Revenge of Zoe, a Nerd Culture Comedy – Film Review

Disclaimer: I received this film for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the film or the content of my review.

Title: Revenge of Zoe

Age: 15

Released: 2018 (available on TubiTV and Amazon Prime)

Directors: Clif Campbell and Marty Ketola

Genre: Nerd Culture Comedy

Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 Stars)

About: Screenwriter Billy Shaw must face his inner demons while convincing comic book store owners John and Pete to help him write a sequel to his greatest work; a movie about comic book super heroine Fren-Zee.

Review: Adventure, humour and sullen superheroines? What’s not to love about this film?

Fren-Zee teaches Billy Tai Chi
Image Credit: Pondo Enterprises, LLC

Not really knowing what to expect when I first turned this film on, I have to say I was actually quite surprised by how good a watch it was. I found myself chuckling away during some of the scenes, enjoying the ways each scene played out and the obvious effort that had been put into this film.

The film debuted at the TusCon science fiction convention in November 2018, but as with many small indie films, it then went onto the festival circuit. But this wasn’t the end of the road for this film, as it turns out, it won the Grand Prize for best Science Fiction Feature at one of those festivals, the Silver State Film Festival in Las Vegas. Now (or finally), the film is available for anyone to view (and I strongly encourage you to give this a watch).

This is a film that is a multi-award-winning indie film for lovers of comic books, sci-fi, rock and roll, adventure, humour, and sullen superheroines.

It’s important to note that this film was inspired by classic 80s nerd comedies such as clerks, although the production values are a bit higher, the characters are generally nicer people and there’s a lot less cursing. It’s a true microbudget and was quite an effort to pull off – but boy did they do it well.

I won’t go into too much detail about the film, as I don’t want to spoil anything and I would rather you get to enjoy the storyline yourself.

But this is a review post, so just in case, there may be unintentional spoilers below this sentence. You have been warned.

Pete and John wave goodbye to someone they don't like in the comic book store
Image Credit: Pondo Enterprises, LLC

When it comes to comedy films, sometimes you either love them or hate them. They can try too hard, and often this can make the script feel forced and I don’t like that. This wasn’t the case for Revenge of Zoe though.

The script felt relatively real, it probably helped that it there was a bunch of dysfunctional people in the film who were just trying to make their living in the world of fan culture. But it goes so much further then just watching people go about with their lives.

There was a depth to this film that dealt with so much more. Revenge of Zoe isn’t just a feel-good easy to watch film, it looks into the creativity that goes into a piece that you love, being accepted, the importance of friendship (including the friends you haven’t seen in years), love, and everything that else that makes fan culture just a little bit more awesome.

Pete and Mona and a surprise kiss form the movie Revenge of Zoe
Image Credit: Pondo Enterprises, LLC

It shows off all these things pretty well within the hour and a half long film. Nothing is forced, it runs really smoothly. The transition between scenes, the character development, the way it ended worked really well.

The cast is what really set this film up for success though, it was a terrific cast of skilled and likable comedic actors that drew you in and made you forget that you were watching just another film.

Each character is so distinctive, and so likable in their own way. Even the characters that have a smaller role are well developed.

The question now though, since I enjoyed this film a lot, why only the four stars and not five?

So here’s a few things why it wasn’t a five star film for me (this does not mean I didn’t enjoy it though).

  1. There were a couple of scenes where I cringed a bit at the humour. The date scene above where she mentioned that her brother had watched her pee when she was 14 – not needed. The mermaid/pirate role play bedroom scene (although amusing), again not needed in my opinion
  2. *spoiler* How can someone be so bad with money? And how can your business partner not realise that they have no money left at the start of the film?
  3. The trippy scene in the car with the drinking and being drugged up – and still arriving safely without causing an accident? I’m not too sure how I feel about approving that (but that’s probably just me being really picky and just wanting to ensure that people are safe – also doesn’t help that I’ve been in an accident caused by a distracted driver, so there’s that).
John and Jen romance each other in a pirate costume and a mermaid costume
Image Credit: Pondo Enterprises, LLC

So that’s that. Three reasons that kind of stuck with me after watching the film that I wasn’t too sure about.

But the thing is, I know that this is a good film, and one that I am happy to recommend for a very good reason.

That reason being, once I finished the film I had two questions on my mind. Will there be a second one (because I would definitely watch it) and secondly, I ended up googling the rest of the actors/directors because I wanted to watch/see what else they had done. That’s pretty positive for me.

So definitely recommend giving this a watch when you next can 😀

Have you watched this film before? If so what did you think? If not are you a fan of nerd culture comedy films and will you be giving this a go?

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