THE SARKEESIAN EFFECT (UK CERT: Unrated)
Director: Davis M.J. Aurini
Music: Jorden Owen
Starring: Davis M.J. Aurini, Jorden Owen
The Gamergate controversy last year was long, boring and incredibly stupid. It is the only thing in all of human history where to know more about it will make you less intelligent. Neither side was particularly worthy of support, with feminists making hyperbolic generalisations of all video game players being misogynists, and video game players doing their absolute utmost to prove them correct.
People were driven from their homes by death threats, some lost and got whole new jobs just from moaning, the seas boiled as the skies ripped open to hear the voice of God himself say “lol get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich whore, hashtag notmyshield.”
But finally, a year on, both sides can join hands in amnesty, peace and love. Because, as both feminists and anti-feminists can agree, no matter how terrible the other side was, at least they didn’t make The Sarkeesian Effect.
Documentary and unintentional avant garde comedy The Sarkeesian Effect is actually something I’ve been waiting to talk about; after all my praise for Kung Fury and Dude Bro Party Massacre 3, I wanted a great example of how not to make a crowd-funded project, and did The Sarkeesian Effect provide! The campaign itself was a complete fiasco, essentially if a sexist Laurel and Hardy tried to make a movie.
The project makers fell out several times. They demanded $15,000 a month from their fans or they wouldn’t start production. Their own interviewees told people not to see it. But, finally, it’s out, and to the surprise of no one it sucks harder than a hoover made of limpets.
The Sarkeesian Effect is supposedly an expose on the corrupt practises of video game critic Anita Sarkeesian, but the argument of the film can be summed up as; “If you criticise the portrayal of women in the media, then you… have criticisms about the portrayal of women in the media… CALL THE PENTAGON! THE FEMINISTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL! THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!”
As flimsy as that argument is, you can make a good enough documentary out of anything so long as you argue it properly. So, of course, Owen and Aurini repeatedly get everything wrong, from the name of Anita Sarkeesian’s Youtube show, to what she’s actually said, to even the spelling of each other’s names. Plus, if you’re making a documentary about video game journalism, it would help to actually get some people who have some qualifications in the world of video game journalism for your interviews. Not just accused rapists, porn stars, and relatives of their own production staff, none of whom actually qualified to talk about video games and some never even played one.
Those weren’t my usual jokes, by the way, those are all real.
The most qualified person there is Jack Thompson, and my jaw dropped when I saw him; they repeatedly claim that Sarkeesian is trying to censor video games, and they’ve got the literal face of video game censorship on your side. This would be like teaming up with Adolf Hitler to accuse someone of anti-Semitism.
But what truly makes The Sarkeesian Effect a legendary failure is the technical bungles. I have made ten minute dissertation films with no money that are better than this two-and-a-half hour documentary made on a budget of over a hundred thousand. The interviewer’s hands, feet and face are repeatedly in shot, the lighting is consistently awful, pizza boxes and camera wires are blatantly left in view, the music drowns out the interviewees half the time, and speaking of, Jordan Owen is either the worst music composer who ever lived, or the greatest musical comedian who ever lived.
If I was ranking films purely by their competence, The Sarkeesian Effect is the worst film of this year and possibly of the last five years. Pixels was more painful, Tak3n was more boring, but this is the most poorly made. It couldn’t be worse if the filmmakers were all drunk. It is the perfect storm of huge egos, incompetence and bad decision making. Any enterprising documentary filmmakers out there, take notes; The Sarkeesian Effect is your step-by-step guide on how to completely and utterly fail.