As a result of a contest on Cinema Slayers, someone requested that we do a retro review of The Wizard. This was an interesting trip down memory lane, and I am happy that I was selected to review this. Given the total video game geek that I was and still am, this was a lot of fun to revisit. Let’s take another look at The Wizard!
The Wizard is a story about two brothers Cory (Fred Savage) and Jimmy (Luke Edwards) Woods. After suffering the traumatic loss of their sister, Jimmy’s behavior takes a turn for the worst. He is practically mute, has behavioral issues with school, and seems to have an overwhelming desire to travel to California. Cory is concerned for his brother when he is institutionalized for his issues. This prompts Cory to kidnap his brother from the institution and set off on a road trip to get his brother to California. Along the way, they run into another young girl Haley (Jenny Lewis), who accidentally discovers that Jimmy has a special ability to play video games. Luckily for the three of them, there is a video game tournament in California where the winner stands to win a large sum.
The road trip is not without opposition however, because Jimmy’s stepfather has hired an evil child finder, Bateman (Sam McMurray), who is hot on their trail. Other adult actors Beau Bridges, Christian Slater, and Wendy Phillips are the concerned parents that are looking for them.
I must say that all these years later, the film hasn’t aged very well. It was a lot of fun to see some of my favorite Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros, Rad Racer, and Legend of Zelda on the screen from time to time, but the story is just too silly and illogical for me to really find myself enjoying this. All of the adult characters are idiotic in their roles, and never seem to have much substance as minor characters. There is also something a little unsettling about 8, 12, and 13 year old children hitchhiking with truckers, taking money bets with adults on games, and walking into bars. As an adult I just couldn’t stop asking why things like this were being allowed to happen, and the unsafe nature of kids wandering like this made it difficult to enjoy.
All in all, we get the reason why the California trip was important to Jimmy, which is very cute and noble in the end. Lastly, the finals of the video game tournament and the reveal of Super Mario Bros 3 was a moment that still made me smile. It’s crazy to think that we got our first glimpse of that iconic game through this film, but none of this is enough to ignore the serious issues with the film’s storyline.. It’s too bad that I didn’t quite enjoy this as much as I did when I was younger.
30 cool kids beating Rad Racer with a freaking Power Glove (which is impossible to play with!) out of 100 (30%).