TADFF 2012: Lloyd the Conqueror + The Myth of Robo Wonder Kid

I have put off writing this review for a long time because I don’t enjoy writing negative reviews, but silence is worse, and the short film The Myth of Robo Wonder Kid definitely deserves attention. So here it goes.
The Myth of Robo Wonder Kid, written, directed, and produced by Joel MacKenzie, is a super-cute short film. In a nutshell, it is Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends-style animation meets Frankenstein’s story meets a Greek myth’s setting. No dialogue, but an awesome song, “P:U:S:H” by Rich Aucoin, for a soundtrack. The film is about three monster-types trying to create a boy with love. The Myth of Robo Wonder Kid is wonderfully sweet and short, so you should totally give it a view!

Lloyd the Conqueror had its Toronto Premiere during the Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012. The film focuses on Llyod and his friends trying to pass a community college course to keep their financial aid. Their professor says they can join his LARPing league for a passing grade and if they win they will each get an A+. To learn about LARP (live action role play) they enlist the help of the retired White Wizard (Brian Posehn) to train them, as well as Cassandra, a self defense instructor (and the hottie of the film), to fight the dark side ruled by the same college professor, Derek the Unholy (Mike Smith).

I didn’t enjoy Lloyd the Conqueror; not only is it a bad film, but it contradicts everything it sets out to accomplish. The filmmakers were in attendance for the After Dark screening and the Q&A portion is probably what disturbed me most. They spoke of how they wanted to make a film that properly portrays LARPers and LARPing in a positive light, yet they admittedly made up their own LARPing rules for the battles in the film and completely disregarded the rules they set out earlier in the film during the final fight.

The film is just weak all over; the writing is juvenile, and most of the acting is mediocre (except for Mike Smith, who is the one believable character), and while there were laughs here and there the comedy is an overall meh. What really kills me is how poorly the filmmakers portray LARPing: the film makes it seem complicated, silly, and like something that only dweebs play. Which seems totally contradictory to the whole idea of the film the director spoke about in the Q&A. Also, if you are a fan of Brian Posehn’s comedy style, note that very little of it is found in the film – he admitted in the Q&A that he kept on script and only improvised lines once or twice during shooting.

Also, what is with the female character Cassandra?! She is a total hottie and badass self defense instructor, and they need her skills to win in battle… so once they convince her to join their cause, they make her character an archer for some unknown reason. Her whole romance with Llyod is ridiculous, they hang out and are friends and when he asks her out she turns him down until he says some over the top dirty pickup line which makes her pounce. I am a girl and I’ve never met any girls like that – maybe I just don’t know enough girls. Or maybe all the writers are guys who wish that this is what girls were like IRL.

A bunch of LARPers came to the film and I wish I had asked them what they thought about it. As an observer to the film and the crowd it seemed like the most effective humour (that actually caused laughter) was directed at the LARPers and not about laughing with them. Personally I cannot see any redeeming qualities to the film aside from a funny line here and there that can be reduced to an entertaining gif. On my TADFF audience choice awards voting ballot, I had to give it a 1.

Related posts:

TADFF 2011 - Midnight Son Review
TADFF 2012 - Not Till We're Married + Grabbers
TADFF 2012 - Game Of Werewolves
TADFF 2012 - Grave Encounters 2