When I first saw the trailer for Pure Pwnage Teh Movie, I was nervous. Having grown up with the web series and later watched the Canadian TV show I was worried not that the movie would be unfaithful to the spirit of the original works, but rather that the original show was now outdated.
For those unfamiliar with Pure Pwnage, it was a webseries launched in 2004 (pre-Youtube) about a “pro gamer” named Jeremy (Jarrett Cale) filmed in a documentary style by his brother and total noob Kyle (Geoff Lapaire). Most of the humor was tied to gaming culture at the time and some of it wasn’t what we would now consider politically correct. I was afraid that the movie continuation of the series I had fond affections for would appear crass and outdated, much like the 2011 release of Duke Nukem Forever. Thankfully, I was wrong.
The movie picks up a few years after the web series (the less well received TV series is now non-cannon) with Jeremy and his best friend FPS Doug (Joel Gardiner). I won’t spoil the details of their current situation, but suffice to say that the film manages to stay true to the characters while completely subverting your expectations of them. Jeremy and Doug decide to enter a tournament to win money and now have to learn League of Legends, the current hottest multiplayer game. To their dismay, LoL is a team sport meaning they have to learn to interact with other human beings which doesn’t come naturally to Jeremy. The film follows them as they form a team, train, and compete in the tournament.
The best part of the film is just how effortless it seems. The actors know the characters so well that they always feel believable, despite the silliness of their antics. As they progress, we get various callbacks to the webseries and, dare I say it, even character growth. BBC film critic Mark Kermode has a “6 laugh rule” for comedies. The idea is that if a comedy can make you laugh at least 6 times, it is worth your attention. While watching Pure Pwnage Teh Movie, I probably passed 6 laughs within the first 5 minutes. The film actually plays on the outdated nature of the original series and mines the differences between gaming in 2004 and gaming in 2015 for an endless supply of jokes. That being said, there are some major caveats. In order to fully enjoy the film you need to have seen the web series and be at least somewhat familiar with video games. But if you meet that criteria, you’ll spend the 90 minutes with a huge grin on your face and leave with a sudden desire to run with a knife or spank your monitor. GG guys, GG.