Gamebox 1.0 – DVD Review

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David and Scott Hillenbrand


Nate Richert Charlie Nash
Danielle Fishel Kate/Princess
Patrick KilPatrick Ronald Hobbes/Ao Shun
Patrick Cavanaugh Peter

DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 83 Minutes

The Movie

Charlie Nash has a lot of things going for him. He has some good friends and is a video game tester. He has the great job of trying out new video games and letting the creators know what works and what doesn’t. It’s the dream job for any kid out there, but Charlie has made this dream his reality. His girlfriend Kate was shot and killed by a police officer, which has Charlie depressed and video games are his way of escaping his pain and sailing off into cyberland.

One day, while testing games as normal, a package arrives for Charlie containing a brand new system called the Gamebox 1.0. The system is unlike any Charlie has seen before in a long time, because of its simplistic design and virtual reality headband. After slipping it over his cranium, he is now in a virtual reality gaming world where he can go in one of three directions. He can take off into a Resident Evil-type world full of zombies he must kill. Or he can carjack a few people in a Grand Theft Auto world. Last but not least he can escape to a far away planet and fight with some aliens.

While going from the real world to virtual reality world, Charlie starts noticing familiar faces that he never thought he would see again; those of Kate and the cop who killed her. The band reads off his memories and incorporates them into the game allowing him to see his love again and perhaps avenge her death in some form or another.

There really isn’t much to this film other then what it reads on the back of the DVD case. It actually takes so much from other films and games that it’s very hard to call it original. The video game ideas are not creative because they are taken from popular games. The film itself steals ideas from the vastly underrated horror flick Brainscan, and just doesn’t do itself any favors by making the plot boring and predictable too.

Gamebox 1.0 is a potentially good film that horribly misses in every conceivable way. The story is just not enjoyable, and interest is quickly lost. You’d think then that you could at least enjoy the graphics since, well, it is a film based on a video game; but it seems as if they spent even less time in that department then they did the writing. There’s just nothing exciting here as we’ve seen it all before.

The final thing that will have you wondering is what genre this film belongs in. The DVD art makes you believe it is to be a horror film perhaps in the same way Stay Alive tried to be last year. But then you watch it and you think it may be an action film, but then there isn’t much of it to be found. Perhaps a love story drama with Kate and Charlie, yet there isn’t enough alone time to make it all lovey dovey. I am not sure what section of the video store this film should be in, but it shouldn’t be in your home.

The Video

The film is presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and doesn’t deliver much. The video game scenes are not well done and it seems as if they were trying for the Playstation 2 and ended up with the Atari 2600.

The Audio

The film comes with Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds perfectly adequate. The dialogue can be heard well enough and the video game noises come through clear. Could have been done better, but for the quality of the whole film I wasn’t expecting much more.

Special Features

Making Of Gamebox 1.0 – This featurette is your basic “making of” with the directors giving their ideas behind the project and a lot of blue/green screen filming since it is a video game film of course. The one thing that bothered me was that Scott Hillenbrand actually said he and his brother wanted to make a “modern day Tron” which just disturbs me in so many ways. This film is nowhere near the quality that Tron even is by today’s standards.

Audio Commentary – Co-Producers/Directors Scott and David Hillenbrand, Producer John Coven, and Editor Dave O’Brien join together for commentary that is not worth even sitting through the first fifteen minutes of the film again. I honestly say it wouldn’t be a bad idea to watch this during the first viewing to simply kill two birds with one stone. You won’t miss much, trust me.

Bloopers/Gag Reel – Can you really call laughter “bloopers?” Because that’s all this really is. It’s nothing more then a little over five minutes of actors simply laughing without so much as a blooper to be found.

Deleted/Extended Scenes – Five scenes that are pretty much from the entire second half of the film. The deleted scenes would have had no bearing on the story at all so it was no big deal leaving them out. As for the extended scenes? Well, there’s not too much added to what’s already in the film, except maybe a few words here and there. But each scene does come complete with the first line of script on screen before we view what’s going to happen which is just different.

TrailersEmployee Of The Month, Crank, and The Descent

The Inside Pulse

An original idea Gamebox 1.0 is not. Sure it was fun seeing Topanga from Boy Meets World all grown up, but other then that there was nothing exciting at all. The special features add to the boredom making this a DVD not worth your time. I instead recommend you take the few hours you would have wasted playing this DVD and do something more constructive. How about a nice game of Grand Theft Auto?

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Gamebox 1.0
(OUT OF 10)