Manuel São Bento
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ https://insessionfilm.com/movie-review-tetris/ "Tetris offers a fun, informative true story about one of the most popular videogames of all time. Filled with delightfully pixelated transitions and just the right amount of humor, as well as the game's iconic music, it's a film that makes its two hours go by in no time. It may not feature the most innovative storytelling in the subgenre, nor will it totally blow your mind, but whether you're a fan of the game or not, it's a home viewing that I highly recommend!" Rating: B
This is a fictionalized story of how Tetris left the Soviet Union and became a worldwide phenomenon. How fictional I don’t know as I haven’t read much on the fact-based side of the story. I see there is a documentary out there featuring many of the people depicted in this film version, so that might be interest to watch. But this slice of entertainment is fast-moving and engaging so I would forgive it for any slight lapses in accuracy. Oddly, when I first watched it the subtitles weren’t working and with all the languages and interpreting going on, it took me a while to realize I was missing dialogue I wasn’t supposed to miss, so I started over after making sure the captions were there. So yes, you do need the captions to get the entire story.
Louisa Moore - Screen Zealots
You probably would expect a film about the origins of a simple stacking block computer game to be bland and dry, but director Jon S. Baird and writer Noah Pink give “Tetris” the glossy Hollywood treatment. The movie tells the unbelievable true story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way into the hands of players all over the globe. It’s a story of greed, lies, manipulation, and control, playing fast and loose with the facts in order to create an embellished espionage thriller. After video game designer and publisher Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) discovers TETRIS in 1988, he sees a lot of potential. Henk tracks down the inventor in the Soviet Union, Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov), hoping to become partners to bring his game to the masses. Putting everything on the line, Henk travels to Russia during the height of the Cold War and isn’t welcomed with open arms. When big money players like Nintendo and Atari get involved, his mission becomes even more complicated. Even worse, Henk attracts the attention of the shadowy KGB, who want to secure the rights to TETRIS for their home country. The elaborate story is far-fetched and silly, and it goes to unexpected places because the history of TETRIS is turned into a crazy circus of a thriller. There are so many twists and turns that it’s exhausting to keep up, but the film keeps things interesting by raising the stakes with fictional scenarios. After all, there are only so many talky negotiations, licensing, contracts, business deals, and under the table government conversations that one can endure without a few harrowing car chases or scenes of our hero being harassed by KGB men in black. The result is a narrative that’s complicated, with everybody lying to everyone else while they argue over the rights to a computer game. Baird’s directorial choices may feel questionable to some, but I found his use of retro 8-bit animation to tell parts of his story to be breezy and fun. There is a good sense of comedy too, which breaks up the more monotonous aspects of the movie. And while the action and thriller elements are admittedly corny, most everyone loves a story of an underdog taking down “the man” with a bit of Cold War espionage thrown into the mix. Egerton holds much of the film together, and he gives a solid, enjoyable performance. He’s an understated actor with a ton of unexpected charisma, and he’s well-suited to the leading man role. If you don’t know the story behind the birth of TETRIS, this film is an interesting way to get a decent outline of how it came to be. You’ll want to research what really happened, of course, and spoiler alert: you are going to be disappointed by just how much of the story as presented on screen is fiction. But if you’ve ever played one of the most addictive puzzle games in history (and even if you have not), you’ll find “Tetris” not only interesting, but a lot of fun, too. **By: Louisa Moore / SCREEN ZEALOTS / www.ScreenZealots.com**
Tetris, directed by Jon S. Baird, is an entertaining and fast-paced film that manages to balance a grounded story with a light tone. The screenplay is stellar, streamlined, and keeps the audience engaged throughout. Despite some old-school “America is good, Russia is bad” propaganda, which felt a little dated, the story remained engaging. However, the end of the film got a bit out there, and the car chase sequence felt a bit out of place. In terms of performances, Taron Edgerton stood out as the lead, carrying the film with his performance. While the rest of the cast delivered fine performances, nothing was particularly memorable. Overall, the majority of the performances didn’t really add or take away anything from the film. The direction was really well done, with the 8-bit transitions between cities and acts of the film being a standout element. However, the random eight-bit overlays on top of the picture felt a bit out of place. The 80s aesthetic was executed brilliantly, and the score and song selection were both fantastic. In conclusion, Tetris is a good movie that offers a unique take on the iconic video game. The story, while sometimes relying on dated propaganda, manages to stay grounded and entertaining. Taron Edgerton delivers a standout performance, while the direction and score provide an engaging and nostalgic experience for viewers. Score: 72% Verdict: Good
This starts off as quite a fun look at just how "Tetris" made it's way from being a cheap and cheerful game played in the Soviet Union into a handheld game selling and making millions across the globe. It seems it was all spotted by opportunist "Stein" (Toby Jones) who managed to get it to a games exhibition where it was then picked up by the tenacious "Hank" (an adequate Taron Egerton) who determines to make his fortune from this block-sliding game. What now ensues is quite a frantic and at times dangerous tale of licensing, sub-licensing, risky travel, corruption, bribery, the KGB and Robert Maxwell before we arrive at the denouement that, well, that is history! I thought the Jones quite good here, as is Roger Allan as the bullish billionaire Maxwell, but much of the rest of this was all just a bit too messy. Though maybe quite informative of the vagaries of the development process, it features far too much dialogue and the intricacies of the plot are not really developed cohesively - sometimes it feels really slow, then really rushed. It's set at a time when Gorbachev's USSR was about to go the way of the dodo, and so there is some fun manoeuvring, betrayal and money-grabbing going on, but just not enough to sustain this for all but two hours. It's OK, this, but nothing more.
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