Harry Shearer to leave The Simpsons

So come on, which one’s your favourite? Mr Burns? Smithers? Flanders? Well, as of the 27th season of The Simpsons, if they’re still in the show they won’t be voiced by Harry Shearer.

AB

The founding cast member and bass player in Spinal Tap tweeted today that he was leaving the animated adventures of America’s best-known family; news backed up by an email received by CNN Money from showrunner Al Jean.

 

James L Brooks, one of the programme’s all-time head honchos has appealed to Shearer to keep in touch regarding a deal which he turned down, reportedly worth $14 million.

But at this point, I’d be astonished if it’s money – or not enough of it – that’s motivating the actor to move on. Throughout the series’ nearly 30 years on air, there’s plenty of cash to go around that recording studio.

Shearer tweeted “the freedom to do other work” as a driving force in his decision, which nobody can be blamed for seeking, after such an extraordinarily lengthy run as one of the most famous voice actors in the business.

But that hasn’t been a problem either for Shearer; he’s been working for both stage and screen in the UK, most notably as Richard Nixon ‘performing’ the contents of his secret White House tapes in Nixon’s The One for Sky Arts.

So what of the characters he has left behind? We all have our favourites – and it’s shocking to me that the vast majority of news reports have led with Mr Burns – but mine is Principal Skinner by a great distance. Other vastly underrated characters voiced by Shearer include Lenny and Jasper – if only for his ‘that’s a paddlin’’ speech from ‘The PTA Disbands’.

 

I’m glad that writing out a blog post gives me the space to avoid knee-jerk reactions that tweeting and Facebooking don’t, because on the latter social network today I had an extreme knee-jerk reaction along the lines of “okay, can they just STOP making this now?” The old ‘it isn’t as good as it used to be’ argument rages on, and I’m actually firmly of the opinion myself that, at season 26, The Simpsons is now twice as old as it should ever have been.

Recasting the characters though? A new voice for Flanders, Skinner and Burns? Yeah, I’m sticking with my jerky knees on this one. That’s going to be an extremely tough sell to anyone, diehard fan or not.

HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ is back!

For the next several weeks I’m going to be watching the final scenes of every episode of the new series of Game of Thrones.

But it isn’t because I’m too lazy to watch anything except the cliffhanger endings, and it’s certainly not because I care about the fate of that weird-looking throne thing – no, I’m tuning into Sky Atlantic every Monday at 10 so that I can watch the long-awaited series two of Silicon Valley, scheduled after GoT.

silicon valley sky atlantic

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but my favourite book of all time is Microserfs by Douglas Coupland; written in the mid-90s, it’s about the employees of a small tech start-up company in California as they try to rediscover themselves following many long and thankless years working at Microsoft. Coupland’s characters are obviously a bunch of weirdos as per their creator, and I always imagined what a great TV series it would make.

Silicon Valley is as close as it gets – co-created by Mike Judge, it shares many of the same hallmarks; a fledgling software company, its neurotic yet relatable employees and the downright bizarre behaviour of a culture that’s building the roads toward a supposed utopia of tech with all the turf wars and misguided predictions it would bring.

And it’s funny as hell, with a great cast and some inspired interplay between them. I already liked Zach Woods from In The Loop and Veep, and especially for his role as Gabe in later, admittedly Carell-less and therefore weaker seasons of The Office, but as the unassuming former corporate exec Jared, he’s a great foil for the boisterous Erlich Bachman, played by TJ Miller, who’s on board as the wannabe-rockstar face of the company. The real brains of the operation are supplied by founder Richard (Thomas Middleditch, who played Dwight Schrute’s brother in that backdoor pilot for The Farm, which thank goodness didn’t get made if it meant missing out on this) and his ‘odd couple’ argumentative staff of Dinesh and Gilfoyle.

The first episode of season two of Silicon Valley neatly (and very funnily) dealt with the offscreen death of Pied Piper backer Peter Gregory, who was played in series one by Christopher Evan Welch until his real-life death halfway through filming the episodes. He’ll really be missed as the programme progresses, but his replacement (played by Suzanne Cryer) was pretty decent in her opening scenes, displaying some of the same social awkwardness as her predecessor.

I really can’t wait to see the rest of the series – it’ll be tough to replace the scene-stealer who was definitely my favourite thing about series one, but I’m confident that the first-season nerves are over and we can now settle in for some even greater stories and jokes.

Spider-Man comes home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spider-Man to appear in MCU film and Marvel co-produced solo film in 2017.

