I've been thinking about making reviews for non-indie game related things for Patron-only posts for a while. However, I've finally decided to do that after the cursed video that is Nostalgia Critic's take on Pink Floyd's The Wall. I watched it so you don't have to, and I have to say, it's fucking terrible. This is the second YIIK I experienced this year.
My girlfriend, Kaitie, is a big fan of the movie and she introduced The Wall to me a few years ago. Watching it together over Rabbit (rest in peace), we watched a metaphorical journey of a man closing himself off from the world and his self-destruction. The main character, Pink, can be viewed as a stand-in for Pink Floyd vocalist and screenplay writer Roger Waters, who experienced feelings of isolation throughout his life from the loss of his father to a "lonely at the top" feeling towards his audience.
Then came Doug Walker, giving his take on the movie as the Nostalgia Critic. Well, he calls it a review, but it really isn't that? Almost the entirety of the video is a parody of The Wall, accompanied with parody songs that reeks of early internet satire. He does say a lot of opinions throughout these lengthy skits, but there's no analysis or discussion. If anything, his opinions betrays a complete lack of understanding for the source material.
In the description of the video and during the sudden 2-minute ad for Honey, Doug Walker states that the review and its music is a love letter to The Wall. Anyone that actually watches the video would rightfully be confused because, except for the The Trial (more on that later), the whole thing is a mockery of The Wall. He mocks a lot of the soundtrack to be angsty, even calling the song "Goodbye Blue Sky" Oscar-bait, ignoring the fact that the album came before the movie. Waters' self-reflective journey becomes a joke and a "random events plot" in the hands of Doug Walker.
Then again, I'm not surprised that Doug Walker portrays The Wall as a random plot because he genuinely doesn't seem to understand the context or point of much of the movie's scenes. Take "Another Brick in the Wall - Part 2," for example. It needs a bit of outside context to get, but that song reflects the state of the school system at the time of Waters' childhood and how its abusive nature affected him. Walker in the meantime portrays the kids as whiny and somehow interprets "the school system is bad" to be "all teachers are bad" and mocks that mindset - while also comparing it to the modern American school system, which is divorced from the context the song was written about.
Also during the whole thing, he keeps talking like a vampire on top of the whole song. What the fuck are you doing, my dude?
So that leads into another thing: the performances and acting are just kinda abysmal. Listen, there's nothing inherently wrong with parody songs. I love Weird Al and I like a lot of his reinterpretations of songs. But Doug Walker is not Weird Al. His songs just suck. Part of why the songs suck is that they mostly have malice in them. Weird Al's songs don't mock the source material but reinterpret it into something else fun.
Another reason why the songs in Nostalgia Critic's The Wall are bad is because Doug Walker doesn't understand the plot of the source material, there is no real plot to his parody. The songs are disconnected, Doug Walker saying "ah it's time for another sappy song" without understanding the point of said "sappy song." The Wall works because there's a cohesive thru-line in plot and emotional narrative - which this bizarre musical lacks.
But you want to know my biggest problem with the songs is, besides their quality? The thing is, I hate skits in reviews. Most of the time they're just kinda bad and I just want the reviewer to get to the point. But this? This is more than 20 minutes of bad skits, full of annoying joke songs and bad special effects. Like okay, I give Angry Video Game Nerd a pass because even when his skits are bad, he's been around long enough that he's grandfathered claused into it. The Nostalgia Critic is about just as old, but the sheer fucking audacity to make 20 minutes of skit material means that he has no right to do this anymore, in my eyes.
Anyway, going over a whole segment of the movie that the Nostalgia Critic dismisses as angst and a 2 minute ad for Honey in a video already full of ads, we head into the part of the movie where Pink hallucinates that he's the leader of a Neo-Fascist movement. Besides reflecting some real world subtext, this part of the movie can be seen as a reflection of Roger Waters at the height of his isolation and power disparity towards an audience of fanatics.
