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The 100




Wizard, The
(1989)
Reviewed by James Kichas
Rating: 7 Beans

must admit that this movie holds a great deal of nostalgia for me. Like many youngsters in the late 80's/early 90's I was a Nintendo addict. So when a movie made by Nintendo was released in 1989 you’d better believe I was there on opening day! After recently watching this film again I question the common sense of my 10-year-old self deeply.

There's a pretty basic plot at work here serving only to maneuver the characters from one piece of new Nintendo themed equipment to the next. The "wizard" in question is young Jimmy Woods (Luke Edwards) who has an uncanny Nintendo playing ability. His powers are useless to him however in his failed attempts to socialize with any real human being. Jimmy and his brothers Corey (a particularly annoying Fred Savage) and Nick (Christian Slater) are going through some tough times after their parents recent divorce and the angst they feel culminates in Jimmy and Corey skipping town in order to exploit "the wizards" awesome talents at a video game convention.

The journey the brothers make across the country isn't particularly inspiring or heart warming but they do manage to gain the services of a tough-talking tomboy named Haley (Jenny Lewis). These misfits are somehow able to cross the Great Basin unaided on their way to the Promised Land of California. To say they're enterprising would be a gross understatement. Mostly they manage to make their money by hustling Jimmy's awesome video game prowess on unsuspecting hicks and rubes. This comes back to haunt them in the form of three hooligans who steal their meager possessions and the rise of another "wizard" (Jackey Vinson) who's skill over Jimmy is enhanced by the awesome force of the Nintendo Power Glove!!!

In a needless subplot we find a cross-country chase occurring between a hired private investigator and the boy's father and brother. I guess they were in a competition to see who could track down the boys first. There are animosities on both sides that result in the two rival factions destroying each other’s cars any chance they get.

After a travel montage enhanced by Real Life's "Send Me an Angel" and a brief layover in Reno, Nevada the heroes make it to the video game challenge at Universal Studios. "The wizard" is able to best the mediocre first round of competition before finding himself in an epic conflict with the rival "wizard" and an ultra-nerdish girl. It was at this point that Nintendo went for the knockout blow by unveiling the (at the time) brand new Super Mario Brothers 3! Jimmy's awesome skills are able to reunite his troubled clan and soon enough he's found his peace of mind inside a disturbing dinosaur monument. Strange stuff indeed!

I vaguely recall being let down by this movie upon its initial release and time hasn't done anything to change those feelings. Within a few years Nintendo was no longer that cool to me and most of the "awesome" gear they had touted in "the Wizard" had proven to be nothing more than expensive junk. Not all hope was lost however as “the Wizard” did manage to leave a legacy in its revelation of a super cool secret within Mario Brothers 3. A distressing legacy to be sure...






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