My spider sense is tingling – and by that, I mean I actually give a toss about the character for once.

The way the Marvel announcement reads is a bit strangely phrased – Sony are bringing Marvel Studios into the amazing world of Spider-Man.

Marvel comics news

By that, they mean that head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, will co-produce the next attempt at a Spider-Man film, (which had better not be another bloody origin story).

July 2017 will see the release of a new Spider-Man film from Sony Pictures Entertainment – but more interestingly before then, the terms of the deal also dictate that your friendly neighbourhood arachnid boy will first appear in an entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

More than yet another standalone stab at a character which isn’t actually very high up on my personal preferences, I’m actually excited to see how he’ll fit into the unfolding MCU saga.

My money’s on the next instalment of Captain America; the previously announced Civil War title, in whose original comic form Spidey was one of the key players.

Given the previously confirmed date for Thor 3 also being July 2017, the Spider-Man feature’s new release date means a knock-on effect for Ragnarok and the next three films in line behind it – with Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Inhumans each getting knocked back by six months or so.

I think we can assume it’s the end of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, though I must admit I haven’t actually watched either of his efforts under the mask so am not sure whether he’ll be missed at this point.

My main questions lie in the motives behind the new deal. While Fox is doing a decent enough job of rebuilding their wavering X-Men empire – with Days of Future Past being by far my favourite entry so far – and the ability to throw a solo Wolverine out there to plug the holes in between, Sony can’t claim the same strong foundation and roster depth to build anything around Spider-Man; was anyone really that psyched for a Sinister Six spin-off?

On the other hand, I think Marvel really needed Spider-Man back in order to meet the full potential of Civil War, so this deal ought to benefit both parties.

I guess we’ll find out.

 

Mulder, Scully and the Tracy Brothers

X-Files could return, Thunderbirds’ crap haircuts are go

I read with interest this weekend about the return of two iconic TV franchises, and one left me decidedly more excited than the other based on first impressions.

As reported by Hitfix in their coverage of the TCA winter press tour, FOX executives mentioned that they’ve had “some conversations” about bringing back extra-terrestrial TV thriller The X-Files to the network. This in addition to star Gillian Anderson’s recent comments on the Nerdist podcast that she’d be interested in returning for a short run as FBI agent Dana Scully and we could well be on for a 24: Live Another Day-style short-form resurrection.

x-files return 2015

I used to really enjoy watching The X-Files first time around on the BBC; the mix of spooky alien goings-on and the impressive cast (I always loved Mitch Pileggi as Assistant Director Skinner for no real reason) were always worth a watch.

But once the mythology/conspiracy started to add up, it was game over for the casual viewer; if you missed three episodes in a row for whatever reason (and all the rescheduling the BBC used to do didn’t help), you were screwed if you thought you’d be able to catch up.

That’s the beauty of what could be a mini-series, though; 8 or 10 episodes built up solely to blow another conspiracy wide open – and what with the mystery date fresh in viewers’ heads at the end of the original run having passed, it would be cool to see what, if anything, has happened since. Let’s be honest, with such a short run on the deck and the ability to catch up on everything these days via various devices and subscriptions, you’re hardly likely to miss out this time.

And while we’re here, let’s take a look at another TV favourite that’s soon to hit our screens, as Thunderbirds Are Go comes to ITV to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary.

I was going to talk about my initial nerves about seeing this show, but then commend the ability of former Fonejacker Kayvan Novak to put on a great voice acting performance in whichever role he plays.

But then I saw a picture of the new-look Tracy Brothers, and decided not to bloody bother.

thunderbirds are go 2015

Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD

The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic gets a long-overdue documentary.

One of the highlights of what was another great weekend at the Thought Bubble Comics Festival was a screening of the documentary ‘Future Shock!’ which tells the story of 2000AD comic, from its inception in 1977 to the present day.

future shock 2000ad documentary

Since launching to meet an upcoming wave of science fiction films such as Star Wars, the comic has gone through many creative and commercial peaks and troughs to not only survive but thrive in 2014.

The documentary features interviews with the core group of writers and artists including founder Pat Mills, Judge Dredd co-creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, previous contributors including Dave Gibbons, Grant Morrison and Kevin O’Neill, and celebrity fans including Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Neil Gaiman (also a previous contributor).

The documentary really brought home for me just how vital the comic was in establishing British talent; one need only visit a comic book shop to realise just how many of the industry’s biggest names were at one point involved in writing or drawing for the weekly anthology comic.

