Movie Review: Level Up

Are you ready for something fun and smart to watch with the kids? Then check out Level Up (Cartoon Network, November 23rd, 7:00 PM).

Level Up deals with three teenagers: a jock, a rebel, and a geek (only a a princess and a basketcase away from a full-fledged Breakfast Club). Though they are not friends in real life, they play as a team in the online video game Conqueror Of All Worlds, unbeknownst to each other. After they accidentally open a portal that allows the monsters and bosses from the game to enter the real world, they are forced to band together in real life in order to save their town.

Level Up is a lot of fun. The FX in the film are surprisingly good for a television movie and are on par with much of the stuff you'd find in theaters. Although some of the characters are more two-dimensional than others, the dialog is clever and makes up for some of the more cliched character traits. If you or your kids are gamers, you'll find plenty to love. My favorite scene in the movie is when the three guys are trying to use their weapons in the real world for the first time and have no idea how to do so because up until then, they've always manipulated them by clicking a mouse. And even if video games aren't your bag, there are plenty of pop culture references to hold your attention while your kids watch the movie, with nods to Jaws, Scooby, Friday The 13th, WarGames, and others.

Level Up is a great little movie. I loved it, and so did my daughter. Cartoon Network is producing a television series based on the characters in Level Up, so this looks like the start of a great franchise.

Level Up premieres on Cartoon Network on Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00 PM ET.

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