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Monday, September 27, 2021

Movie Review - “Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest” (2021)

Fantastic Fest Film Review:

“Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest” Is a Satisfying Look at Camaraderie and Following Your Dreams

by Joseph Perry

The Danish documentary Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest is about legendary gamer Kim "Kanonarm" Köbke and his attempt to play his favorite 1980s arcade video game, Konami’s Gyruss, for 100 hours straight — but it is also about much more than that, delving into friendship, receiving help and support from members of your chosen tribe, quantum philosophy, overcoming personal frustrations and obstacles, and much more. A huge amount of humanity is on display in this fascinating, entertaining film that has appeal for viewers far beyond just fans of classic video games.

As mightily mulleted Kim — a grandfather and lab technician, besides being a world-class gamer — prepares to attempt to set that record, which he dedicates to a friend who had committed suicide, he is aided by a group of fellow gamers who frequent the Bip Bib Bar. They plan everything from his meals to 10-minute sleep breaks to how to try to keep him as physically fit and mentally alert as possible during the attempt. They also take on the important task of keeping track of how many extra lives Kim’s game has, as all lives are lost when the extra ones hit a certain number and these numbers do not show up on the screen.

And what a group of supporters they are! Most having achieved or working on world records or personal bests of their own, they have intriguing, sometimes savant-like layers to their personalities. Carsten is a specialist in patterns who studies Bach and works toward new musical theories when not attempting to reach the Donkey Kong kill screen. Dyst is a Puzzle Bobble world champion and poetry slam competitor. Svavar is a data analyst who has reached the Donkey Kong kill screen several times. These are just a few of the unique, engaging personalities on hand in the film.

Kim is a quiet sort who is said to speak only around 250 words a day(!), so director Mads Hedegaard narrates much of the documentary, sometimes taking off on philosophical flights of fancy that stray from the main matters at hand. Once the final half hour kicks in, though, he takes a step back and focuses on Kim’s attempt at the record, which includes time-crunch bathroom runs outside the building and Iron Maiden songs to perk Kim up.

With its cast of quirky, likeable subjects and Hedegaard’s arresting approach to Kim and company, Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest is an uplifting journey. Make sure to watch past the initial closing credits for full emotional impact!

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest, from Cargo Film & Releasing, screens as part of Fantastic Fest, which runs in Austin, Texas from September 23–30, 2021, with an FF@Home virtual version from September 30–October 11. For more information, visit https://fantasticfest.com/.

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest
Directed by: Mads Hedegaard
Written by: Mads Hedegaard
Produced by: Good Company Pictures
Genre: Documentary
Starring: Kim Cannon Arm, Shigeru Miyamoto, Walter Day
Runtime: 90 minutes
Rated: NR
Release Date: September 24, 2021 (currently on its film festival run)

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest Trailer from Cargo Film & Releasing on Vimeo.

Joseph Perry is one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast and Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast (decadesofhorror.com/category/classicera/). He also writes for When It Was Cool (whenitwascool.com), the film websites Diabolique Magazine (diaboliquemagazine.com), Gruesome Magazine (gruesomemagazine.com), The Scariest Things (scariesthings.com), and Horror Fuel (horrorfuel.com), and film magazines Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope (videoscopemag.com) and Drive-In Asylum (etsy.com/shop/GroovyDoom). 


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