Critiquing the Critics: “The Uncanny Valley” review Part 2- The Dark Side of Mike J.

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MartialHorror finishes his review of “The Uncanny Valley” and delivers a very important message.

This was much more difficult to make than its predecessor for some reason. Good news, I found my old Godzilla toy. Bad news, I sort of broke Spacegodzilla….

To watch “Internet Dating and Me”, go HERE

To watch “The Darkside of the Internet”, go HERE

To watch “A Pointless Epilogue”, go HERE

Ouch, this had a troublesome production- ranging from delays to a dying microphone to poor Spacegodzilla losing a leg (originally, Big G was supposed to be carrying him instead of Anguirus, but toppled and the leg broke off). Furthermore, I made some regrettable decisions in retrospect in regards to word use and editing (it almost sounds like I’m implying all of the interviewees are from TGWTG in my review of “The Darkside of the Internet”).

Still, I’m happy enough. Yes, I really did botch the ending by corpsing. The final part was unscripted and was just thrown in. Because why not?

ALTERNATE SCENE FROM SCRIPT:

Another thing I would’ve changed is the order of the stories. “Dragonbored” was too good of a way to start things and I suspect “Dragged In” wouldn’t have seemed to weak if it didn’t immediately follow Doug’s story. Personally, I would’ve begun with “Internet Dating and Me”, because that’s the second funniest and it’s not as epic. It would provide a nice taste for things to come, then do “The Reviewers”, because it’s good enough to keep viewers coming back. Then do “Dragged In”, where it’s failures won’t be as noticeable. Then “Dragonbored”, because it would be used as the highlight. Then “Darkside” because…if people hate its seriousness, at least it won’t stop them from watching the rest.

FULL ORIGINAL SCRIPT:

-Hello and welcome to part two of the Uncanny Valley: The Dark Side of Mike J- he’s a rapist- This episode is dedicated to Farelthegecko. Why? Cause he has a small penis. I assure you, that is totally relevant to this review. But onto the short stories!

So far, my favorite has been Dragonbored, but I also liked “The Reviewers” too.“Dragged In”….well, let’s just say that’s one story the cat should’ve left outside (rimshot). But now we must journey into the realm of MikeJ…oi…Mike’s short is “Internet Dating and Me”, which he wrote, directed and stars in. Oh boy…as I don’t like Mike J, Internet Dating and especially And- my expectations are plummeting. Me is alright though. MikeJ plays himself, a hack reviewer who lucked out and landed a job with TGWTG- I’m so mean- “Internet Dating and Me” is a mockumentary about Mike J’s adventures in internet dating.

“Internet Dating and Me” is a mockumentary about MikeJ’s adventures in internet dating.

The first half is incredibly slow paced, although Mike deserves credit for emulating the aesthetics and style of a real documentary. The only parts I found funny include an amusing cameo by Diamanda Hagan and the fact that MikeJ thinks he’s funny. And successful. ZING! Eventually, he decides to meet someone he connected to on the internet in person and its…beep. Yeah, I’m not spoiling that it’s Film Brain because that would be a bit douchy of me. This short is about 15 minutes long and the date begins around the half way point and…and…it was hilarious. The reactions, interactions, dialogue and the awkward tension had me snickering nonstop. MikeJ and his date have great chemistry and the date’s acting was much better than usual. As for MikeJ himself…part of my issue with his reviews is that he’s too dry, but it fits within this context. His delivery is…pretty much perfect. It’s just too bad that “Internet Dating and Me”, like “Dragged In”, has an unsatisfying ending. In this case, it’s a little more forgivable as the story has more content but…it’s too abrupt. This is difficult to rate because the first half was mostly boring, while the second half was exceptional….I’ll give it a 6.5/10. Uneven, but much better than what I expected. I’d say everyone should watch it if they have the spare time and it should be noted that this was actually the best received short according to TGWTG fans. I disagree, but a decent watch all the same.

          Good job MikeJ. Well, there’s only one story left and I’m sure they saved the most hilarious for last. (cut to black) You ever wake up next to a dead hooker, and much to your horror, it turns out she was actually a he. That might some up my feelings towards the Dark side of the Internet.  

