View Full Version : Unicorn City Review: A movie that crosses Napoleon Dynamite with LARPing

2012-03-05, 01:46 PM
I saw a funny movie over the weekend. My wife and I went with my brother and his wife to see a movie about gamers starting a LARPing camp. After the movie, the producer and an actor came in to talk to the audience. They said that the movie was locally made by an independent company. They were trying to raise awareness of the film and were asking for help. Since I enjoyed the film, I figured I could share my review of it here, with a playground full of people who enjoy gaming.


This is a fun movie that lets you laugh along with a group of people that prefer their fantasy game lives to their real lives. The story is about Voss, a twenty something gamer that is trying to get a job working for the biggest company in the table top gaming industry. To prove that he has leadership skills and can lead an augmented reality game design team, he packs his friends out to the woods to take part in a full immersion fantasy gaming event.

The plot progresses through some standard drama building points, namely, the antagonist comes to ruin Voss's plans while Voss's best friend tries to use the event as a means to progress their friendship into a relationship. This movie stands out, however, in its use of the social awkwardness of adults lost in their own fantasy as the main vehicle to advance this common plot through a script full of laughs. For example, how would adults that see themselves as sword wielding adventurers and clever bards approach conflict resolution? While the plot focuses on gamer culture, it is not exclusive against those that are unfamiliar with table top role playing games. In the group we were in, my wife laughed the hardest and she has absolutely no role playing experience. I'm not certain if the producers were trying to avoid any legal actions for using comedy that wasn't protected as parody, or if they were just trying to keep the movie as accessible to a wide audience as possible, but the comedy comes from looking at the culture itself.

The major point that draws my overall score for this movie down is that the main character is not that likable. Napoleon Dynamite was socially awkward, but likable. He said weird things and acted funny, but he was trying to be nice and was willing to help others. The audience wanted him to succeed besides himself. Voss, on the other hand, is hot headed and self centered. He only steps up for others when it is in his own self interest. It's hard to feel bad for him when he is the one that <spoiler>both emotionally and physically hurts his friends.</spoiler>

Overall, the movie is fun and good for some laughs, just don't expect to get overly attached to the main character.