Friday 26 November 2021

8-Bit Christmas (Movie Review)

Christmas is right around the corner, which means the various streaming services have once again started to put out their holiday offerings. Hawkeye just debuted on Disney+ with a two-episode premiere on Wednesday, while Netflix had its third entry in The Princess Switch series go up last week. But over on HBO Max, viewers are being treated to a different kind of holiday fair. This is coming in the form of a retro trip back to the 80s in the new holiday comedy, 8-Bit Christmas.

The film stars Neil Patrick Harris as Jake Doyle, a man who regales his daughter with a story of the one Christmas he was willing to do anything to get his hands on a Nintendo Entertainment System. The year was 1988 and young Jake's parents had already refused to get him one on the grounds that it was going to rot his brains away. Disheartened but not dissuaded, Jake is forced to come up with his own elaborate plan to procure the game console. What he doesn't count on though is just how hard getting the highly-elusive holiday item would prove to be.

On the surface, 8-Bit Christmas might look like yet another comedy about the craziness that sometimes surrounds the holidays. Much like the equally comical Jingle All The Way, the film centers on a high-in-demand holiday gift item and the people trying to get their hands on it. But that is where the similarities end really because outside of that central conceit, much of this film is about a young boy simply trying to navigate all the hardships life seemed bent on throwing at him this one Christmas.

The film uses its unreliable narrator framework to great comedic effect, making us question the validity of much of the claims being made while keeping most of it lighthearted and funny. It is certainly a family film and one I can see appealing to young and older viewers alike. There is a sense of nostalgia for anybody that grew up in the late 80s, or ever pinned for a Nintendo Entertainment System back in its heyday. And the whole thing ties into a very emotional ending I didn't see coming at all.

The best thing about 8-Bit Christmas is you don't have to be into video games to enjoy its highly-humorous and heartwarming story. The film is as much a homage to the 80s as it is a morality tale. Most of the jokes are of the over-the-top slapstick variety, and while not every single one of them might land, the overall film boasts more hits than misses. The movie should satisfy anyone looking for something new to watch this holiday, and as such, it earns an easy recommendation from me.


  1. Good! I plan on watching it this weekend.

  2. And that, kids, is How I Got My Favorite Gaming System. Haaaave you met 8-Bit?

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