2023 continues to be postulated as the year in which video game adaptations will finally do justice to the titles from which they sprang. ‘Arcane’, ‘Sonic: The Movie’ and ‘POKÉMON Detective Pikachu’ opened the door, ‘The Last of Us’ blew it up, and the next ones to show that a video game does have a place in a movie theater are ‘Super Mario Bros.: The Movie’ and ‘Tetris’. Jon S. Baird’s film also proves that sometimes what surrounds the video game is much more interesting than the video game itself.

‘Tetris’ tells the true story of Henk Rogers, a Dutchman raised in the United States who, at the end of the 80s, looked for a way to get the distribution rights of ‘Tetris’ on portable video consoles, the future of the sector. Put like that, it sounds like the most boring thing in the world.. But Henk Rogers’ odyssey brought him face to face with everything from a British tabloid mogul to the KGB itself. With many twists impossible to predict, especially in a movie about bureaucracy.

Because ‘Tetris’ was created in the Soviet Union by a young programmer named Alexey Pajitnov, and he had no power over his own creation, but was in the hands of a communist regime on the brink of collapse, but still very picky about it. the national product, preventing its export outside the USSR. However, Henk Rogers had seen tremendous potential in that game, one that could stop people from viewing video games as just for kids.and he was willing to do anything to achieve his goal: the world domination of the blocks.

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The film, deep down, is the typical story about the American dream that extols Yankee ambition in a superlative way as it takes place in the middle of the Cold War. Taron Egerton plays a Henk Rogers charged with energy and dreams. An entrepreneur who comes across ‘Tetris’ by chance, and who suffers an instant crush. He’s also a visionary with a touch of recklessness, but what captivates most about the character, and about Egerton’s performance, is such sincere enthusiasm that, even though we know he’s doing it all to make a lot of money, he ends up convincing us to support him in every crazy decision he makes, even if it means breaking a few rules, putting his life in danger, or, yes, missing his daughter’s recital (snails!).


But choosing him as a playable character is very easy because he is surrounded by much worse people, who also join the race for the rights to the video game. Like the businessman Robert Maxwell (Roger Allam), owner of the Daily Mirror, and his son Kevin (Anthony Boyle), who act as villains almost out of a James Bond movie, or the KGB agents, led by Valentin Trifonov (Igor Grabuzov ), representation of how rotten the regime was at that point. They all want the same thing as Rogers: to get rich. But no one does it with the smoothness and charm that he.

The one who does not pursue any type of benefit from the video game is, paradoxically, his father. Alexey Pajitnov, played by Nikita Efremov, represents the resignation of a large part of the Russian people at that time. With having something to eat that night he is satisfied. ‘Tetris’ strives to show how hard that time was, even grayer if possible when compared to that of Henk Rogers, who also did not live at full speed but enjoyed minimal comforts. Alexey Pajitnov and Henk Rogers themselves, who serve as executive producers, were very influential in making the film show what the Soviet Union was like behind closed doors.. Although the criticism of communism is very clear, the film also ends up falling into a rather exaggerated “American” tone (although it is very difficult to resist the charms of ‘The Final Countdown’).


‘Tetris’ grows when you play spy movies, pulling well-used topics so that the story is agile. So that we forget that we are actually going from office to office and little else. That fantasy sometimes goes awry, as when we witness a car chase through the streets of Moscow that breaks a little with that illusion of “too crazy to be true.”

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pixels and soviet music

Speaking of Moscow, obviously the team was never able to set foot in Russia, and almost everything is shot in the UK. The transformation is quite successful, although sometimes the digital papier-mâché is noticeable a bit. But it more than makes up for it by letting ‘Tetris’ be a part of the movie, stylistically speaking. The video game in question permeates the entire film by introducing colorful 8-bit transitions, sometimes using terminology such as levels to divide the plot, and especially with the spectacular soundtrack by Lorne Balfe, who constantly plays with the catchy music of the video game in different styles to spread the mood of the scene.. Impossible to get her out of his head.


‘Tetris’ is one of those films, as is Ben Affleck’s ‘Air’ (which will also be released soon), which highlights all the intricacies behind a phenomenon such as the puzzle video game that, indeed, conquered the world. big and small all over the world, as Henk Rogers predicted. Since practically all of us will have played a game at some point, discovering how we came to have that cartridge in our hands or that arcade game in our neighborhood bar is tremendously satisfying. It is well worth being surprised by a story like this. And the video game industry is full of them.

‘Tetris’ is available on AppleTV+.


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