What is ‘Atop the Fourth Wall: the movie’?

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Hello and welcome to Kibbin’s Codex where I review the stuff others wouldn’t bother with. Now I’ve talked about internet reviewers before and especially their move from just reviewing the damn movies like they’re supposed to to making movies but I’ve never gone back to the source, never discussed what idiot gave these youtube “celebrities” ideas above their station in the first place and I’m not going to here either. Mainly because while Doug Walker started all this off, he hung up his epic, crossover hat a while ago. For those who don’t know, every year Doug Walker would gather as many of his fellow internet critics together as possible to enact some poorly written fanfiction. After his departure from the genre several others have picked up the baton and done prequels and outside stories connected to their own show, usually telling of the ridiculous extremes they have to go to to get some of the stuff they review.

But now one of Doug’s own has picked up the battered powerglove and followed in his footsteps with a free movie in five parts on youtube. The question is, is it any good, well there is only one way to find out and that’s to sit back and dig into……………………………

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We open on our protagonist “Linkara” a professional comic book reviewer slamming a door on a G-man who dares to ask about his spaceship. Yeah his spaceship. Maybe we need to talk about that.

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Let’s take Ashens as an example. His show is a basic review show, we throw the thing down, discuss it, mock it chuck it to one side and never speak of it again. Thus when it came time to do a movie he ended up spinning a yarn about him acquiring one such trinket Indiana Jones style with the accompanying review being the equivalent of the lecture he gives to the students off camera so we can keep the squicky realisations, that Dr Jones is banging his impressionable students, to a minimum.

But Linkara runs his show a little differently. See he started out doing that but then went ‘Angry Video Game Nerd’ style and had a few poorly costumed characters show up for him to take out his frustration about the comic on, but he didn’t stop there. Before long nearly ten out of every thirty minutes of his review show was given over to a sweeping plot line about evil spirits, parallel dimensions, Starfleet officers, poorly costumed characters and gratuitous split screen and cuts to extend the cast. I’m not a huge fan of the show so I’m not the one to see about what these plot lines are but I know they exist and by the end of this so will you.

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Any way Linkara gives the G-man what for and we then cut to four years later where the two are drinking buddies. I assume they are drinking anyway as the acting makes it quite hard to tell.

You know the story that teetotaler Richard E Grant was made to drink before taking the part in ‘Withnail’ so he could do the part justice, well I’m not saying they should have done the same with Lewis, more like get him drunk and roll film. Anyway it’s his birthday and tomorrow he is going to be the surliest hung over person on the internet. He claims that this is a sudden mid-life crisis style questioning of who he is and what he is doing with his life but I think it’s just the hangover talking. Seriously if they had delayed the plot for long enough for him to grab a fry up and a sports drink it would probably be quite a different movie. Unfortunately there isn’t time for that as he has invited some friends around to riff on some awful movies with him. These are ‘Angry Joe’, ‘Obscurus Lupa’, ‘Nash’, ‘The Cinema Snob’ and ‘Marzgirl’.

Now this is to be fair where the movie gets its first major point over the typical ‘That Guy with the Glasses’ crossover. While they got as many people in as they could afford and then tried to make sure they all had an establishing scene, motivation and key moment all while serving the actual script this movie took the wise choice of picking five and sticking anyone else they could wrangle in as background characters. As for the people he chose, I don’t know them all that well outside of Brad Jones but they seem decent enough, well for the most part but we’ll get to that in a minute.

See their riff-fest is interrupted by the G-man returning to tell them that a spaceship full of astronauts on the way to Jupiter has gone silent and they wouldn’t mind Linkara heading on over to investigate. Of course all his friends leap at the chance and thus our movie begins.

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Part two spends its twenty or so minutes building on this, kicking up the action, establishing everyone and their abilities for those who don’t know and introducing our main villain. Robo-Linkara from a parallel dimension. He’s evil because, I don’t know, Linkara gave his comic a bad rating? Anyway he has managed to go full reaver on the N.A.S.A ship and after assimilating the crew is out for revenge.

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What this means is this leaves parts four and five free to give us a final show down both in space and on Europa’s quite habitable surface building on the “simple” set up without throwing in any major curve ball twists that may have sounded good on paper but failed in practice. Seriously if you’ve made it this far you probably will be quite satisfied with the ending. It doesn’t run out of steam. or then try to wrap everything up in two minutes which might sound like a back handed compliment, like “the lighting was good” but considering some of the stuff I’ve seen it really isn’t. Ironically the lighting isn’t the movies strongest point, especially in the tense warehouse scene where the music kicks in and people creep around in a brightly lit white washed warehouse. Torches? A dimmer switch? Anything?

Wait! What’s that I missed part three? Why yes I did. See this is what I call the “I’m acting!” instalment. Well that’s not quite true it should be the “Linkara’s acting” episode. See we get a dramatic moment from captain Linkara as he tells Marzgirl that he’s just tired of it all by now, by which I mean tired of life and we then get Lounge Singer Linkara telling Nash all about his beliefs on the great beyond and comforting the long haired, hippy radio host. This is followed shortly there after where 90’s Linkara defends the much maligned decade with a speech that of course makes you question if he is truly talking about the decade in question or about the character himself. Needless to say that in a movie where the inside of a spaceship is decked out like a living room these feel really out of place. A fact not helped by the acting or writing in question. You keep hoping that they are gonna pull out a fart joke any second but you realise fairly soon that “No they’re going for it.”

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These make the third section a skip for me in any future rewatch and I suggest you do the same. The fact that all these scenes are grouped together with little between them doesn’t help but perhaps the biggest sting is that they are all Linkara. I mean I get that it’s his movie and all but it seems weird that he’s brought in all these people but insists on running with the big speeches himself. Why not have Marzgirl or Brad Jones comfort Nash, or have Lupa come out to defend 90’s kid from someone. Though I think the bigger question should be why are these characters even here in the first place. I get that they’re form the show and all, but he dropped one to a two second name drop cameo why not these two while he was at it?

The ‘Channel Awesome’ crossovers were getting better before they ended though they still had their flaws. This movie to have corrected some of the flaws that were still kicking around the formula but developed a few new ones while it was at it. There isn’t an impossibly large cast any more and the “clever” refrences no longer ‘Family guy’ you around the head; all problems still knocking around ‘That guy with the Glasses’ today. However don’t expect to follow this easily if you aren’t already a fan, he’s already at about three hundred or so episodes at the time of writing this and a fair portion of that would probably be helpful in understanding the plot here. Also the afore mentioned cross overs and their deleted scenes would be useful as well, apparently, so hope you bought those DVDs kids.

In truth this isn’t some abomination but it’s reach does exceed it’s grasp and while Robert Browning might have thought that was a good idea he clearly never had to watch this. In short drop the middle section and invite some friends round to suffer with you. I’m sure they will thank you for it.

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