Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Movie Review - Series 7: The Contenders

Now this was a movie that I accidentally watched last night at about midnight. Granted, I had set it to record earlier in the evening, but it was as I was showing Tamara how to use some of the features of the new Time Warner DVR box that this movie started recording right in the middle of the lesson. We just started watching it and before long, we'd abandoned DVR lessons and settled in to finish watching.

The basic premise of this film is that we are watching the marathon of a reality TV show called "The Contenders, Series 7". This reality show randomly selects 6 people from a random town, gives them weapons, and forces them to hunt each other down until only one is left alive. This is apparently a government sanctioned and enforced TV show. So camera crews follow the various contenders around and presents their stories.

The film is shot and presented in video and looks like an authentic reality show. It's like a cross between Cops, Real World, and the Running Man.

What's most interesting about this is that this film was produced in 2001, predating (slightly) the success of Survivor. But it was prescient in its prediction of how reality shows would become more and more extreme. We haven't quite gotten to the point to where a deathmatch reality show is a, um, reality, but we're close.

The movie started off great and had our attention from the first moment. It didn't explain everything at first and just treated you basically as if you had just flipped the channel to a show that had already been on for years and you just hadn't ever seen it before. It seemed to have been done in a semi-improv style and this worked perfectly for most of the first part of the film.

It's only during the second half of the film when they had to steer the plot towards the more convoluted aspects of the story that it started to fall apart a bit. I find this is the case in most mockumentary-style shows is that the movement toward the pre-written story elements always come across as a bit clunky and forced. Such was the case with Series 7: The Contenders.

Overall, it was watchable, even during the contrived parts. An interesting experiment.

Final verdict: 6 and a half teeth

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