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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Comedy > Videogames > Gamebox 1.0 (2004)

Gamebox 1.0 (2004)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Feature: C+



Hoping for a fanboy indie hit, David & Scott Hillenbrand’s Gamebox 1.0 (2004) arrives on DVD hoping for that special kind of immortality.  Surprisingly ambitious for a low-budget work, it still cannot escape the shadow of two types of films.  One would be the “in the videogame” type typified by The Last Starfighter and especially Tron in this case.  The other is the virtual reality film that began with Douglas Trumbull’s Brainstorm (1983) and continued into several Keanu Reeves films.


In this case, a videogame tester (Nate Richert) is a nerdy-looking guy who suddenly is out of his shell when one of the games he is sent seems to have both an artificial intelligence component and realism that give him pain when he receives it in the game.  We have seen all this before, but this flick naïvely travels through ground already broken and makes some interesting mistakes in the process, some of which we cannot reveal without ruining it for you.  However, it is far less pretentious than its many predecessors and with less money, goes further.  Also, it is not a Horror/Slasher film to its credits interested in killing anyone who plays videogames, which earns in a full point for caring about it audience by losing that ultimate audience insult.


As for any Science Fiction elements, they are few and far between, only qualifying as such by default.  See it for the fun piece it is if you like videogames or are curious about these kinds of films with a difference.  As for the fanboys, we give it a 50/50 chance they will finds and embrace it, but it has its moments.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image originated in digital video and because of all the videogame worlds, we get cheap-but-interesting stylized representations of the various worlds offered in the story.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix should have been stronger and more interesting, but has inconsistent surrounds and is not as well-recorded as it could or should be.  The combination is tolerable, but more careful planning could have made both aspects better.  Extras include a making of featurette worth seeing, deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary, feature length audio commentary and a bloopers/gag reel that is amusing.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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