The Assemblage of the Crystal Sphere (2008) – By Duane L. Martin

When I was first contacted about this film I thought it sounded pretty cool.  It was billed as a mockumentary about a group of D&D players who are working together on this months long campaign and chronicles their experiences while doing it.  There’s really no more to tell about the story than that.  The film basically involves the groups interpersonal relationships, their current and past experiences with the game, their strange personalities, etc…

Now, I’m not ashamed to admit, I used to love The Forgotten Realms, which is a D&D Game world.  While I had all kinds of manuals and tons of novels and everything else, I never actually played the game because I could never find anyone to play with.  Still, I had this huge love of fantasy, and most especially the Forgotten Realms world, so I kept up as best as I could until finally too many novels were coming out for me to keep up with and I eventually just gave up on it.  Still, the idea of this film intrigued me, so I was eager to review it.

When a film bills itself as a mockumentary, that word brings with it some connotations that may or may not be warranted.  The word itself basically means that what you’re about to see is a fake documentary.  What it implies is, that it’s going to be a comedy, which is what I thought it would be.  Now if it had been a comedy, there was SO much that could have been done to make this film funny.  Unfortunately however, all we really get is kind of a plain vanilla look at a group of nerdy gamers who take the game too seriously, which, sadly to say, is about as interesting as watching paint dry.

While I can’t fault the concept of the film, what I do fault is the lack of creativity.  I don’t know how much of it was written and how much was improvised by the actors themselves, but there was really nothing interesting or funny in any of it.

On a technical level, the film was ok.  It was shot in a style you’d expect for a documentary style film.  The lighting was always good, the sound was decent, and the editing was clean and nicely done, keeping an otherwise slow film moving along at a decent pace.  Even though I didn’t care for the film itself, I must say the acting was quite good as well.  The people in it all seemed quite natural in their performances and were generally likable.

What we have here is a film with limitless potential to be really entertaining that didn’t take advantage of any of it.  This film could have been extremely funny, but as it is, I just sort of stared at it expressionless the whole time.  While the talent was there both on the film making side and the acting side, unfortunately, this film just didn’t work for me at all.

If you’d like to take a look at the film’s trailer you can check out the 221 Films MySpace site at http://www.myspace.com/221films.