I highlight this part specifically because the Nostalgia Critic handles it so poorly, which is a pretty big fucking deal in a time of rising fascism. The Nostalgia Critic portrays the fascist leader as a vague "person you hate" and he views his audience as people that want to feel oppressed and encourages them to put people they hate to the wall - which feels like him mocking "outrage culture" and "cancel culture." In doing so, he equates these people to fascists, which sure is a fucking take to have, especially in the last few months.
The Wall culminates in the animated climax, The Trial, where Pink is confronted with distortions of his past and has to have the wall he's built up against the world torn down. It's a terrifying wake up call that brings the story to an ambiguous conclusion.
What does the Nostalgia Critic do with it? Well, it's actually really fucking bizarre.
Throughout the video you may catch glimpses of a strange CGI creature sulking around. This creature confronts the Nostalgia Critic toward the end and it's here where things just take a dive. Whereas The Wall brings in past elements for a big finale, the Nostalgia Critic... talks to a whole bunch of furry OCs that have zero connection to the rest of the review or the actual movie. I thought I was actually losing my mind, watching this.
The creatures ramble about how the characters in The Wall feel underdeveloped, but they end up coming around to the idea that it successfully tells an emotional arc. What makes it bizarre though is that they're referring to themselves when talking about being underdeveloped despite looking fucking nothing like the character designs in The Trial. Given that these characters are from a separate thing called Satellite City and its creator was collaborating with the Nostalgia Critic on this for some fucking reason, it felt like the creator was talking about his own work, which has massive "Two Brothers reference in YIIK" energy. In a video that already feels like nonsense, this takes the cake.
But out of the inexplicable insanity that is the last part of this review, the thing that made me mad the most was the following line by some dragon:
"This film's not bound by characters, it's purely a visual affair. It never aimed to tell a story [blah blah blah] emotion is your splendor."
And that's what confirmed it for me. The Nostalgia Critic genuinely doesn't think there's a plot in The Wall. He recognizes the emotional arc, but failed to see the honestly straightforward narrative arc. What makes it frustrating is that part of the creatures' ramblings is that they acknowledge that the filmmakers were creatively trying to adapt an album as best they could... completely forgetting the fact that the album itself is a concept album with the same plot.
According to Kaitie, DVD copies of The Wall flat-out just has a plot summary inside the DVD case. Like. How bad of a critic are you to not only misunderstand the text of the work, but fail to see there's text there to begin with?????
Anyway, this fever dream ends, as does the review. By the way, the adult version of Nostalgia Critic's version of Pink is portrayed by Corey Taylor of Slipknot, with the younger version being played by his son. Taylor calls out Nostalgia Critic for not really sharing his thoughts on the film and for not giving him actual lines (because of course Doug Walker has to do all the actual singing).
Like. Fuck this. You have no fucking right, Doug Walker, to lampshade the fact that you wasted at least 20 minutes of my life to not do a proper review. You can't fucking do that. Did you actually take any of this seriously? I mean, you clearly must have because there's a lot of effort put into this - wasted effort mind you, but lazy you weren't. Like, if there weren't so much sincere effort put into this garbage, I would say that this review was troll bait to drive hate clicks. Then again, I ended up watching it, so I guess whether or not its bait, he's got my views.
Anyway despite having an actual famous musician on board, all Nostalgia Critic has him do is do a cover song of the Spongebob theme, which is fucking stupid but is honestly the cherry on top of all this nonsense.
This has a very similar energy to YIIK. There was a lot work put into this, but the end result is just plain bad. Much like Andrew Allanson in pre-release interviews, Doug Walker spouts out opinions with little self-awareness or thought - like at the end, him saying that the movie's a bit full of itself in a hallway that has posters with him in it is maddening. And this is such a weird take, but Satellite City has got to be the Two Brothers of the Nostalgia Critic. I've never seen a review before that's this bad.
The only consistently good part of Nostalgia Critic's The Wall? The instrumentals are spot on. I thought that Doug Walker just dubbed himself over instrumentals of the original music, but I learned from other sources that they're actually faithful recreations by Rob Scallon. Good job, dude. I hope that you're not being paid in music royalties because uhhh, I don't think much people will be buying the album.