I was never that much of a Nintendo kid growing up. I went from the Sega Genesis to the Playstation, then the PS2, before recently landing on the Xbox. I was never that accustomed to the world of Double Dragon, however I’d like to think that I was the bomb at Contra. And the only video game movie I can recall seeing when I was growing up was a film called Joysticks, which was a crude version of Animal House and Hardbodies, with Pac Man, Galaga and the like.
The Wiz…rd tells the story of Jimmy (Luke Edwards, who later went on to appear in Little Big League), a withdrawn youngster who frequently runs away until his father Sam (Beau Bridges, The Fabulous Baker Boys) decides to have him institutionalized. Jimmy’s brother Corey (Fred Savage, Vice Versa) decides to free Jimmy, so Sam and his other son Nick (Christian Slater, Heathers) decide to head out to find him. And from there, the wacky hijinks commence.
The funny thing about the film is that sooner or later, everybody, and I mean everybody, finds themselves playing and entranced by the lure of the Super NES. One has to wonder that for every scene of someone playing the Super NES, if that was substituted by someone watching porn or smoking a cigarette, if it would be as innocuous as it is. Oh, back to the film, Jimmy apparently is good at video games, hence a nickname of “The Wizard”, which he doesn’t seem to care about all that much. The Wizard and Corey decide to go to Reno (where you can make the biggest little mistake of your life, like appear in a long film with lots of Super NES shots in it), where a tournament is being held to determine a champion of all time or something.
Does Jimmy, sorry, “The Wizard”, win? Well look at the cover, for God’s sake, he’s on the shoulders of Corey and a friend, with his arms in the air. Everything’s a foregone conclusion. The only thing left for him to do was to collect his medal for finishing the race, put his helmet back on, and get put in restraints back to the hospital. But not without playing Nintendo first.
Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, like you were expecting anything else. When buzzers buzz, buttons are pressed, and other artificial noises do what they’re supposed to do, most of it occurs up front. There are a couple surround effects, like passing cars, but they’re few and far between. But it’s not like this was crying for some sort of remastering effort.
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the film is represented accurately enough. I don’t know whether this is a good or a bad thing, but the film grain is pretty visible throughout. No picture issues, no muss, no fuss.
Game over cochese, nothing at all.
Very few things show their date and age unless they devote all of their time and energy to a particular fad. Unless there’s a wacky wall walker documentary, or a piece on the mood t-shirt or the hair crimper, The Wizard is about as limited in scope as you’re going to get. Even for a nostalgic movie, I wouldn’t recommend seeing it.