Once, long ago (circa the year two thousand and ten), in a faraway land known as “Hollywood,” a film calleth Knights of Badassdom was born unto us all. But nay, dost thou wit what vile knave durst keepeth this greatness from yon public til now?
Well, it’s complicated. At San Diego Comic-Con 2011, screaming fans-to-be got to see a glimpse of KoB. And then hardly a word about it was heard until last year when there was a buyers’ screening in March. Fast forward to July when Entertainment One acquired its distribution rights, and fans started hearing that there would finally be a release. And that is about the shortest synopsis possible of a lot of mostly uninteresting drama.
Fast forward again to last month when Entertainment One announced there wouldn’t be a regular release, but instead a limited release through Tugg.com.
Tugg works by being the middleman between anyone at all and local theaters. When the opportunity was announced, I filled out Tugg’s brief request form, asking for a screening of Knights of Badassdom in my area. A week later, they contacted me having also made contact with a theater willing to host the screening. At that point, Tugg posts an event page where people can buy tickets. If a minimum threshold is met (set by the theater), the screening is a go.
Our local screening, like many others, sold out easily. Though many of the screenings were held Tuesday, others have not yet happened and tickets are still available.
It’s not the director’s cut, but it’s the movie, and sometimes you take what you get.
Is it worth it?
If you already knew all that and haven’t yet bought a ticket, then you probably are wondering whether those 85 minutes are worth your cash. I can answer that with a single-question quiz:
a) have you, or someone you love, ever played in a LARP?
b) have you ever played an RPG?
c) were you tortured by the Ye Olde Butchered Englishe in the first paragraph of this post?
If you answered a and—and this is critical—have a sense of humor about your beloved activity, then yes, you should absolutely see this movie. If you answered b, you are likely to enjoy it as well. If you answered c, it’s going to be a long 85 minutes. And if you’re not familiar with RPGs, much less the world of LARPing, you’re going to get a little fun out of Peter Dinklage and his swords, and then you’re going to spend the rest of it wondering if people actually do this and WTF is going on on that screen.
Is this going to be the greatest piece of cinema of the year, nominated for eight Academy Awards and inspiring children everywhere to stop bullying and love the LARP? Nope, not even a little bit. What you are getting is precisely what you expect from the trailer, so let me summarize:
Imagine Tyrion Lannister and Steve Zahn get Jason Stackhouse to pass out from a wicked bong/bourbon combo, drag him unwillingly into a LARP, and then accidentally summon an actual succubus, which they fight with River Tam and a Viking who doesn’t know how to break character. Throw in a George R. R. Martin body count, the fake blood budget of The Cabin in the Woods, a rubber monster suit similar to the effects quality of the Golgothan in Dogma, and a shiny glaze of metal (both weapons and music), and there you are.
If that’s not the funniest thing you’ve heard all day, then you should absolutely not see this movie. And we probably shouldn’t hang out.
Further, if you don’t have a sense of humor about your nerddom (and I fully expect to see some blog post somewhere to this effect), you’re going to rant about how it’s actually a movie about two people who didn’t want to be in the LARP, that they’re really making fun of LARPers, and that the pretty girl with “+3 ass of perfection” (Summer Glau) is only there because she came with a guy (who is her cousin, not her boyfriend), and something something stereotype something. Lighten up and go see something from a foreign film festival. This one’s not for you.
The alternate nerd rage option is something about how they’re just pandering to nerddom. To which I say, pander away! Amuse me in ways I like to be entertained! Those of you who object can go watch another generic movie about a handsome guy with a gun that you won’t be able to distinguish from all the other handsome-guy-with-gun movies in six months.
If you love the game Munchkin because of what it was designed as—playful humor about that one person in your game group who’s taking it all a little too seriously… If you’ve been in a LARP with that guy who seriously just refuses to break character even in the face of actual danger… If you want to see Peter Dinklage on shrooms swinging a pair of swords… Then. This. Movie. Is. Yours.
Yea, verily, get thee to a screening. And further, let’s hope that someday we might get a director’s cut.