Christmas is known as the time of year when people almost automatically become more sentimental. So it fits very well when this general mood is enriched with targeted nostalgia. This is currently selling well in movies, especially as the 1980s prepare to come to life, as is currently the case in Ghostbusters: Legacy. Christmas Hunt: The Games Festival does just that, as a longing for the past and a longing for family ties go hand in hand. For that, the film works with two narrative levels. One makes a frame when an adult Jake wants to give his daughter something to take home. The second, main story, is about young Jake and his numerous attempts to somehow acquire the Nintendo entertainment system, which was so popular at the time that it is more of a legend. The rest in the movie “8-Bit Christmas”.
This inevitably recalls other items that are in high demand, and which, especially at Christmas time, have caused many sad faces due to their unavailability – like distant relatives of the Playstation 5. In fact, Kevin Jakubowski, who wrote both the underlying novel and screenplay make one. It’s fun to draw different parallels. In both series, there is a child who absolutely wants the device, but the parents do not understand it. Anyway, in Christmas Hunt: The Game Festival it becomes clear how much the relationship between adults and children is repetitive. Once upon a time, everything was always better, and today’s youth don’t know what really matters. Children, on the other hand, think that their parents are a bit stupid. This is true for the 80s as well as the 20s.
8-Bit Christmas plot
The story is told from the point of view of Jake Doyle (Neil Patrick Harris – Doogie Howser, MD TV series, Downsizing, etc.) who shared his childhood experience back in 1988 with his daughter Annie (Sophia Reid-Gantzert) during Christmas. Young Jake (Winslow Fegley – Night Books, etc.) still lived with his mother (Jude Diane Raphael – Long Shot, etc.), father Joe Doyle (Steve Zahn – The White Lotus TV series, etc.) and younger sister Lizzy (Bellaluna Resnick ).
Along with his best friends, Jake played the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) which was very popular at the time. However, the only one who owned it was a spoiled rich kid who made the kids suffer bullying to play it. So Jake and his friends did their best to get Nintendo on any method they could use.
What would happen to Jake and friends? Find them all in this child-friendly Christmas movie.
8-Bit Christmas Movie Review
This “8-Bit Christmas” movie interests me for two reasons. The first is Neil Patrick Harris where I liked his characterization of Barney Stinson in the comedy series How I Met Your Mother. The second is because it is set in the 1980s. Now the first factor was fine because Neil managed to tell a fun story. Although he didn’t have much time in front of the screen because the story focused on his youth, but I thought that was enough. While the second factor was OK, but other than Nintendo (and the game they played), the feeling from the 80s didn’t seem too strong.
As for the story, the “8-Bit Christmas” movie was pretty clear. It has a very simple premise about how a lot of kids are doing everything in their power to have Nintendo. The film was also a bit light, especially during the time they played Nintendo, or their constant mission to get it. However, towards the end he had a wonderful moral message plus a few surprising moments that I thought were quite touching. And those scenes were what made it feel more like a Christmas movie because they warmed our hearts.
For a comedy movie, this one was just fine with a few fun moments involving the kids. It was pretty fun to watch them do things that usually only children do. Btw, Jake’s parents also brought a little light here, especially Steve Zahn who was used to playing in a comedic role. There was also David Cross (Kungfu Panda 3, Alvin and the Chipmunks, movies, etc.) who I believed got more fun, even though his presence didn’t actually have that effect. In fact, I thought his character was a bit out of place. The young cast that played Jake’s friends was mostly OK. But the one I thought would stand out quite a bit would be Max Malas who played Jake Farmer. I’m sure you’d know why I said this if you watched this movie.
All in all I think this movie was interesting and warm enough as a Christmas movie, especially the ending. The film is child-friendly because it focuses on children’s adventure, and could also bring some nostalgic feeling to those who grew up in the ’80s (or to those who had experience playing video games at the time). At the end is the name of Kevin Jakubowski, which has been mentioned several times, and apparently the film is based on a book he wrote. So if you are looking for a film with qualities like I mentioned earlier, you should be able to enjoy this one. IMDB Movie Rating: 6.8 / 10
The film was released exclusively on HBO Max on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.
8-Bit Christmas cast and characters
- Winslow Fegley as Jake Doyle (Young)
- Neil Patrick Harris as Jake Doyle (Adult)
- Steve Zahn as John Doyle
- June Diane Raphael as Kathy Doyle
- Bellaluna Resnick as Lizzy Doyle
- Sophia Reid-Gantzert as Annie Doyle
- Che Tafari as Mikey Trotter
- Santino Barnard as Evan Olsen
- Max Malas as Jeff Farmer
- Braelyn Rankins as Teddy Hodges
- Cyrus Arnold as Josh Jagorski
- Chandler Dean as Timmy Keane
- Jacob Laval as Conor Stump