8-Bit Christmas REVIEW: A Heartwarming Christmas Flick
8-Bit Christmas was not on my radar due to the abundance of Christmas movies available on streaming platforms. This HBO Max release is not as popular as the Netflix movies. It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies this year.
This movie is like The Princess Bride, or Definitely, Maybe. There’s also a story within the story, making it a lot more fun than usual. Jake Doyle (Neil Patrick Harris) is on a trip with Annie (Sophia Reid–Gantzert) for a Christmas party at his parents’. They argue about Annie getting her phone. Jake suggests they play their old Nintendo when they arrive at the house. He tells Annie the story about how he got it. We are transported back to Jake’s ten-year-old self when the Nintendo was the most popular product on the market.
Young Jake (Winslow Fetchley) faces a few challenges: his parents don’t support it, he can’t afford one, and there is a growing anti-video game craze in the area. The parallels between modern and historical stories were interesting to me. Just as his parents were against video gaming and believed they had harmful effects, Jake, now an adult, has the same sentiment about his daughter and mobile phone. Parents must say no when their children don’t want it. Effective match-cuts are also used between scenes to give the film structure and finesse.
The family relationships feel authentic. June Diane Raphael and Steve Zahn do excellent jobs as Jake’s parents. Zahn is a great actor. He’s a rare gem. His ability to seamlessly switch between serious and humorous moments makes him a truly underrated actor. These are the most memorable parts of the film.
8-Bit Christmas is great fun. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments. I can’t remember having laughed more since Elf or The Santa Clause. Jake and his gang felt very similar to Richie Rich’s Little Rascals, which gave rise to a feeling of nostalgia. It’s been a while since Christmas movies have focused on children, so it’s refreshing to see a film that captures the joy and mischief of classic Christmas films like Home Alone.
Like Annie, we are drawn to Jake’s world and invested in his quest for his Nintendo dreams. What will happen next? Which of Jake’s schemes will work? The film’s conclusion will leave you with a lot of emotions. It’s unexpected but so well done that it elevates the movie beyond a generic Christmas flick. It’s not artificial or manufactured. Every single frame of the film worked towards that end, and it feels as if it was made with a lot of love.
This Christmas movie is an excellent choice for families looking for a warm, heartwarming film to watch with their families.