 

Such themes are explored throughout the documentary, as talk turns to the mass exodus of British talent to the States, culminating in seminal works like Watchmen. The often outspoken Pat Mills (in this film if not 24/7) is right in claiming some of the credit for the resurgence of comics into the American mainstream in the late 80s and early 90s – after all, he gave much of their creators their first big break in the industry on this side of the pond.

Without the supporting talent on deck to take the reins, the comic suffered a decline in the 90s; with controversial editor David Bishop bravely contributing to the documentary, we realise the tough decisions he faced to keep the title afloat during his time at the comic. Of course, he was merely trying to keep the guys upstairs happy; but as the publishers at the time treated 2000AD as something of an afterthought it received only criticism rather than support.

Things picked up again for the comic once it had changed hands in the year 2000, with new publishers Rebellion ready to take on the brand and inject it with the freshness and originality which had steered it through the twenty years previous.

Even during those lean years when I read the comic, there was nothing on the shelves like 2000AD. Each week brought visits to strange new worlds and time periods. Even if something in there wasn’t to my taste one week, it would be gone again in six weeks max. And of course, Dredd is one of my all-time favourites – despite his ideology, it was satire before I even understood the concept. Reading this comic every week for a good few years was a big part of the foundations laid in my current realms of geekdom, which gives me a lot to be thankful to the comic and its staff for – which makes Future Shock! a wonderful celebration of that fact.

Future Shock! does a great job of telling the story of The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic through its key figures and biggest fans, and is a very enjoyable watch. Look out for it soon.

The Weekly Rip on Gotham: Spirit of The Goat

I think I might start doing this in bullet-point form, every week; for as much as I can pick at the themes, story and performances every week – as well as wonder where the programme itself is heading off into – it’s much easier just to pick fault with individual things that are happening on screen, like this:

 why I'm ready to stop watching Gotham

  • At the latest crime scene, ­Detective Bullock flat out calls Dr Nygma, “Enigma”. Did absolutely everyone miss this before it made it to air? Or even off the set that day? Unless Nygma’s trying to hype up some sort of rap name around the office, this was ridiculous.
  • While we’re on the topic, Nygma has more screen time this week, for no reason at all except to tease either a) a romance with Kringle from Records, or b) his turn into the Riddler – which would be completely unwarranted at this point. I just don’t like him very much, there’s no need for that character to be Nygma; a crime lab guy to fulfil the police procedural aspect alone would be just fine; no need to make him a future Bat-villain.
  • A newspaper report on Young Master Bruce’s pinboard says “Rumours swirling of Falcone-Maroni mob war”. If I were either Falcone or Maroni, I’d have that journalist taken ‘off the job’ for good, writing stuff like that. Maybe just me.
  • I jokingly said “she did it” at the first character onscreen who wasn’t immediately summed up with a catch-all description – and she bloody did. I’m not psychic, I just know when the details are being withheld for future plot progression. It’s not good writing.
  • And from the Cliché File: At one point, about Bullock, Dix literally says the line “he’s a loose cannon”. Jesus.

Follows on from ‘Why I’m Ready To Stop Watching Gotham’

Why I’m ready to stop watching Gotham: Part 2

Last time out, I addressed the need for the creators of FOX’s Gotham to slow their roll on the fast and furious character setups in the Batman mythology. Here I look at the other role which it attempts to fill, and why it isn’t doing police procedural properly.

why I'm ready to stop watching Gotham

Gotham as a police procedural

Considering its setting inside the city’s justice system – to expose the weaknesses that a grown-up Bruce Wayne would fight under the hood – Gotham needs to set out its stall as a solid police procedural drama.

And considering that Danny Cannon, whose previous producing credits include the three CSI series to date, is on board as executive producer, you would hope that at least some of the tenets practiced and preached on those programmes would be faithfully drawn from in order to satisfactorily solve each week’s case.

(And I’m not even talking about all the ones that don’t make sense here; y’know, the ones where they can identify the killer by blowing up a grainy photograph of the reflection in someone’s sunglasses – I’m talking about the ones where leads are accrued, followed up on and chased to their natural end both logically and inside a storyline.)

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve yet seen a case in Gotham which was solved through good deduction, proper procedure (that’s fair enough though, it brings the conflict) and any semblance of logic. When Gordon and Bullock visit a snitch in prison, he’s more than willing to give up information on the pokey-eye thing killer for no more than two cartons of cigarettes. Is that really all it took to get this info? Or did they simply need to bridge the gap between “we know nothing about Pokey Stick Man” to “we have everything we need on Pokey Stick Man” in as short a span of time as possible? The story development always threatens to make absolutely no logical sense, and that’s my biggest concern for the programme – there’s only so much “because Batman” they can get away with when such things are not even in the frame.

