Giant Bomb Review

28 Comments

You're In the Movies Review

3
  • X360

The core of You're In The Movies is sound, but technology woes and a reliance on repetition really get in the way of the fun.

No one will be admitted during the shocking HULA HOOPING scene!
You're In The Movies is a clever concept, but its appeal is fleeting. Using your Xbox Live Vision camera to create goofy little movie trailers that the game assembles via a series of camera-based minigames ended up being fun around three times. Once I had made three trailers, I realized that the only way I'd ever have lasting fun with You're In The Movies was to keep introducing it to new people and having some vicarious fun through them. Or I could start playing it naked. With four-player support, nude play might make for an interesting time, but even the most inventive nudists could probably get by with a mere rental.

The concept is simple, but effective. You and up to three players participate in a series of minigames that have you pointing, swatting at on-screen objects, pretending to run, and other big motions. They're all played with the Xbox Live Vision camera, so you'll see yourself on the monitor, swatting and gesticulating away. You'll also be asked to emote in various ways in a non-game setting so the game can capture you laughing, looking confused, and so on. Then all of these recorded clips are compiled and shoved into a brief movie trailer, as if you and your three friends are (wait for it) in the movies.

The game comes with 30 such clips, most of which are locked when you first get the game up and running. You'll also earn the ability to cobble together your own pieces. The film you choose to make at the beginning, of course, dictates which minigames you'll play, which expressions you'll be asked to make, and so on. The different trailers are nicely ridiculous and play off of movie trailer stereotypes pretty well, including obvious-but-solid bits like the 50s monster movie that features a large, superimposed lizard on-screen as the "monster." You'll find a smattering of different genres throughout, and though none is available as of this writing, the game appears to have hooks in it for downloadable additions.

With 30 flicks to choose from, there's kind of a lot of content to create, but there aren't enough minigames to keep you hooked from start to finish. So the act of creating a trailer, which takes around 20 minutes for four players to complete, gets repetitive quickly. Of course, if you want to invent your own fun, there's more to be had by totally ignoring the annoying director's instructions. Deadpanning during shots where you're supposed to act outrageous ended up being one of my favorites, and there's always the ol' "give the camera the middle finger" trick. Any of these make the resulting trailer weirder and a little more fun to watch because it gives the whole thing a Mad Libs feel, where you just act how you want and see it all come together in ways that make zero sense. As "pretending" to be an ass is my specialty, ignoring the game's orders is how I had most of my fun with the game.

This guy wore a hat! What a maniac!
Unfortunately, a lot of the fun things about You're In The Movies come crashing down due to the extremely temperamental nature of the technology at work. The game first asks to take a picture of your empty background. Then, remembering what it looks like when empty, the game attempts to find you and cut you out, making sure that you can appear on screen while removing everything behind you. It's very particular, then, about making sure that nothing changes in that background. If the lighting changes, or if you bump the camera, the whole thing is totally boned. On top of that, getting it to properly recognize you and cut you out from the background properly feels like a real chore. I've had success with other camera games at home in the past, but this one is harder to get working than anything I've used in the past. Even on the pro-grade green screen in our studio--which is made for this exact sort of thing--the cut-out didn't look so great. So if you play games in a room with challenging lighting or a cluttered backdrop that you're not willing to clear out, you'll probably never get it quite right. Again, if you subscribe to the whole "worse is better" theory of comedy, recording movies with missing stomachs and heads can be kind of funny.

Annoyingly, there doesn't seem to be a game-only version of You're In The Movies. It's only available as a package with the camera for $69.99. If you already have a camera, you're faced with either buying another one or hunting used bins for a separate copy. If you're already in the market for a camera, the bundle is a bit more attractive, but even if you consider the game to be the discounted item instead of the camera, you're still paying too much.

There are neat ideas at work, but ultimately, the premise and structure of You're In The Movies is a little too thin to recommend. If you're going to be getting a rowdy group together, and you're patient enough to get the camera working, it can make for a fun evening or two. But the thrills don't last.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
28 Comments
Posted by JonDavis

I knew this would be terrible.

Posted by majnuker

Well darn. My friends watched your trailer and laughed really hard. Then again, we're professional improvisors...soo...we might have a slight advantage.

Good review!

