The Wizard - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Wizard Reviews

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June 16, 2014
the only thing is good about it...the friggin' games!
June 15, 2014
A cleverly disguised Nintendo commercial.
June 4, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
April 6, 2014
This is just a commercial movie!
March 8, 2014
FRED SAVAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"i love the power glove, it's so...bad"
½ February 18, 2014
I like this movie despite alot of errors.
February 16, 2014
This movie never fails to make me smile. It's an homage to the 80s in all ways possible. Some of the parts are cheesy and over-acted, but that's okay. I still love watching it for the adventure factor and the adrenaline rush. :)
February 15, 2014
When I first saw this movie, I was unaware that Luke Edwards' character was autistic. I know that he loves video games, but I had no idea he had this condition. Now, I'm thinking about getting my own copy for myself to keep. This was back during the Nintendo craze back in the day. Now that I think about it, it IS almost like a Rain Man for gamers and kids alike.
February 15, 2014
When I first saw this movie, I was unaware that Luke Edwards' character was autistic. I know that he loves video games, but I had no idea he had this condition. Now, I'm thinking about getting my own copy for myself to keep. This was back during the Nintendo craze back in the day. Now that I think about it, it IS almost like a Rain Man for gamers and kids alike.
½ November 30, 2013
This one will be a short review noting it's been a while since seeing this movie. Amateur film about 3 kids who take part in a NES championship is what I recall happening. The movie itself isn't very funny or adventurous, just dumb and one of the most 80s-esque movies to date. As much as I love video games myself, the Wizard was a bore-fest and not entertaining to the least.
August 13, 2013
"The Wizard" is a glorified commercial for Nintendo and for the Universal Studios that's got a couple of good moments but not nearly as many as it does unintentional laughs. The movie follows Corey (Fred Savage) who is accompanying his younger half-brother Jimmy (Luke Edwards) as they are running away together. Jimmy has suffered some severe off-screen trauma that's reduced him to a near vegetable. He constantly mumbles about California and is always running away from his mom and stepfather in an attempt to get to his destination. When the parents have had enough and decide to send Jimmy to a mental hospital, Corey breaks his brother out and the two go on the road. When Jimmy's parents hear the news, his step-father and mother hire a private detective named Putman (Will Seltzer) to track down her son. Meanwhile, Nick (the boys' older brother played by Christian Slater) and their father also go on the road after them. The things is, Putman makes almost all of his money by returning runaway kids to their parents so the adults end up competing against each other to get the leads while the kids. During their trek, Jimmy and Corey meet up with a girl named Haley, who comes up with a way for the three of them to make some money. Turns out that Jimmy has an uncanny talent for playing video games (he's some kind of ... wizard at it) so the three decide to go to California together where they will enter a competition that will earn them a grand prize of $50,000. The movie follows the kids as they run away and train for the competition, meeting all kinds of bullies and foes along the way and also follows the adults as they try to find the children and foil each other.

Despite the fact that the plot is difficult to quickly summarize, the plot is empty and kind of frustrating. The objective of the film is obviously show off the multiple Nintendo products throughout, but the movie isn't about the video games themselves or even the competition really. It's not like the two kids runaway to go to an actual video game competition, they're running away for a mysterious reason (Jimmy barely utters more than five sentences throughout so you never know why he's hell-bent on going to California) and just happen to bump into a character that later suggests they go to the competition that's coincidently in California. At least half of the movie is just spent on the road as Corey, Jimmy and later Haley get in all sorts of situations that in real life would be incredibly dangerous. They run away together, hitchhike on the highway, walk through long stretches of deserted road together with no money, gamble with strangers to get cash for food and overall just have no idea where they're really going. Several times throughout the brother or the trio bump into adults or teenagers that end up robbing them but they never think of calling for help or going back home because the plot demands they keep on going so they can get to the big conclusion. The movie is infamous for showing off the Power Glove when the protagonists encounter Lucas (Jackey Vinson) a rival video gamer and for its awesome reveal of Super Mario Brothers 3 but those play a very small part in the overall plot, which mainly focusses on a bunch of kids that are lucky to make it on the road without getting themselves killed.

All of the adults in the film are either one-dimensional villains or just idiotic beyond belief. The children get robbed not once, but twice by different groups of people and very few times are there any adults that actually offer them any help whatsoever. If the father really cared about getting his children back why is he competing against Putman, the character who is getting paid to retrieve Jimmy? Sure, you can kind of understand why Putman is not really co-operating with the father because his thinly developed character makes all of his livings from retrieving children but he goes overboard with his task. It gets to the point where the two competing adults are assaulting each other and destroying their vehicles in order to slow the other down. Can't they put aside their differences for a few days to get the children back? You could argue that there wouldn't be a plot without this conflict but that simply isn't true. There is a ton of sub plots in the film with the rivalry Corey and Jimmy have with Lucas, the video game tournament, the mystery of California, Haley's backstory and more. About the mom in the film. Sure, she doesn't go overboard and also try to go on a cross-country tour to look for her son so she seems like a more reasonable character but that's simply not true. If your kid was so traumatized that all he could mumble was "California" over and over, wouldn't you try and maybe go to California or look inside the lunchbox he is carrying around with him all the time? why is the big solution to send him off to a mental asylum when you know why your son is so traumatized? Although the reason for Jimmy's trauma is known by the members of his family, its not revealed in the plot until much later so I won't spoil it but it proves my point. The answers of course is because the plot demands so.

