Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Dungeonmaster (Ragewar)

There’s this computer genius, right? And his name is Paul, and he has built this computer called XCALBR8 that he’s kind of in love with, and his girlfriend’s all like, “Oh no you don’t!” And he’s all like, “But, but, baby…” And then they’re like, let’s go to bed angry and sleep on it, but before they wake up, an evil wizard played by that bully guy from Night Court zaps them away and they’re all like WTF? And the wizard’s like, Paul, you’ve got seven chances to rescue your girlfriend, but I bet you won’t, because I’m totally going to prove that I can kill you. And then there are all these guys with knives, and lasers, and Kapew! Pow! Bizzzorp! Zap Zap! And a bunch of stuff like that happens. So we scored it, and it goes like this:
  • Written by “Allen Actor.” Yes, and this scorecard was written by…Kevin…Keyboard…er. = - 2pts 
  • It took seven directors to make this. = -7pts 
  • Standing extra close to a co-worker while wearing hot pants. = -12pts 
  • Did the opening sequence rip off the opening jogging sequence of Dr. Detroit? Let’s say it did. = +12pts 
  • Inventing a Google Glass prototype in 1984 that’s even more obnoxious than Google Glass. = -17pts 
  • Paul’s dinner-time pant suit outfit. = +12pts 
  • Paul, randomly transported to an evil, ancient wizard’s netherworld playground, doesn’t crap pant suit. = +24pts 
  • Mestema. = +20pts
  • “By the power of the Prince of Darkness! I dub thee: Excalibrate. Rise, Excalibrate.” = +23pts
  • At some point, Paul programmed his computer to register the presence of Beelzebub. = +6pts 
  • Mestema is bored by Paul’s explanation of computer science. =+5pts 
  • Lasers! Everything shot lasers in the ‘80s. Paul’s computer wrist band? It shoots lasers, if he wants to make it do so. Which he does, a lot. You could make anything shoot lasers in the ‘80s. Remember that limited edition Swatch that shot lasers? And when New Coke was a failure because it shot too many lasers? Or when Reagan shot lasers out of his eyes and blew up the Berlin Wall? = +12pts 
  • Now Paul’s wristband can create a cartoon fighting dragon? Seriously, what did the people making this movie think computers were? = -7pts 
  • Paul literally disintegrates homicidal ‘80s metal band W.A.S.P. = +20pts 
  • Imagine the context of this line before seeing the movie: “My God, that’s Einstein! And there’s Bloody Mary! What a weird combo.” Now try to figure it out after having seen the movie. = +13pts 
  • “My Legs are frozen. I can’t move my feet.” Also, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up! = +3pts 
  • Hmm, there must be a solution to this near-fatal challenge…I think...it might…possibly…be…LASERS! = +9pts 
  • …and the villains always try to kill with knives. Leave it to an occult wizard to bring a knife to a laser fight. = -6pts 
  • Paul demonstrates how IT people can have trouble with verbal communication: Mestema: Say the word and it ends! Paul: The word is forget it! = -12pts 
  • The sound of Richard Mull screaming. = +7pts 
  • Gwen suddenly forgets she’s trapped by an evil wizard and goes to dance auditions. = -3pts 
  • Cops – unclear on the concept of Gumby. = +3pts 
  • Seriously, can anyone tell us what is happening in this sequence ? Paul chucks rocks and lasers until he kills a cave-dwelling, exploding crystal poo-throwing gargoyle who turns out to be an angel who thanks him for killing her, which inspires Mestema to start a monologue about torturing cats? Is that the general gist of what’s going on here? = -17pts
  • Having the chutzpah to slap a bunch of painted plywood on a couple of pick-up trucks and rip off The Road Warrior. = +12pts 
  • Surely this head on collision was preventable. = -3pts 
  • Paul programmed a computer to analyze his heart rate, shoot lasers, conjure dragons, and predict crime, but his master plan is to challenge Mestema to a fist fight. = -5pts 
  • Paul is about to get crushed, but his computer is like “uh uh!” and saves him, all on its own, with a laser beam that turns all solid and props up a wall that’s crashing down, and Paul’s all like “Thanks, Cal” (‘cause that’s what he calls his computer) and then Paul and Gwen kiss and some mushy stuff and they’re transported back to their home and Paul gets his old pant suit back, and everyone’s happy. = +27pts

Total Score: +119 pts
Available on: YouTube

The Dungeonmaster is kind of awesome. Awesome enough to merit preservation as an early ‘80s artifact, at least. The filmmakers crammed in as many popular themes of the era that might appeal to adolescent boys as they could: Sexy-time aerobics, Stop motion-animation a la Clash of the Titans, Time Bandits-style little people, Dark Crystal-style puppetry, totally rad heavy metal music, lasers (did we mention the lasers?), Mad Max-style dystopia, wizardry, and a real screwball conception of what personal computing could or even should accomplish, which wasn’t so far-fetched actually, considering the variety of things we use computers for today. Maybe we can’t shoot deadly lasers at people yet, but it’s probably legal to super glue an assault rifle to your smart phone and call it a self-defense app.

Score Technician: Alex Pearlstein

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