodies several elements of video gaming, mostly from the early 90s. These include several instances of quick-wit, visually aided jokes or just remembering all the questions you raised in frustration whenever the game wasn't playing in your favour. The delivery, however, needs a lot of work.
You'll be following three characters around the entire film, and unfortunately the delivery on almost all of their lines is a missed opportunity. The Scorpion-alike should really work on quick-witted delivery (See Groucho Marx), and the voice actor (Who was different to the physical actor) needs to practice delivering a variety of emotions when putting on what is clearly a forced voice. The dangers of forced vocals can be the lack of variation in emotional pitch and range, cheating the performance out of clear intent and meaning (As well as comedy in this case) from the script. The Samus-alike really needs more variation of vocal performance despite not putting on a voice, and the Ken-alike lead character seems to spend most of the film just lazily going through the motions - despite a more impressive performance picking up towards the end of the movie (Emotions this guy can do, but seems to need to be pushed).
Many of these aspects are jointly the fault of the director - someone who is supposed to be watching a scene unfold and retake shots when the acting/visual/audio quality is below par. It appears the director in this case did little else but sit and watch, clearly not having much knowledge of what he wanted to achieve from scene-to-scene. Movies like Rob Roy are amazing in the fact that each scene has a purpose, a meaning and something to say and this is explored within that scene completely while still influencing the direction of the overall movie. Despite being a comedy, the acting and direction are still too sloppy to truly get an idea of what the director was trying to do or say.
For me the director was one of the movies key stumbling blocks. A more experienced/skilled director would have been able to spot camera issues (Of which there are plenty - another reason why you always should have an actual cameraman, not the director, in charge of camerawork), lacking intent and emotion in visually and in the ADR (Dubbed Audio) department, and may have managed to get Press Start closer to being a high-quality video game movie that online-critics boast it to be. However the movie was let down heavily by one final lacking volunteer - the editor. This easily runs 25 minutes too long, as much as I tried to slog it through (And found it amusing in the process) after an hour and a half, I'd had more than enough of the film. There wasn't enough storyline to carry through the length the film came out at. Why is this the editor's fault? Because over half an hour of time could have easily been shaved back via good editing - in fact it would have made the film much funnier and more watchable too. The editor clearly has no idea how to cut together a comedy film, it needs to be fast and it needs to be sharp. Unless a scene requires a moment of pause (Sometimes used for comedy effect, though wasn't employed in this movie) then there isn't time for a scene to stay stationary. It needs to begin a little faster than it does here and ramp up the pace as the stakes get higher. The editor allows shots to continue for about 1-2 seconds too long at a time. Considering the amount of shots there are in this film, shaving those seconds would have cut out your 25 minute extension and made this a far superior package despite directing and acting flaws.
A fantastic effort, but lacking due to a lack of finesse. I may have mentioned higher-budget movies during this review, but the fact is the ideas to take from them cost nothing - they are lessons to be learned and adopted freely on these budding movie-makers. I get angry when people say this is the best video game movie ever, and that adding a bigger budget would have made it easily the best film in it's genre. That's simply not true. To make it far superior, you'd have to replace the director, the editor and most of the cast as they haven't developed the skills necessary to make a professional quality performance (However this can also be learnt freely, in time, by acting/directing in high-quality drama groups and gaining experience). The beginnings of something great are there, just nurture the basic talent and skill before you consider asking for budget. Maybe even re-shoot this.
Finally a small note for the man who plays the main villain. He is the finest actor in the piece and I personally enjoyed every scene he was involved in, his talents actually boosted the quality of acting by the rest of the cast in the scenes they all starred together in. The script, while needing a little work, was very funny and cleverly thought out. The music was fantastic, and deserves a mention for that reason alone.
I hope if the Press Start team do read this (Unlikely) that they will see that I do want to love their film, but I want to see them work on getting the basics of acting, directing and editing right - without basic talent a big budget will just make you the American equivalent of Uwe Boll. And we really don't need another Uwe Boll. Your passion is clear, your dedication unquestionable, just kick your own asses with some time on your focussed areas as mentioned and you CAN make one of the greatest video game movies of all time.
Press Start pays tribute to gaming hallmarks and traditions, while at the same time lovingly lampooning them.
All the actors do a great job, and Peter Davis steals the show as the nefarious Count Vile. The directing is well done in Glaser's hands and when you hear him tell you how he did so much with so little, you will simply be amazed.
There are two commentaries on the disk, and you'll want to watch them both. Each is entertaining and insightful. The Dial V for Vile extras are worth the pric of admission alone.
A sequel is in the works by Dark Maze Studios, so now is the perfect time to watch the flash series, pop the movie in your DVD player and get caught up.
First, it should be noted that the budget for this movie was probably some quarters and nickels the director found in his couch cushions. The costumes look like bad cosplay, and the special effects are nothing to write home about. The actors are also not exactly going to win any awards(although antagonist Peter Davis brings in a wonderfully comical villain).
However, what the movie lacks in looks, it MORE than makes up for with heart. You can tell that each and every actor wanted to be there and had fun being in this movie. Director Ed Glaser clearly put a lot of love into this project.
Buy this movie. Buy it now. You will love it.