Aug 28 2008 7:54pm

Watchmen, Tintin, and…Drakmar?

The comics community is abuzz over the Watchmen movie’s recent legal snafu and the accompanying fan movement to make the film over 3 hours long—not to mention they’ve finally ironed out which movies in the Tintin trilogy will be directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson (with Doctor Who's Stephen Moffat onboard as screenwriter). But let’s give something lesser known a little more play…

From USA Today’s Pop Candy, who highlights an RPG documentary that apparently played on HBO last summer:

“Last weekend I saw an inspired and weird documentary that reminded me of the awkwardness of youth, the importance of family and my enthusiasm for geeks.

Drakmar: A Vassal's Journey follows 14-year-old Colin Taylor as he navigates high school and the medieval land Adria, a role-playing group where he works his way through the ranks.

Colin loves dragons, weapons and video games. He grew up without a dad, but he finds a father figure in his ‘knight’ at Adria. At school, he's failing every subject except ceramics. And, not surprisingly, he is ostracized by his classmates.”

Pop Candy also includes a funny, but somehow heartwarming clip from Drakmar, where Colin describes his perfect girl (“A girl who likes herself for who she is, likes me for who I am … and likes to go on adventures.”):

Apparently, there’s also a military LARP documentary called Darkon (winner of the South by Southwest Film Festival Audience Award).

I’m convinced that the market’s ripe for a feature-length film on the players behind RPGs and video games. It’s been, what, 20-plus years since WarGames? And Matthew Broderick still looks (almost) the same—hey, Bueller! It’s time for an update/ remake.

P.S. Did you think RPGs are only fun and games? I have an acquaintance who’s becoming quite the rising movie star. Where did he get his acting training? From playing D&D as a teenager. No joke.

[Image by Scott Fischer, used with permission.]


Sammy Jay
1. Malebolge
I cringe at the high-ness of 14-year-old Colin Taylor's voice.
Nick H.
2. Nick H.
"with Doctor Who's Stephen Moffat onboard as screenwriter"

I'm surprised to see this line in the article. While Moffat was hired as screenwriter at one point, I understood he had to drop out of the project after he got the Doctor Who gig, because he wouldn't have enough time to do both jobs.
Dot Lin
3. fangirl
aha, go easy on the kid.

and Nick - you're right; Moffat has a screenplay credit on IMDB, but I hadn't realized he'd left the project. Thanks!
Bruce Cohen
4. SpeakerToManagers
I've seen both Darkon and Drakhmar, and was really surprised that both were made with some sensitivity to the subjects. I was expecting the usual "look at the funny geeks" tone with a bit of self-righteousness that they weren't calling the RPGers "Satanists" like most people would.

Drakhmar in particular was about Colin and how he had found a world he could relate to in the feudal society of the game. And the filmmakers didn't try to "explain" that society in detail, they let the members of the society do it in their own words, without editorializing or ironic juxtapositions of images from the game.

Darkon was a little less objective; there was some injected irony that I could have done without, and I'm not convinced that the film's description of the state of play was accurate. I'm only too aware of how easy it is to lie with other people's true words in film, and without a personal knowledge of the sequence of events, I'm left with the uneasy feeling that the editing may have been less than accurate or kind. So it may be that someone else who didn't have some experience with games and gamers wouldn't have been interested in the feelings and hopes of the gamers who got to speak to the camera, and would not see beyond the costumes and language to the reasons why these things matter to the gamers.

But either one of these films is so far beyond the usual sarcastic rejection of funny clothing and speech that I have to believe we're ready for a real full length movie about gamers that takes them and their games seriously.

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