Critiquing the Critics: “The Uncanny Valley” review- Reviewers of Dragonpussy.

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The Creepy Bald Guy reviews “The Uncanny Valley”, but is it an Uncanny Valley itself?

I think the video is fine, but it wasn’t fun to make.


-Hello and welcome to another episode of Critiquing the Critics, although I should probably call these movies Creepy Bald Guy reviews…Maybe I’ll call it Creeping the Critics. Anyway, todays subject is the 5th year anniversary of TGWTG, The Uncanny valley.

Ever since the TGWTG Year 1 anniversary Brawl made the fanboys, fangirls and fanvestites squee in delight back in 2009, it has become tradition to release some sort of anniversary special every year. Whereas the brawl was a sketch, however, the followups were actual movies. Whether you like them or not, there’s no denying that each project became increasingly more ambitious than the last, with “To Boldly Flee” being so large in scale that Doug Walker admitted they won’t be able to top that. So for Year 5, Channel awesome delivered “The Uncanny Valley”, which would be much smaller in scale. More specifically, it is a collection of 5 short films.

–          An interesting idea, but does it work?

If you answered yes, then you are a moron, but a correct moron. The answer is Sort of, it depends if you think an anthology works based on each individual short or if you think each short should work as a piece of the overall project. Even though it’s the 5th TGWTG anniversary and contains many of your favorite reviewers- and Mike J-, they usually aren’t playing said reviewers-except Mike J.. So when you see Doug Walker, he isn’t portraying the Nostalgia Critic.

The first short is “Dragonbored”, directed by Doug Walker, written by Rob Walker and clocking in at 43 minutes. The film focuses on Carl, who has plenty of friends, a good job and a loving girlfriend but ignores them all so he can play a sandbox video game which he is obviously addicted too.

In a moment of weakness, he rants about how he wishes life was like the game and ta da, his character from that world has spawned in reality OHmygodmyvoiceissoboringwhenreading synopsis’s. Okay, this is an unoriginal set-up and yeah, it’s filled to the brim with the clichés that you would expect out of a movie like this. But the Walkers appear to be aware of the formula and actually uses that to achieve a false sense of security….Im not spoiling anything, but “Dragonbored” contains some pretty awesome twists.

Now, during your own viewing, you might notice that “Dragonbored” isn’t as funny as you’d expect and that there is a lot more serious content within the narrative when compared to previous anniversaries. “Dragonbored” doesn’t want to provide non-stop laughs, even though funny is definitely a major priority. It wants to be tearjerking, heartwarming and thought provoking. If has well drawn characters whose situations, both external and internal, are moving. If I was a real critic, I might even use the term existential when describing “Dragonbored”.

-Although I guess I just did, so that makes me a real critic. Now I just have to film myself wacking off to a Terence Malick, then people will really start taking me seriously.

But is it funny at all? I thought so. I liked the fish out of water humor and Doug even satirizes some of the cliches. Sometimes, it’s even funny because it’s being so serious. The cast did a phenomenal job of balancing comedy and drama, so I never had any issue with the tone. The dramatic moments never takes away from the comedic material and the goofy bits don’t undermine the drama.  My only real complaint regarding “Dragonbored” is I felt it could’ve been trimmed down. The earlier scenes with the video game developers went on for too long and it took some time for my interest to build up. Anything else I can say? The production values are exceptional for this kind of web video, showcasing good cinematography, editing and a superb score. The main theme by Skitch is amazing.
I’m giving “Dragonbored” an 8/10. To me, it succeeded where Demo Reel failed. Both wanted to be more than just a goofball comedy, but Demo Reel was too depressing to be amusing and the jokes were forced and in one case possibly plagiarized the Cinema Snob Movie. The humor in “Dragonbored” felt more natural and clever. The drama and comedy worked in unison to create an enjoyable experience.  The script uses the conventions in its favor and it was just very well made.

-A great way to start off. Maybe even too great, because the following story isn’t as good. In fact, I thought it sucked.

Story Number 2 is “Dragged in”, directed by and starring Leo Thompson AKA that Sci-Fi Guy, this short only is about 13 minutes long. But I probably would’ve cut 13 minutes out of that. Leo stars as Mr. Donavin, a former lingual expert who currently works at a Vet. He’s drawn back into his old job when the Government is contacted by extra-terrestrial beings…who want our pussies. I can’t decide whether the writer-s..Jesus this had 5 writers?  didnt have much time to pen this, or a lot had to be cut out of the script due to the lack of time or resources…It just doesn’t have much content. Very little seems to happen.

The characters spend too much time trying to figure out what’s going on, and then when what starts going on, it’s just padded with news footage of cameos. Then 45 minutes later, which is strange because it’s a 13 minute short, we get a weak and unsatisfying pay-off.  Even though the actors try to spice up the material, they aren’t given anything to work with so their deliveries feel forced and awkward. I can count the amount of times I laughed with 2 fingers. This was supposed to be a comedy, right? If I have anything positive to say, I think SciFi Guy made a passable lead and there is a nicely produced montage bit. But otherwise, I thought it was pretty bad. 3/10. I wouldn’t watch it, but I imagine hardcore Sci-Fi Guy fans will.

-Hopefully the next one will be better. I have my castration spoon ready for if Im disappointed.

The third story is the Reviewers, written and directed by Brad Jones, but starring Brian Lewis and Jake Norvell. Brian and Jake are a pair of novice video reviewers who want to get into the trend, but much to their annoyance, nothing seems to be coming from it. I guess “The Reviewers” can be summed up as a slice of life story, as that’s the extent of the plot. It’s a 30 minute short but the narrative is very loose, just focusing on…well, on the reviewers and their daily lives.  Brad’s writing style is an acquired taste, particularly due to the excessive references, but Brad fans…brans…should be pleased with it. It’s very satirical, poking fun at internet popularity, review gimmicks, story-lines, fandoms, hatedoms and that awkward time when you bust your ass to produce a video only for no one to watch them…which more-or-less sums up my video reviewing career. Brad handles all of this with a steady level of amusement, although nothing jumped at me as hilarious.

Brian and Jake are a lot of fun to watch and their interactions keep things consistently entertaining. Brian is the more relatable guy-and his acting was pretty impressive- while Jake gets to smile- which is so surreal. If I can sum up Jake in one world, it’s Smurftacular. Brad only gets a cameo, but it’s a great cameo. This segment is sort of aimless. Nothing seems to really go anywhere. I kept expecting some confrontation with the Messiah, since so much time was dedicated to that bit. Or what about when Sarah starts trying to turn Jake against Brian? It’s a self contained scene which is never brought up again. But Brad did say this was a pilot to what will become a series, so presumably everything in “The Reviewers” is leading to that. I’m giving it a 7/10, a solid watch which will either become better or worse depending on the quality of the show. Check it out, Brans.