Before I start this review there are three things I must confess.
Number one: I don’t drink much anymore. I’ve pretty much been teetotal for six months. Back in the day I could slowly kill myself with the best of them but now at the tender age of thirty and with two kids sleeping upstairs I usually give the beer a miss. Tonight is an exception. Tonight I am drinking. I’ve drank the beers and switched to the whiskey. Its approaching the next day and I’m still drinking even though I know I have to get up early to cleans bums and stand on lego tomorrow morning. Therefore this review could be a piece of timeless “gonzoesque” journalism or the drunken ramblings of a dad who should have known better.
Number two: I love a long winded introduction.
Number three: I am a sucker for passionate people. You could be talking about the most boring subject in the world, you could be a trainspotter, a stamp collector, a bird watcher but if you mean it. If you really mean it then dang it; I’m sold. It’s probably the reason I love wrestling so much. I know it’s got more choreography and costume changes than a Beyonce concert and the finishes are predetermined but there is something that draws me to a person who is willing to take a dive off a forty foot cage that grabs me by the short hairs. They do it because they love it. Mick Foley had his ear ripped off wrestling Vader in Germany. His f£*@ing ear ripped off for a fake sport! Sabu broke his neck for a fake sport! New Jack lost all vision in his right eye and has permanent brain damage for a fake sport! These guys love it, they love the pop of the crowd so much they are willing to (quite literally) die for it. That’s why I decided to give The Dwarvenaut a go.
The Dwarvenaut is the story of Stefan Pokorny. A man who built a business from the ground up called The Dwarven Forge. They build terrain for Dungeons and Dragons sets. I am, in no way shape or form a fan or participator in Dungeons and Dragons. In actual fact the whole idea of elves, wizards, goblins, dwarves and dragons does nothing for me. Lord of the Rings (I can take it or leave it.) Harry Potter (meh he’s a just a rubbish wizard Batman.) Game of Thrones (lots of coitus, really like Game of Thrones.) They are not really my thing but as I previously mentioned in the three things I must confess I love someone who loves something and Stefan Pokorny loves Dungeons and Dragons. So much so that he built a business out of being a Dungeon Master and master builder of game terrain.
The game terrain he and his team builds is truly stunning. It takes a lot of time and skill to build something so detailed. If you are not familiar with the idea of game terrain think Mousetrap but set in Mordor. It’s scale models that can be customised for any type of D&D game (look at me using the lingo.)
The documentary sits nestled in the cataclysms of Netflix and took me quite a while to mine out but it’s an interesting insight into something I know nothing about. It’s not the best documentary I have every watched but I could imagine if D&D is your thing this would be like watching “Blackfish” if the rights and safety of killer whales gave you a decent hard on.
Stefan Pokorny had quite a troubled early life and D&D not only offered him and outlet it also gave him a platform to express himself. The Dwarvenaut does prove the point that it’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame, it’s about being happy everyday.
Sometimes I felt it was a bit overdramatic but considering that the documentary is about people who sit in basements dressed as Night Elves anxiously awaiting the outcome of a twelve sided dice roll. Overdramatics is probably part and parcel. What was really impressive was the way they shot the scale models. It really looked amazing. So good infact that I thought I would maybe consider having a go at the old role playing game.
The documentary itself journeys The Dwarven Forge as they set out on their third Kickstarter campaign trying to raise $2 million dollars to build a new type of game terrain that takes place in a city rather than a dungeon which is an unconventional idea in the realms of D&D. It has its up and downs but could be misconstrued as a big advert for the company. Pokorny himself is the star of the show. He is an eccentric chap and likes a good old booze. He is pretty much the Jordan Belfont of offline role playing games. Not quite lines of columbian marching powder off of a baldy dwarven head but the next best thing. It’s pretty predictable so don’t expect and Sixth Sense moments for this. Within the first twenty minutes you will have figured out what’s going to happen but thats nothing new for documentaries of this caliber.
It’s not Anvil. It’s not King of Kong. It’s not Man on Wire but as far as niche documentaries go its not half bad. If D&D is your thing you have already seen it and bought the DVD but if you are looking for something to bang on, learn a few things and not get upset when the phone rings then by all means watch away.
I am off to finish this glass of Speyburn, drink two more, have a third and then grab four hours shut eye before I wake up with a terrible case of “The Fear” and a bowl of Coco Pops.