A Non-Gamer goes “Free Guy”

LEVEL 1 — HE SHOOTS

So, true confessions — I’ve never even held a video game controller. No X-Box, Nintendo, or Wii. No Fortnite, League of Legends, or Grand Theft Auto. I’m no anti-gamer, I’ve just had too much other stuff to do to make the time. Then what time I did have filled up with marriage, family, writing, scripts, movie work, PTA, exercise, volunteering and pets so that, well, here we are. And though I love watching and writing action and thriller movies and TV shows, I don’t like violence that involves my participation. Video games often require that, so, again, not my cup of tea.

Then along comes Free Guy. I knew of the film because my husband, Scott, worked on it as the Production Supervisor. Our daughter (a rising high school junior at the time) and I went to visit him in Boston during filming. Not only did we make some amazing, lifelong memories in that historic, bustling city, but we got to visit the set, meet some of the cast, and see some of the action being filmed. Actually – some of the COOLEST action including the scene where Guy walks out with the glasses and sees the 360 gamer action going on all around him.

LEVEL 2 – HE SCORES

I’ve worked on enough movies to know how much things can change in post, but this movie BLEW ME AWAY when it released last week. And there’s a good reason it waited to (safely) release in theaters first. It is a MAJOR SPECTACLE that requires a huge silver screen and great surround sound – at least for the first viewing.

While I loved the visual effects and the unbelievably rich gaming world the filmmakers created, what I loved most, plain and simple, was Guy (Ryan Reynolds). He’s coded to be an NPC (non player character) bank teller who gets coffee, has a best friend and a goldfish, and wears blue shirts every day. But his secret AI coding also allows him to grow, evolve, and learn what his world is really about. He meets Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer), the woman of his dreams, when her Avatar drops in to find that part of the game she created before nefarious Antwan (Taika Waititi) removes it. Guy helps her, despite Antwan’s reboot and server setbacks, and winds up saving the day just in time. He also inspires the other NPC’s to help, and to pursue their hidden passions.

FINAL LEVEL – GAME ON

Guy follows a heart he didn’t know he had. He helps the girl he didn’t even know existed. He earns needed points by choosing to help others and do good instead of causing harm. Guy shows us that we do have a choice in life. That we can pursue those dreams and passions buried inside. That love is about letting go, not holding on. That money is not the greatest treasure. And that good can defeat evil, no matter the world.

My husband is off on another movie, so our daughter and I saw “Free Guy” the day it opened. We LOVED every second! Dining afterward at a cool artistic cafe, we relished the Boston memories this movie brought back: our fun road trip from Florida, amazing music, incredible food, historical sites, college tours, her Pre-College Program at Harvard, 4th of July Boston Pops style, Hugh Jackman’s “The Man. The Music. The Show” world tour, final edits to my first novel, and the love, laughs, discoveries and joy our family shared along the way.

Watching this witty, unique, sci-fi video gaming movie really brought home Guy’s mantra — “Don’t have a good day. Have a GREAT day.” No controller needed.

 

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