Bullock is my prime example here. When he gives Gordon that look of “relax rookie, I got this” I know that the very next thing we’ll see is Bullock slapping about a suspect who we have either a) no reason to suspect, or b) not even seen prior to this beatdown. There’s no logic, no rhyme or reason as to why we’re seeing Bullock doing his bad cop thing, except only to get over that he’s the one who does the bad cop thing. It doesn’t progress their investigation any, which is why it seems like a waste of screen time and nothing more than a show of ineptitude.

Harvey Bullock Gotham

Speaking of ineptitude, seeing Donal Logue attempt to channel a worn-down, world-weary detective doesn’t inspire any confidence that Bullock’s actually any good at his job. This is where Gotham metaphorically slaps the viewer in the face by saying “see, this is why the city needs Batman”, to which I reply “yeah, but I’m not expecting him to be in this programme for its entire duration, so why am I even watching it?”

As if you needed another example of Gotham’s finest incompetency, when The Balloonman’s second victim, Lt. Cranston, floated into the air, we caught a glimpse of his holster with gun inside. Such was the obviousness of the gun in the camera shot, I absolutely assumed he was going to use it to shoot the balloon and fall safely back to earth. But he didn’t. I was astonished.

Just as I was when Gordon found a piece of paper in the next episode with the letters “C, L, M” written on it. Because it’s a police procedural, we were treated to a shot of him having a really good hard think about that piece of paper. It may be just that I watch a lot of cop shows but I immediately assumed it was a list of surname initials. And it was. Fair enough, I didn’t know whose, but I definitely would’ve started looking for a match sooner than Jim did.

My argument here is this: if Gotham is a police procedural, then it’s one of the most watered-down and ineffectual ones I’ve ever watched. But if it isn’t, then what the hell else is it supposed to be?

Gotham has fast dropped to the bottom of my priority list of viewing. Business really needs to pick up soon if I’m to continue watching. And by that I mean, it needs to know which tone to concentrate on. More Batman villains? Great, chuck ‘em in, but set them up properly. Police drama? Great, but give them something more difficult to crack and don’t set the entire police force up as incompetent. I know Gotham needs a hero, but it’s going to need one sooner than I thought at this rate – which is contrary to the whole point of its existence.

Why I’m ready to stop watching Gotham: Part 1

Why the police-led Batman prequel fails on both counts.

When I found out that FOX was going to create a TV series chronicling the early career of detective James Gordon in Gotham City, I was initially sort of okay with it.

why I'm ready to stop watching Gotham

With DC already enjoying a lot of success through Smallville and Arrow, and The Flash into its first season, TV is the one place in which Marvel is forced to play catch-up.

And while Agents of SHIELD took a good few episodes of its first season to really settle into a good groove – and did it ever after the initial teething problems – I thought we’d be safe with a Gordon-led police procedural that shows glimpses of the world it will become.

After all, with Gotham being specifically pitched as “the early days”, the programme makers would’ve simply built up the life and career of an honest cop fighting corruption in the city where a hero would eventually rise – years down the line – to try and end it for good.

But only four episodes into its run on Channel 5 and I’m almost ready to bin Gotham, for two main reasons in which it fails to keep me interested – the two main areas in which it attempts to hook viewers.

As a precursor to Batman’s mythology it’s not only failing to set up its future supervillains properly, but in the police procedural side of things it barely even holds together believably – which can’t all be down to the somewhat supernatural roots of Batman’s universe because – like I said – they’re not being planted properly.

Batman mythology

Cobblepot. Falcone. Kyle. Nigma. Ivy. Five episodes in and we’ve already seen five pretty big components of Batman’s universe, even though Batman himself is years away. Even the introduction of young Bruce Wayne – whose parents’ murder is admittedly a good place to kick things off in the timeline – feels somewhat crammed in just to put over the city’s plight.

It being a Batman prequel, we do need to be made aware of the universe this takes place in. However, and more importantly, we’ve begun watching with full knowledge that it’s a Batman prequel, which makes cramming ALL these people in such a needless task.

Gotham is running roughshod over all the intricacies of setting up long-running character development in favour of some absolutely appalling telegraphing just to stitch it all together at far too brisk a pace. Without a gradual and cohesive set-up to and build-up of the universe – just like we got with Shield, and at the risk of boring viewers – it’s not going to make a lick of sense somewhere down the line. Not far down the line, at that.

