This review starts with a little story.
I was at my friend’s house for a movie night, and I’d brought over a huge stock of the movies I owned so that we could find something everyone wanted to watch. Now, I’m rather proud of my movie taste, and was CERTAIN my collection would have something that everyone could enjoy. Then some girl I don’t know, who didn’t even bother to introduce herself, comes in with a DVD of “Unicorn City” and just dictates that we’re just going to watch this movie. Didn’t really ask anyone if a movie about LARPing (Live Action Role Play) sounded okay. Just threw the DVD in. So, I’m irritated and slightly offended. Already not in the mindset to really give this movie a chance, but at this point my only options are to be rude, myself, and leave, or pout, or sit down and see what it’s all about. So I sat back and watched, with a skeptical eye.
The DVD menu, however, piqued the interest of my inner nerd immediately. The background was an image of the coolest make-shift centaur I’ve ever seen!
(Not gonna lie. If I were white and could grow facial hair, I’d want to be him.)
But, I was still irritated and skeptical for about 5 minutes. But only for about 5 minutes. I’ll get to why after the plot.
Plot: Vos is a young man trying to get his life together while everything seems to be crumbling around him. Unemployment is catching up to him, his D&D guild is in distress, and even his love life is suffering. He goes into an interview for a video game company that asks him to come back with examples of how he
can lead a team of people. He then decides to use his Dungeons & Dragons hobby to prove his creativity and leadership skills. He records and documents the creation of his LARP world, Unicorn City, brought to life by him and his D&D friends, and leads them all on missions. His very shy neighbor, Marsha, does everything she can to help him, in hopes that Vos notices her. And all the while, his former D&D Dungeon Master (and nemesis), Shadowhawk, does everything he can to sabatoge Vos’ fun, and in turn, ruin his chances at getting a job.
*Warning – The trailer has spoilers*
Now, I will say, the only drawback I can think of is that this movie does have a fairly obvious storyline. But Bryan and Adrian Lefler managed to make the turning points interesting and not overly cliched. However I will say that some points were delightfully cheesy.
The best part of the movie was, by far, the humor. The humor was on point! After the first few scenes, and seeing how lively the characters are, how dorky the comedy is, and how well the relationships work together, you’re drawn into the story pretty quickly. I think it helped that I’m a nerd, myself, and can
appreciate all the little dorky things they do. But regardless, the lighthearted tone of the movie is set very quickly, so you know to buckle up and get ready for a fun show. All the humor in each scene was really tastefully done. I was, honestly, really surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
This film had really stellar casting. I was initially really skeptical, since there was no one I recognized…until Kevin Weisman came on screen. For those of you who’ve seen Clerks II, Kevin was the LotR nerd who throws up after Randall tells his version of the trilogy’s ending. His character was actually really fun in this movie too. But I digress, everyone’s performance was really on it. I thought the people they picked were perfect for the roles. They really brought these fun characters to life.
I really can’t emphasize enough how much I enjoyed it. It’s not the best movie ever written, it’s not my favorite of all time, but it’s one of those underrated, solid, fun movies. I initially expected this to be a boring, talentless trainwreck, but was incredibly surprised at how enjoyable it was, how well cast it was, how well written it actually was, and how much life it had. Don’t let the name and topic fool you. I highly recommend it to anyone with an open mind, and especially gamers or nerds who actually better understand that culture.
I give it a 4/5