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DVD Review

DVD cover

Ashens and the Quest for the Gamechild


Starring: Stuart Ashen, Warwick Davis, Robert Llewellyn and Chris Kendall
Distributor: Anchor Bay
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 14 July 2014

Ashens is the consummate collector of all things trashy, especially rip-off versions of better known Asiatic toys and handheld games. But for all his collecting mania there is one handheld games machine which is missing, the GameChild. So nearly the proud owner, he was beaten by Nemesis, his childhood rival, but even he didn’t keep it. Mysteriously recalled by the manufacturer, which was even willing to pay over the odds, Ashens learns that only one machine still exits, if only he can find it...

Ashens and the Quest for the GameChild (2013 - 1 hr, 29 min, 51 sec) is a comedy film, directed by Riyad Barmania, who co-wrote the script with Stuart Ashen, who also stars in the film.

The movie follows Ashens as he attempts to track down the GameChild, aided by Chef Excellence (Dan Tomlinson), an old friend who has recently lost his job fronting adverts for particularly nasty ready meals. Chef and the Silver Skull are characters from Ashens's YouTube channel and while this may please his followers, the characters are not introduced in a way that would put off novice viewers.

The plot is pretty broad with a lot of sight gags and jokes along the way, the inclusion of oddly amusing sections, like the Claymation skit on The Matrix and Star Wars, sometimes makes the film feel like a collection of linked sequences, but overall the whole thing holds together.

Originally the first version of the film was available free on You Tube and I believe it still is. With the help of crowd funding this version has better visuals and sound and includes more material. The DVD also comes with a plethora of extras.

Behind the Scenes (2 min, 12 sec) takes a little look at the making of the film. Life Through a Lens (2 min, 45 sec) wherein Ashens takes us around the crew on an outside shoot, doing a David Attenborough impression. Rob Llewellyn Interview (2 min, 21 sec) has Robert talking about the film and generally goofing around, with shots of his scenes being filmed. Stormtrooper Costume Tour (2 min, 21 sec) as Ashens takes the piss out of the Stormtrooper costume, two of which appear in one of the film's sequences, with shots of the scene being filmed.

Moving along we have the spoof GameChild Commercial (1 min, 04 sec) and the Warwick Davis Promo (49 sec), Warwick Davis appears in the film, in an unexpected role. The Art Gallery Tour (2 min, 58 sec) and Ashens takes us through a humorous tour of one of the sets. Outtakes (3 min, 43 sec) with the usual collection of the actors fluffing their lines.

The Character Trailers (4 min, 23 sec), a bunch of adverts which concentrate on the film's characters. There are some deleted scenes (6 min, 59 sec) and the disc wraps up with the Trailer (1 min, 45 sec). The disc also contains a full audio commentary from Stuart Ashens and Riyad Barmania.

But of course the main questions are what is it like and is it funny? Well, it’s very much like the comedy films of Simon Pegg with comedy which lies between Spaced and Shaun of the Dead, with similar references to pop culture. Given that the film started as an independent on YouTube and was remade with crowd funding, it would be tempting to see it as a vanity project. However, the acting is surprisingly good, the jokes funny and whilst is not quite at the comedic heights of Shaun, it’s pretty close.


Charles Packer

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