"Family and Media Wisdom Matter"
What You Need To Know:
8-BIT CHRISTMAS is funny, heartfelt and well-cast. It has a strong moral, capitalist worldview stressing the value of family and hard work. There’s a scene with depicted prayer around a dinner table, and a mother wears a cross around her neck. The movie also contains references to Christmas, but no references to the birth of Jesus. It also contains two anti-communist comments, but one politically correct comment about people being “closed minded” about current social trends. 8-BIT CHRISTMAS provides a great lesson about technology’s effects on children and argues for media wisdom. However, MOVIEGUIDE® still advises caution for older children for some potty humor, gratuitous foul language and slapstick violence.
In 8-BIT CHRISTMAS, Annie Doyle and her father, Jake Doyle, await Jake’s mother for the Christmas holiday at her house in the Chicago suburbs. Annie desperately wants to text her friends on her father’s phone, since Jake won’t allow her to have her own cell phone. However, it turns out there’s a cool piece of equipment they can use to pass the time waiting instead, a Nintendo.
To Annie, the machine looks ancient, but to Jake, it brings back memories from his childhood. The remainder of the movie gets told in flashbacks where Jake is 11-years-old and grown-up Jake is the narrator.
In 1988, Jake and his crew of friends didn’t have their own Nintendos. Instead, they had to go Timmy Keane’s house, who made children on the block bribe their way into playing with his Nintendo. One day, though, while Jake and his pals are at Timmy’s, the TV falls on Timmy’s dog, injuring it badly.
Meanwhile, there’s a rumor that circulates to Jake and his friends. Apparently, the Loyal Rangers Troop in the area will gift a Nintendo to whoever sells the most Christmas wreaths! At last, now Jake has a shot of getting one. To win the Nintendo. Jake’s sister, Lizzy, says he should try selling wreaths at home for senior citizens.
However, little do Jake and his friends know that Timmy Keane’s parents held a PTA meeting at their school talking about how video games caused their dog to break three of its four legs and promote violence. Now, there’s a movement in the area to stop video games.
How will Jake ever get a Nintendo for Christmas now?
8-BIT CHRISTMAS is funny and well-cast. Filmmakers make slow-motion shots comical as well as fit the movie’s narrative too. There’s also a good amount of “aww worthy” content for viewers who remember pop culture references from the 1980s. Jake’s story is filled with many exciting twists and turns that ultimately keep Annie engaged and demonstrate the value of working hard and not becoming too hooked by the latest digital gadgets of the day. Finally, the movie’s length is just right.
8-BIT CHRISTMAS has a strong moral, capitalist worldview. It stresses the value of family and hard work. Characters are driven by their desire for material possessions, but along the way they learn that memories and family matter more. There’s a scene with depicted prayer around a dinner table, and a mother wears a cross around her neck. However, the movie doesn’t talk about Christ’s birth. The dialogue includes two anti-communist comments typical of the late 1980s, plus one politically correct comment about people being “closed minded” about fashion and other trends in that decade.
8-BIT CHRISTMAS demonstrates a great lesson that technology does have an impact on children and to use discernment with its use. The protagonist eventually learns this and teaches it to his daughter too. For all its positive elements, MOVIEGUIDE® still advises caution for older children because of some foul language, potty humor and slapstick violence.