The line “we don’t have time for your riddles, Nigma” was one of the very first – and very worst – offenders here. Dr Nigma is one of “the boys in the lab” at Gotham PD, the equivalent of NCIS’ Abby Sciuto or Greg Sanders in the first few seasons of the original CSI. It’s Nigma’s job to come in at certain points and break down to detectives Gordon and Bullock exactly what fibres were found on the vic, or what substances can be added to the chemicals at the factory they’ve busted to make explosives. It’s a component of most police procedurals and would’ve been filled by any new character if Nigma hadn’t assumed the role.

However, with the offending line being uttered minutes into Episode One, there’s no mystery left about him. Anyone who knows who Edward E. Nigma is, knows that one day he’ll be The Riddler, which means he may as well have a question mark drawn on a sign hung around his neck for all future appearances, in which he’s actually performing a key function of modern cop shows. It’s a horrible signposting of what’s to come.

Oswald Cobblepot

Oswald Cobblepot Gotham

Oswald Cobblepot’s entry into the universe was somehow even less subtle; he doesn’t like being called Penguin – not that we’ve got any reason why he even has that unfortunate nickname when introduced. And part of Gordon’s initiation into the seedy dealings of GCPD was to kill Cobblepot – his not doing so signifies that he’s a good man, and telling Cobblepot never to come back to Gotham was a good thing to do.

And had the storyliners had Cobblepot re-emerge at the end of the season as a wronged man seeking revenge with various criminal elements in tow, it would’ve been a good gap and worth the wait for his return as a fully-turned Penguin, ready for a good skirmish in the future. But oh look, there he is. In Episode Two. Being an over-the-top psychopath because he doesn’t like being called Penguin.

Cobblepot’s murdering the men who he hired to rob Maroni’s restaurant was a nice twist, but a move which would take some nerve and considerable resources to pull off. Given that Cobblepot has not been offscreen for more than two seconds per episode, we have no idea where he acquired either of those things – just that he’s a bit of a nutter. This would’ve worked beautifully with The Joker – precisely because he is a lot of a nutter and we can forgive the lack of foreshadowing for him – but did not square at all with Cobblepot’s victimised demeanour.

(Oh god, they’re going to absolutely ruin the Joker, aren’t they.)

Gotham’s creators must have been extremely worried about an early cancellation, so crammed as much in as they could to ensure that viewers would return for subsequent episodes.

The only danger now is that, as they run out of characters, even more of Batman’s future foes will need to be brought in to face off against Gordon. But as long as Gordon’s trying to stay alive in his own job thanks to endless corruption and mob violence, the villains will have even less time for their own character development.

Next time, I’ll look at the police procedural side of Gotham and ask whether it’s even supposed to be one.

Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer reaction

Thoughts on the first, second and third viewings of the new Marvel Studios film trailer, coming May 2015.

You’ve watched the trailer already. Of course you have. I’ve watched it three times now (but to be fair I was taking notes for this article the last two times.)

So what did we make of the Age of Ultron trailer?

avengers age of ultron poster

Well first off, it looks brilliant; of course it does, it’s a) a Marvel Studios movie, and b) a film directed by Joss “Is Boss” Whedon. Naturally, May 2015 can’t come soon enough for a lot of us.

Because while it looks as outstanding as ever, it’s also laying down some very intriguing hints about the future of the MCU. Here are a few things that got me thinking.

 

“I’ve got no strings”

It’s a simple enough phrase popularised by a puppet some 70-odd years ago (in a nod to new parent company Disney) but the performance of the song heard throughout the trailer – eerie as all hell – might apply not only to Ultron’s becoming sentient but also to his serving no master. The Avengers are sworn to protect Earth at all costs, but Ultron has no such bounds.

Quick note here: I’m not a big James Spader fan – the most I’ve seen of him is his run as Bobby in The Office ­– but somewhere along his career he took an extremely sinister edge that’s made him perfect for the role of a very dangerous Marvel villain. I’m really looking forward to seeing what sort of “batshit crazy” he’ll bring to the table.

Civil War

It’s annoying, but even before we’ve seen AoU in its full-length format, we’re getting tasty morsels of information about more upcoming instalments of the MCU; namely that Captain America 3 could be the start of the Marvel Civil War which saw Tony Stark and Steve Rogers on opposing sides in the comics.

