I know this is hardly a new film, so doubtlessly you’re asking yourselves why I’m choosing to review it at this stage in time. Well, the answer to that question is simple enough…
It’s because it’s frakking awesome! Not to mention, I don’t feel that this film gets the respect and attention that it truly deserves.
This movie goes to prove that you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget in order to create an enjoyable, fun-filled, cinematic romp. All you need is a handful of talented actors with good chemistry between them and a dedicated crew.
Produced by Dead Gentlemen Productions, an independent film company based in Tacoma, Washington, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is actually a sequel to The Gamers (a low-budget, but nonetheless entertaining, film), but it is more than able to stand on its own as its own feature film.
The film centers around a group of D&D players (Leo, Cass, Joanna, and Gary), as well as their long-suffering Dungeon Master (Kevin), as they strive to complete the adventure at hand. Each of the named players encompasses the wide array of D&D player stereotypes…
Leo: The Redshirt. He is the player who never has things work out for him (i.e., his in-game character always ends up being cannon fodder in one way or another). His in-game character in the film is a bard named Flynn.
“Seriously! I’ve got like one hit-point here!”
Cass: The Dungeon Master’s foil. He is the player who is extremely dedicated to every single rule and regulation, and he challenges the Dungeon Master’s every move (often throwing some form of fit or tantrum)when he feels that the rules are being ignored. His in-game character in the film is a monk named Brother Silence.
“And because it was so unexpected, the party died! This is what happens when you mess with the rules!”
Joanna: The newbie. She is the player who is new to the world of D&D, and as such she sides with the Dungeon Master on nearly everything. Because she is new, she is able to think outside the box in regards to the making of her in-game character—often making her either the subject of mocking or awe with the other players. Her in-game character in the film is a fighter named Daphne.
“With her charisma, she should be able to talk her way out of most fights.”
Gary: The joker. He is the player who is always instigating mischief simply for the sake of stirring things up, and unlike the other players, he keeps falling out of character throughout the course of the game. His in-game character in the film (played for the most part by Jen Page (pictured above on the DVD cover)) is a female sorceress named Luster.
“I’m not evil, I’m chaotic neutral!”
Kevin: The Dungeon Master. Often depicted as long-suffering throughout the course of the film, he tries desperately to keep the other players on track so they can finish the game—even going so far as to create a Paladin NPC to keep the others from going too far off course.
“They don’t try anything new, and then they blame me when they die…ungrateful munchkins!”
The film takes place from two perspectives—from the POV of the players outside of the game, as well as from the POV of their in-game characters. Though as a result of Gary’s constantly falling out of character, his in-game character is constantly shifting back and forth between the actual female character and Gary dressed in drag.
This serves as a recurring gag throughout the course of the film as the other players have to constantly remind Gary that his character is a woman when he begins playing her as he normally would a male character.
Gary/Luster: “A man could lose himself in those eyes…”
Daphne: “A man could, yes…but apparently I must remind you that you’re a woman.”
Luster: “Of course I am!”
While this film is an obvious homage to all things D&D, there are nevertheless references to other role-playing games sprinkled throughout as a sort of treasure hunt for viewers who happen to be avid gamers. For example, at the end of the first real battle in the film, music very similar to the Final Fantasy fanfare plays when the players defeated the horde of goblins they were battling. At other points of the film, the characters are seen playing other games (such as Munchkin) while they wait for the rest of the group to arrive for the campaign. The references continue later in the film as well, but don’t let any of that discourage you.
Even if you don’t play D&D, or any other game of that sort, you can still enjoy this film for what it is at its most basic core—pure, unadulterated silliness. I for example, had never played D&D before I had seen the movie, but I was still able to enjoy the film and could not stop laughing throughout the course of it. The ending result of my watching this movie was not only my being left in a genuinely happy mood for the rest of the night, but it also led to my exploration (and soon after, love) of D&D.
Now, am I saying that you will have the same outcome that I did? Not at all. What I am saying is that you will be guaranteed an hour and a half of good laughs, and a plethora of quotes to throw into your everyday lives. I myself have found myself uttering “I’m not evil, I’m chaotic neutral” more times than I can count.
So how about we give this incredibly awesome and yet unsung film some love?
You won’t be sorry!
- Kevin/Sir Osric:Nathan Rice
- Joanna/Daphne:Carol Roscoe
- Cass/Brother Silence:Brian Lewis
- Gary: ChristianDoyle
- Leo/Flynn: ScottC. Brown
- Luster: Jen Page