Saturday, November 28, 2015

Atop The Fourth Wall: The Movie (2015) Review

In honor of Linkara's first video review, I thought it only fair to appear as myself. :D

Aaaand I'm back! What's that? Nobody reads this? Well, then don't complain. It's my page, I can glorify myself if I want to. Okay, okay, chill. Let's review some more internet critic movies.

Atop The Fourth Wall is one of the most popular review shows on the Channel Awesome website, in which Linkara(played by Lewis Lovhaug) looks at bad comic books and fights alien menaces in the off hours. Its deadpan sense of humor, intelligent analysis of material and sci-fi drama storylines also make it(in my opinion) the most well put together show on the site.

I mean, I don't even read superhero comics(Estonia favors Mickey Mouse and Tom & Jerry comics), but Linkara's sheer skill at deconstructing bad comics is worth watching every episode, doesn't matter if you're in any way connected to the material or not. And let me tell you: I never watch reviews of things I don't know. He's that good.

So, with that said, I was a happy, if slightly disbelieving fan when I heard that an AT4W movie is on the ops. I get the Nostalgia Critic and the Angry Video Game Nerd, they're internet legends. But Linkara? A movie? What new spore of madness is this?

The film takes place after the events of To Boldly Flee, in which the "Death Bomb" exploded, destroying the villains Mechakara, Terl and General Zod. Now, several years later, the US government sends up the Caelestis, the second Insano-class spaceship(yes, I'm going with that) that looks like a house.

Despite being on a mission to Jupiter, they deviate to study the remnants of the Death Bomb and ascertain if anything can be recovered. Unfortunately, something can...

When the Caelestis loses contact with Earth, the government dispatches Linkara(who, as he likes to say, "HAS A SPACESHIP!!") to check out what's wrong. For no other reason than "movie", a bunch of inexperienced other reviewers accompany him on his trip. My particular favourite is Nash, who has never been on a Channel Awesome adventure before and so has to deal with lightning shooting colleagues.

The reviewers(and other AT4W characters) form a tight crew and find the Caelestis, only to discover that Mechakara has risen again, more pissed off than ever before(did he always wear that red shirt? I just noticed that...) so it's up to the reviewers to battle him whilst also trying to come to terms with how bizarre their universe is. Great stuff.


The first thing to understand about the film is that it's not really much different from the show itself. There's more guest stars and two sets(unless you count the houses), but that's about it. The format, the style and the dialogue are all pure AT4W. That works... partially. On one side, it's great to stay true to the series of course, but at the same time, I feel like the film was somewhat slow and not in the "there's no action every five minutes" kind of way, but just the fact that most of it consisted of people talking in empty, echo-ey rooms.

Star Trek and Doctor Who get away with that by having detailed, beautifully designed spaceship sets with a sense of home about them. However, in AT4W, the spaceship set is cold and gray-green, with no sort of comfort or soothing look about it to appease the viewer. It doesn't feel alive.

The acting is also a mixed bag, ranging from spectacular(Nash, Joe, Lovhaug as 90s Kid and Mechakara and Lupa) to decent(Lovhaug as Linkara and Harvey, the astronauts, Snob and Alan) to Marzgurl, who, no offense, brought to mind the famous "I'm ACTING!" line.

The script is good, but it's fuzzy in parts and goes over the details a little too quickly, resulting in a multitude of questions in the comment section of the AT4W webpage. There's nothing major, but it could've used another draft.


Overall, the film is a great watch for any Channel Awesome fans, but I wouldn't recommend it outside that circle and I suggest going over the show itself before getting into it. There's some excellent plot compilation videos on Youtube if you're interested.

For a first time production, it's well done. Despite the afore-mentioned fuzziness, the script is quite thoughtful and gives a moment of humanity to each character, most notably the 90s Kid. The comedy is absolutely brilliant, there were many LOL moments in the film and there's that sense of hope and wisdom found in the greatest of stories. The cinematography isn't spectacular and the movie sometimes lacks in atmosphere, but is much supported by the sheer likability of the main cast, the classic harshly menacing villain and most importantly, the emotion and love that went into making it a treat for the fans.

All in all, a big applause to Lewis Lovhaug, for making a cool adventure flick. I'd love to see this go bigger and better in potential sequels.

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