To get from Age of Ultron into a Civil War we’ll need definitive proof that what The Avengers have going for them isn’t working. The team barely survived the Battle of New York, and what with HYDRA making its presence known in The Winter Soldier and the first season of Agents of SHIELD, there could be further disruption ahead.

In the trailer, Stark appears to tell Fury and Black Widow that “it’s the end of the path I started us on”. And what with us also seeing Cap’s shield laying broken in half, perhaps it literally is the end for someone.

And then there’s Bucky, another Cap in the comics, who did a post-credits pop-up in The Winter Soldier…

Two new recruits

In the mid-credits scene of The Winter Soldier (it’s a scientific fact that cinema cleaners are now 10% less productive because people stay until the end), we saw Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch being held by a higher-up at HYDRA. Assuming even that they’re not keen on being caged up like that, we still don’t know where these new characters’ loyalties lie. While we assume they won’t be quick to join The Avengers, perhaps they play a big part in Ultron’s plans.

(We can also assume that their father Magneto won’t be joining in the fun.)

 

What did you make of the trailer? Give me a score of 1 to PSYCHED.

 

Indie Game: The Movie review

Watching Indie Game: The Movie gave me hope that there’s more to gaming than glorified roster updates on FIFA, and bigger guns on Call of Duty releases.

It follows three game development companies and their creators at various stages of producing and releasing their independent games, free of creative interference but saddled with financial pressures as they pull all-nighters, fret over marketing and reflect on their experiences.

Indie Game The Movie review

Edmund and Tommy are a couple of guys working on a game called Super Meat Boy. They want to create a game that’s a direct homage to the stuff they grew up playing. Phil is the visionary behind a game called Fez which allows you to experience a mix of 2- and 3D gaming, while Jonathan is filmed looking back on the time he spent creating Braid, the positive impact it had on the gaming community and his own insecurities about fans not ‘getting’ the message he wanted to put out through the game, philosophically and artistically, despite its extremely positive reviews.

I’ve been left pretty soured lately with two things about video gaming: the big-business industry having its wicked way with hardworking talent, and the strange punchline that games journalism is becoming, where everyone is walking on eggshells around each other.

The reason I loved this film so much is because it provides an honest look at both sides of the coin. The drama that’s seeping into the lives of J-Blow and Phil Fish, one a misunderstood artist and the other dealing with the rockstar mentality of indie cred; and the honest portrayal of two clever and conscientious guys fearful that their hard work will be for nothing in the bigger picture.

In this film I see Jonathan Blow as the wise head on the youthful shoulders. His role is as a spiritual mentor who’s seen everything that the other featured companies are going through and much more besides. He comes across as insecure because his previous attempts to reach out and understand the way his work is viewed by others backfired on him, so he’s careful and softly spoken about his lot in life.

Phil Fish has a long way to go just to bring it back to ‘misunderstood’. His acrimonious split from a business partner has him hurting too, as does a break-up and a family medical drama, but he still comes across in the film as a little arrogant to me. He’s obviously under a lot of pressure during the course of this film, especially as he prepares to exhibit at PAX – without even being sure he’s legally allowed to thanks to the ex-business partner – but from what I’ve read about the man’s poor attitude since the film’s release, maybe there is something more to it.

But my favourite story of the three has to be the Meat Boy boys, because they are just so in love with what they’re doing, that by the time the love is beginning to run out, it floods in from everywhere else as their new legions of fans get involved in sharing their love for the game online, which is just the tonic for our heroes’ flagging spirits.

Tommy is an excitable dude when he wants to be, and it’s really sad when things begin to get away from him. He’s clearly in a physically and emotionally bad way at one point and I really just wanted to give him a hug. Edmund is an absolute inspiration as he tells the story of the game he’d previously created, Aether, as a response to the loneliness he used to feel as a geeky kid with family problems. I was really moved by this as, once again (emo alert) it’s something I can really relate to. I just really wanted these guys to win one. I’m really glad they did. Spoiler alert: Super Meat Boy is an immensely successful and popular game. You might have heard of it.

I’ve also got to give special praise to the soundtrack, which is just effin’ gorgeous.

Jim Guthrie has done a beautiful job here of setting the mood throughout each scene of the film, and it’s been pretty much looping on my iPod at work.

I’d definitely recommend Indie Game: The Movie to anyone curious to know what happens under the surface of the gaming industry and how these guys get on under the radar of major studio operations, left to their own devices to sink or swim on their own merits. Call of FIFA is but the tip of the iceberg; here’s the rest.

Oh, and here’s an amusing trailer remix if you like action movies too.