Posted by gamer4life

sounds like i will be waiting for this to hit the clearance rack at target in about 2 months for 20 bucks

Posted by TwoOneFive

"this guy wore a hat..." hilarious. 

Posted by coldmilk

hmm...a 3? I thought Jeff was going to give it a 2, so this is not actually completely horrible.

Posted by TaintedSun

Uh? What?

Posted by Terra1909

I wonder what the achievements are like for this game. Anyone know?

Posted by ferrarimanf355

iplaygames, here's the achievement list.

http://www.achieve360points.com/game/youreinthemovies/

Bookmark that site, it'll be your achievement-acquiring guide.

Posted by John1912

I amazed this got a 3!  The videos they put up today make the game look painful to play let alone listen to.

Posted by DrRandle

I agree with some folks on here. I think I'll reserve getting my camera through other means and waiting til this game hits the ol' bargain bin at Target in a few months. I'm  broke enough as it is.

Edited by ahoodedfigure

I wonder if the Mad Libs part of this could have been enhanced somehow.  Like it would deliberately say confusing things just to get weird reactions out of you.  Make it more of a party game that way. 

I could see trivia being involved, too, where if you answer wrong you'll be humiliated onscreen or something.

That makes me sound like I'm not very fun at parties.

Also, 20 trailers doesn't sound like a whole lot, even if each takes about 20 minutes to get right.  I wouldn't mind seeing this concept expanded...  at the same time, I wonder if anything longer than a trailer might feel like you were shooting a real movie (with a lot of down time).

Or, dude, what about mo-cap fighting game?  As long as they got the fighting part right.  Jeff's deadpan would be great.  And Ryan's Jazz Hands would cause confusion.

Posted by AtomicEdge

Well I must admit that I quite want to have a go with this. It would be very funny while drunk!

Also, in the UK, there IS a software only version, its about £25 on amazon, so its not a full price game by any means.

That said for £15 I would have brought it on the XBLA.

Also, for this to be truly amazing, it needs an "Upload to youtube" option.
Posted by ImperiousRix

Sounds fun, but not enough to make me wanna buy a Vision Camera just for it.
Maybe in a year or so when it's on sale, it'll be worth it.  I know me and my dumbass palarinos would get a kick out of it.

Posted by Snail

Who can say EYE-TOY RIP-OFF?

Posted by Media_Master

No surpise here

Posted by Splitterguy

Seems like an excellent rental.  I'm gonna have to try it.

Posted by AndrewB

From watching the couple of videos of this game of the site, this game seems like it could be a whole lot of fun given two factors. One: you need to have a group of goofy people to work with. Two: you should probably be renting the game rather than buying, because even if said group of people are around frequently, the gameplay novelty seems like it would wear thin very quickly.

Posted by RHCPfan24

I was expecting a 2, but whatevs.

Posted by Double0hFor

THIS DIDN'T GET A FIVE?!  DAMMIT ALL TO HELL!!

Posted by Godzilla_Sushi

Ugh, this game...

I.....


Geeze. This a game, right? I have trouble remembering if we are calling these things games or not.

Posted by GrimReaper29045

This game should ship with liquor, cause it really is the best way to enjoy it.

Posted by Sfrost

just wanted to say it's made by the people who made eye toy...

Posted by bingbangboom

Why did they decide to go for "movies" instead of going for the classic Nick Arcade route? I think it would have been more fun and silly if they went for the old gameshow idea and put you into these things that you actually played. I mean, how many original movies are there that will show up. Seems like a long and unfun process as a whole, especially if you have multiple people and you are not competing on the same challenge. I honestly don't know how it can grade the "acting".

Posted by murse2008

Giant bomb makes me sad when it has reviewed this flaming piece of casual shit but has not touched Valkyria Chronicles.

Posted by Usagi

I got my fill of this game when the Giant Bomb crew posted a video of them playing it.

Posted by bornagain888

I'm not sure why everyone is banging on this game, did we all forget how to have goofy fun? I think they could sell alot of game only disks for $29.99

Posted by addictedtopinescent

Seems like a fun rental for when family will be around for the holidays.

Posted by L

Bought this cheap (solus) and it is absolute garbage. It doesn't know what's foreground and what's the background. It's a big fail and hopefully will be forgotten in a few years.