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Case Number 19803: Small Claims Court

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The Weathered Underground

Indican Pictures // 2010 // 380 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Roman Martel (Retired) // September 30th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge Roman Martel delivered his verdict and your adventure is over. Return to the beginning and try another path.

The Charge

A film where you choose what happens next.

The Case

You receive a DVD called The Weathered Underground to watch and review. The cover claims it's the first interactive adventure film. Sounds interesting. The guy on the cover has a gun and some babes clinging to him. Ok, let's give this sucker a try.

But first…
•  If you drink a few beers, because you think you might need them, go to section 1.
•  If you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure and Endless Quest books from the '80s, go to section 2.
•  If you remember something like this coming out on CD-ROM in the '90s, go to section 3.
•  If you are open minded and willing to give anything a chance, go to section 4

1) You head over to the fridge to pick up those beers when your cell phone rings. This is odd because you dropped it in the toilet earlier and it shouldn't be working. You answer the phone and it turns out to be your ex who wants to see if you're watching the penguin documentary on TV.

•  If you roll your eyes and go back to the TV to watch the penguin documentary, go to section 5.
•  If you say a few choice words and hang up on her, go to section 6.

2) You know, Choose your own Adventure was pretty cool and those Endless Quest books were based on Dungeons & Dragons! Um, not that you ever played D&D. That's for geeks, not super cool DVD reviewers like yourself. Anyway, you remember those fondly, but get the feeling it might not translate well into a cinematic format. The creators would need to film quite a bit of footage to get real mileage out of the concept. According to the book that came with the DVD, there are over 30 endings adding up to four hours of footage. Hey, that's promising. Wait…is that girl taking her clothes off on the back? Cool! You get up to pop the DVD in when there is a knock at the door. You go over to answer it and face a crossdresser wielding a gun. Didn't you see that on the back cover of the DVD too? A few gunshots later and you're not wondering much of anything. You've come to the end of this adventure. Return to the beginning and try another path.

3) You remember when CD-ROMs were all the rage and Full Motion Video Games were coming out every week; you thought they were lame. Was this movie inspired by those odd creations? You pop the DVD in and start messing around with the choices. Hmmm, all the footage has been enhanced by computer animation similar to Waking Life, but done in a way that renders everything blurry, flat, and hard to watch. Some storylines look worse than others and you're not really sure what this animation adds to the story. If anything, it makes the whole thing look kinda ugly. In some places it looks a bit like a comic book, but the effect grows tiresome quickly. Wow…all this angst and pissed off banter…was this written in the '90s? All it needs is a grunge soundtrack and it would fit right in. At that moment the guy from the meth lab down the street opens the door and blows you away in a John Woo inspired hail of bullets. The End. Go back to the beginning and try again.

4) You understand it takes a lot of moxie to make something like this. The creators end up filming a lot of footage, and writing a lot of material. They've got to plot it all out and do their best to keep it interesting. With all that creativity it has to have some shining moments in it, right? You pop in the DVD and start watching. You keep trying new choices hoping that at some point the story or characters will grab you. But each time, your optimism is shattered. You don't like the main character and nothing is particularly engaging. At some point you stop. You decide that you're not the target audience for this. It seems too hip and cool for you. So you shrug and make a list of hip and cool folks who may enjoy it. Hey, your neighbor, the kid that works at the pizza parlor may like this. You decide to give it to him for Arbor Day. The End. Return to the beginning and try a different path.

5) She always calls when you've got DVD's to watch and she always insists you watch something lame. But you know what? If you keep on good terms with her, maybe you can score with her sister. So you head back to the TV and check out the documentary. Turns out there is some kind of penguin army or something with plans to invade the human world. Wow, who thought that up? You're about call her back and make fun of her when you hear a strange sound outside. You open the door and the last thing you see is a penguin wielding a sword. You're having a bad day. The End. Go back to the beginning and try again.

6) After giving your ex a piece of your mind, you get your beers and start messing around with the DVD. Its strange, with some funny moments buried in a very cynical, angry, and snarky series of plots. You mess around for a while, but it never really pulls you in. You decide that video games have really taken over the interactive tale and something like this has trouble measuring up. You feel bad about writing a negative review, but something like this has two basic goals—to entertain and provide a good story. The Weathered Underground doesn't do either. You do note that its in full frame and has a clear stereo mix. With a sigh, you shut it down and head off to write your review, but not before you notice what looks like a penguin peeking into your window…odd. The End. Go to the Verdict to see how you fared.

The Verdict

I'm throwing this case out with the hope that it finds an audience that may enjoy it more than I did.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 57

Perp Profile

Studio: Indican Pictures
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 380 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
• Cult
• Independent
• Interactive

Distinguishing Marks

• None

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