8 bit Christmas a Review: Nostalgic 80’s style comedy that is fun

8 bit christmas

8 Bit Christmas has plenty of spirit, but the nostalgia-fueled comedy falls short of the traditional holiday movie legends. In this emotional Christmas comedy set in the 1980s, Nintendo plays a significant role.

The Power Glove, a short-lived and infamously bad Nintendo Entertainment System attachment, was introduced in North America near the end of 1989. “8 Bit Christmas” is set in “1987 or 1988,” according to its nostalgic storyteller Jake (Neil Patrick Harris), yet it mainly incorporates a Power Glove, whose terribleness actually puts the action in motion.

8 Bit Christmas an Attempt to be a Classic

8 bit christmas
-New York, NY – 11/20/21 – Atmosphere at the Special Screening of ‘8-BIT CHRISTMAS’ at Hudson Yards, New York -PICTURED: Atmosphere -PHOTO by: Marion Curtis / StarPix for HBOmax -Location: The Vessel Hudson Yards

The Goods:

Jake Doyle (Winslow Fegley) is a young boy who is keen to have a Nintendo (NES), the latest trend in late-’80s consumer electronics. He and his other 11-year-old pals are completely enamored with the new video game console, even vying with one another to hang out with the “rich kid” who possesses a Nintendo, regardless how irritating he is.

Present-day sequences of grownup Jake (Neil Patrick Harris) relating the narrative to his daughter, who, like her father, wants her personal new technology: a cell phone, are interspersed throughout the film. Jake’s role as a potentially unreliable narrator is a lot of fun in the movie, and Harris lends a lot of personality to what could have been a boring performance in the hands of a lesser performer.

Without its constant assault of ’80s clichés, 8 Bit Christmas could certainly collapse like a house made of cards, but that doesn’t imply it’s callous or hilarious. It’s often a blatant repeat of A Christmas Story, to the point of absurdity: the crazy mother, the obnoxious younger child, the bully, the somewhat restricted object of want, and so on. It’s sprightly in tone and pace, well-cast, heartfelt without being excessively sappy, and dependably hilarious, just like its holiday-movie founding father.

There were times when I was concerned that the film would be little more than blatant propagandizing for Nintendo, but sequences like giving the game unit HAL-9000’s audio and portraying the Power Glove as a poorly functioning junk gadget demonstrate at least a semblance of loyalty to truth over marketing. I’m delighted to inform that 8 Bit Christmas is something you should stream and be open-minded to watching.

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