This short isn’t intended to be funny…even though I’d seriously argue it’s closer to being a comedy than “Dragged In”. “The Dark Side of the Internet” is written and directed by Mat Williams: AKA Welshy and narrated by the chick who fired Spoony. Whereas the previous stories were comedies that maybe branched out into other genres in the process, “The Dark Side of the Internet” is a 27 minute, haunting look into internet abuse and its consequences. It’s packed with tons of information, but that information is organized and delivered in such a way that it resonates even if “The Dark Side of the Internet” is telling us what we already know. I thought the rather clinical, almost cold tone of the project magnified its effect. The editing is flawless, balancing animations, stills, footage and all sorts of technical wizardry which I wish I could do. A lot of the reviewers show up to discuss their own theories and experiences, but they aren’t playing their characters…although I presume they forgot to tell Phelous that. If there is one weakness and this is probably unreasonable on my part, it’s that I felt it limited its scope by just using video reviewers to drive home these points. I would’ve preferred to see more non-reviewers, because this could’ve gone beyond TGWTG and Channel Awesome. It could’ve just been an all around great documentary, but its reliance on people like Linkara and Lupa ensures it won’t have more than a cult following. I’d give it a 7.5/10 for what it is, but you have to accept what it is. 

But it’s not over yet, we have Part 6, The Pointless Epilogue by Diamanda Hagan- whose name I always struggle with pronouncing. Oh yeah, we must discuss the wraparound story. Each short is presented by the Webmaster, portrayed by Nash whose monologues get interrupted by a new age douchebag portrayed by Rob Walker. Everyone seems to hate Rob in this movie, but I thought he did fine. Nash is awesome though, striking the perfect balance of mysteriousness and cheesiness. There are two sources of humor. The meta stuff, where they acknowledge they are filming in a studio in front of a greenscreen and the duos differences in…everything. They bicker a lot and while it’s hilarious at first, they re-use the same gimmicks each time so eventually it just starts to become stale. Diamanda Hagan appears during the prologue and confronts the duo and I…loved it. Diamanda’s bizarre sense of humor cracked me up and redeemed what was becoming a tired overarching…subplot? I’ll rate the wraparound story a 6/10. Loved the epilogue and Nash, but most of the segments just recycle the same jokes over and over again.   

So lets discuss “The Uncanny Valley” as a whole. In my first video, I asked whether a good anthology is simply about the shorts or if it’s about how they effect the overall project, although the answer is likely both. Other than “Dragged In”, I actually liked each of the stories on various levels. So if it is the former, then “The Uncanny Valley” is success. If it’s the latter…well…look at where the title came from. Okay, “Dragonbored” and “Dragged In” fit under that theme….”Internet Dating and Me” maybe, since MikeJ responds with eeriness when confronted with Diamanda Hagan through the use of technology…and she is not human. But “The Reviewers”? No. Or especially “The Dark Side of the Internet”, which is by its nature, focusing on humans responding to humans through technology that is…human. Maybe Doug should’ve clarified the overarching theme and exercised more control over everyones stories.

I also think it was a mistake to include “The Dark Side of the Internet”. It is a powerful documentary, but it contrasts wildly with the other stories in tone. Furthermore, Welshy may have unintentionally sabotaged his own work by releasing it as a Channel Awesome anniversary video. Many viewers aren’t going to care about the quality of the film, because they want something more humorous…because that’s what we all expect at this point. This was Welshy’s Swan Song, so I guess it’s almost fitting to do it this way…but well, I guess it’s up to the viewers as to whether it was a good idea.

Another thing I would’ve changed is the order of the stories. “Dragonbored” was too good of a way to start things and I suspect “Dragged In” wouldn’t have seemed to weak if it didn’t immediately follow Doug’s story. Personally, I would’ve begun with “Internet Dating and Me”, because that’s the second funniest and it’s not as epic. It would provide a nice taste for things to come, then do “The Reviewers”, because it’s good enough to keep viewers coming back. Then do “Dragged In”, where it’s failures won’t be as noticeable. Then “Dragonbored”, because it would be used as the highlight. Then “Darkside” because…if people hate its seriousness, at least it won’t stop them from watching the rest.

But on the other hand, a lot of these problems are cushioned by the fact that each was released as an individual video. Most anthologies are a single movie, so we watch them right after another. By having single videos with single stories, it’s not quite as glaring and I think most of the stories accomplished their individual goals. “The Reviewers” is a pilot and I look forward to the series. “Internet Dating and Me” has left me wanting to check out Mike’s works again and maybe re-evaluate them. Maybe. “The DarkSide of the Internet” and “Dragonbored” are just good- if not exceptional- short films and even though I’ve given a lot of c rap to “Dragged In”, That Sci Fi Guy did enough right as a director, producer and actor that I’d be willing to give him another chance. I’d say “The Uncanny Valley” is a 6/10. It needed more direction as an overall project, but I’d personally say watch it based on each individual short. To skip it as a whole would be missing out on some good stuff.

 

  • authorman94

    Slight thing: Holly didn’t fire Spoony. He said himself that he left of his own accord (his commentary for To Boldly Flee and the first part), so I don’t know where you got that information from (although I imagine you don’t follow them on every social media site like I do because I’m a bit sad). But still, great video as ever, even if I disagreed with you overall.