Cartoon Network // 2011 // 69 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 21st, 2012
Serving as the pilot episode for the Cartoon Network series of the same name, Level Up: The Movie tells the story of Wyatt (Gaelan Connell, Bandslam), lyle (jessie usher, Beautiful Boy), and Dante (Jessie Usher, Home Invasion), three guys from wildly different classes in high school (the jock, the nerd, the bad bay). Despite their differences and unbeknownst to each other, they are all united in their love for the MMORPG "Conqueror of All Worlds," a World of Warcraft-like game that pits its players against all manner of trolls, wizards, and other fantasy antagonists.
Unfortunately, these virtual delights are made terrifyingly real when they inadvertently open a portal from the video game world to the real world, letting forth a stream of epic nasties and enabling a diabolical villain named Maldark (George Faughnan) the opportunity to seize control...or something. Now they must put aside their society-mandated differences and work together to defeat the invasion using the skills and wiles they perfected online.
Sounds like a promising set-up, right? Imaginative and creative, utilizing one of today's big pop culture phenoms. Should be a fertile source for some fun, goofy movie-making.
Uh...no. I don't know who is the target demographic for Level Up. I highly doubt gamers will appreciate the tame wit this film offers. Though the three "players" are supposedly of varied personalities, in the end they come across as unified in their irritating awkwardness. They're either lame (Wyatt), an unlikable ironic hipster (Dante), or wooden (Lyle). The unfunny script does them no favors either, with video game jargon feeling more patronizing than amusing.
I suspect the tween/teen masses -- many of whom are out of touch with the world of MMORPG -- will be left either: a) scratching their heads, or b) marveling at the stupidity of it all. That leaves young kids who play video games, but have yet to be infected by the touch of Internet forum cynicism and just like to watch trolls get hit in the face with baseball bats. On that base, visceral level, yeah, I can see value. All others need not apply.
The DVD: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround, a music video, and an episode of the ongoing series.
Dude, XP drain!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Cartoon Network
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 69 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Music Video
* Bonus Episode
* Official Site