Written by Nelson Cumming
After Rooster Teeth created Laser Team, a film that took years to get off the ground, their subsidiary company Achievement Hunter, created a movie with a stripped-down minimalist approach. There were no concerted efforts of pre-production or the filming this feature. So much so, that the movie wasn’t considered a movie until filming was nearly completed.
Yes, Rooster Teeth’s follow-up feature length film Uno: The Movie has many unique characteristics that I have never seen in the last 11 months I have been reviewing movies.
First of all, Uno: The Movie is the first movie I have seen this year where the main plot involves a game of Uno. Secondly, Uno: The Movie is the first movie I have seen where I couldn’t see any of the character either animated or in real time.
The story centers around five gamers Geoff, Ryan, Jeremy, Gavin and, later on, Jack. These five gamers battle their hearts out on the children’s card game that is Uno. However, with house rules such as drawing cards until you have the right colour or number, draw two stacking and hand swapping, it takes the gamers an eternity to complete a single round. Who will win, if there is a winner at all?
Uno: The Movie relies on knowing the characters entirely through the sounds of their voices. I have not seen this since Scarlett Johanson in the movie Her. While the product placement in Uno: The Movie is grotesquely extreme, I cannot deny that the movie worked for its bold experimentation in film that you don’t see in the mainstream, mass-produced movies.
What makes this movie watchable is the simplicity of the plot, the characters, and their motivations. All of the key characters want to win a game of Uno but all of the characters are likeable and relatable. So unlike some bad movies, I can understand what is going on and they don’t make the story overly complicated.
The main problem in this movie is the repetitive gags. I can only laugh so much at guys being unfortunate enough to draw eight cards. When I no longer laugh at the misery of players getting 18 cards there is a problem. Uno the movie is 164 minutes in length which is 2 minutes less than Transformers: Age of Extinction but only half as boring and five times better.
I see Uno: The Movie as an allegory to life itself. When you have a goal and it is tough and pointless to reach, you dig in deep and achieve your pointless goals and, hopefully, you catch someone filming it. Knowing that the unreasonable struggle to obtain something meaningless makes it much sweeter. ***