For everything that's bad in the movie there are quite a few bits that are sweet and as a bad movie that you can just make fun of with your group of friends, it gets to be a blast. Corey and Haley have some good moments together without going into a predictable overboard romance, and when the movie isn't being contrived, they have some good scenes together with Jimmy. The real entertainment comes from when the movie is just over-the-top. Nearly all of the characters are cardboard cutouts and they're easy targets for jokes. The movie stops just short of making the antagonists devil worshippers out to deliberately ruin the children's lives. Without giving anything away you won't believe the people the trio encounter, they might as well be stealing candy from a baby they're so bad. Another character worth noting is Putman. In any other movie a character who specializes in tracking down runaways would be the hero but here, he's the biggest jerk of them all. He goes out of his way to act creepy, sabotages other people's efforts to find the children and basically tells the audience he's a bad guy when he admits he just cares about the money. Lucas is overplayed as the best, most awesome guy ever in a mix of a genuine rival, a slimy cheater and a teenage heartthrob. Every time he showed up on the screen people were making fun of his cronies, the fact that everyone was calling him awesome and the obvious fact that the director wanted to make him into a villain you don't want to like but do because he's so hot. This is going to sound awful, but Jimmy is also particularly hilarious in his zombie-like performance. The kid can barely utter a complete sentence, cannot function in a normal society but is an expert at playing video games. His character feels like a meaty role that was cut down to size when the director realized the kid couldn't act. Taken out of context, the scenes with the young boy would make you think he's from a ridiculous public service announcement that's denouncing the effects of Nintendo on young children and a scene where he is so excited that he screams "Fornia! California!" made me laugh out loud.

It's a lame children's movie that won't satisfy fans of the Nintendo brand except in an ironic way. The characters are taken out of a 6-minute cartoon, the product placement is so exaggerated it becomes funny and the fact that the movie is directionless for such a long time makes you wonder what the writer was thinking. As a film that's "so bad it's good though", what a gem. You've heard the quotable lines from this movie ("I love the power glove... it's so bad") and you've seen the ridiculous, iconic scenes parodied and referenced all over the place. The final competition where Jimmy, Lucas and a character that's introduced at the very end of the plot just so they can have three contestants barely makes any sense but has so much production thrown at the screen and so much energy that it works as a great climax that will have you cheering out loud and laughing hard. It's a video game movie that feels like it was written by people more concerned about selling products and fulfilling their contractual obligations than making a good film for children or about video games. It's a big disaster, but the kind of disaster that earns itself a cult status. (Dvd, August 9, 2013)
July 28, 2013
I can't believe all the negative reviews, this is one of my favorite films or maybe just nostalgia? Either way I love this movie!
½ July 16, 2013
Bad acting, but it's actually hysterically bad-funny. I'll never forget the Power Glove scene.
½ July 11, 2013
A 100 minute Nintendo guilt trip... and yet, It's entertaining.
June 28, 2013
June 14, 2013
This movie was one of my favs growing up, right after monster squad
June 14, 2013
April 27, 2013
I admit, I am a really big fan of Nintendo and their Mario franchise, but this movie, though I like the tips it gave on Super Mario Bros. 3, seems that it is not the kind I would like. It's not.
April 23, 2013
I love this movie. I love how it's an obvious marketing ploy from Nintendo, and yet it seems to have been made by people who know about as much about video games as I know about giving birth to an ostrich. I love that every one of Christian Slater's lines in this movie is an anti-joke. I love that kids talk like film noir detectives. I love that it seems to take place in a strange parallel world where the adults act like kids, and the kids act like adults, but their roles in life remain the same. I love that the director's vision of middle-class Americans amounts to them driving around with a tree in their truck for no god damn reason. I love how it truly captures some of those painfully, uncomfortably, s***y moments in life with remarkable success, even though there's no god damn reason why any movie would ever want to do that. I love how aggressively abrupt the romance starts, and how aggressively abrupt it stops. I love how Fred Savage's performance seems like Frank Sinatra by way of Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I love how needlessly convoluted the family tree of the lead characters is. I love how the competition announcer near the end acts like Jim Carrey if he were a Russian pedophile. I love how over-explained, overthought, and over-foreshadowed the surprise ending is, even though it is startlingly anticlimactic and has nothing to do with the rest of the movie.
Now I know what you're thinking, you're thinking "well golly jeepers Michael, this film seems like it's no darn good at all!" And you would be correct my 1950s sitcom friend! It is not! And herein lies the reason why I love it so much.
This is not a good movie, no matter which way you look at it. It's cheap, it's exploitative, it's bizarrely paced, and a good portion of it just doesn't make any godamn sense. But you know what? That's kind of what makes it so awesome. It so completely misses its target in such a spectacularly bizarre manner, that it almost begins to feel like the whole thing was intentional all along, like they actually meant to put all these weird ingredients together to make a movie so bad that it makes some sort of quantum leap into being good. What The Room is to dramas, what Troll 2 is to horror, what Rocky Horror Picture Show is to musicals, The Wizard is to family comedies. And that is pretty much the greatest thing that has ever happened in the history of ever.

On merits of quality, it gets a 3.5. On enjoyment though, it's a 5.
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