After spending many years on sub-par DVD releases and in basic limbo for a new release, “The Wizard” is given a much overdue Collector’s Edition that treats the cult classic the way it deserves. Is it a glorified Nintendo commercial? Sure! Is it a glorified ad for Universal Studios? Definitely! Is it fun? Oh god yes. “The Wizard” is a movie that might appeal to you more if you have nostalgia attached, granted, but on its own it’s a solid kids adventure film that’s also ahead of its time in the way it digs in to the video game tournaments and how much mental and physical prowess they demand.
In 1990, my brother and I watched 1989’s “The Wizard” about thirty times a day and loved the movie every single time we popped it in to the VCR. When I was seven, I dreamed of two things. I dreamed of entering a video game competition and playing Super Mario 3, and travelling around the country with the gorgeous Jenny Lewis. Mostly I wanted the second, but playing Super Mario 3 was also a great prospect. There’s no way to discuss “The Wizard” without seeing it through nostalgia tinted glasses, but while most people claim “The Wizard” is nothing but a ninety minute commercial for Nintendo, I wouldn’t so much call it a commercial so much as a mirror on the culture in the eighties. In the late eighties and most of the nineties, Nintendo simply dominated the world.
Sick of those films that have humongous battles, wars with mythological creatures, a leader of a mass army giving his legion of soldiers a large dramatic pep talk on the battlefield, fantasy stories about revenge, and wizards, all battling to fight an evil legion of soldiers whom want to take over the world? Well, stop. And watch at least one more. But this gigantic film’s hero is not a hobbit, or a knight of the round table, this hero is a–plumber. Seriously. Take your stigma for these films and put it on hold, and watch Larry Longstreth’s new hilarious short film that really puts a new meaning to the game wars.