Misadventures of James Spawn/D,B
Dream Theater/1998/FS 1.33
Billed as the first interactive movie on DVD(DVD International released I'm Your Man previously this year), The Misadventures of James Spawn tries desperately to be funny in the various permutations available in the Spawn saga. A short introduction introduces protagonist Spawn is his native India, justifying his change of address to America. Spawn quickly finds a friendly bar in the US and temptation is placed on his plate. The magic ring which Spawn’s father has given him for protection in the world across the sea has some side benefits that ignite Spawn’s Libido. Sittings suggestively across from him on barstools are four women. Stroking his ring and calling on its power, Spawn and the viewer are presented with a choice of the four women. The program loops at this point until the viewer chooses one of the women. A fantasy then plays itself out which pauses to offer Spawn another four choices. That’s the interactivity of this disc.

So what adventures do these choices lead James Spawn into? There’s a confrontation with a loud, obnoxious teacher. Poor James gets detention. There’s the silliest run-in with a female cop who stops James on the highway. And just think, there are several permutations of that confrontation to titillate with questionable taste. Just when you thought the basest humor was available on the roadside you try another girl and discover the four possibilities that exist in a photographer’s studio. Or how about a motel from Hell? One choice in each adventure even gives you four more permutations of nonsense. And if you delve deeper you can find another four choices and even more choices if you keep picking James’ path. After each adventure there’s brief foreplay at the bar before James returns to his table to once again confront the choices of the four waiting ladies.

     I suppose if you find Spawn even remotely funny, you may get a charge out of the interactivity of the disc. Personally, I found Spawn consistently offensive. His adventures are written poorly, and the humor is bass. The majority of the sketches are mercifully short. The few longer ones are simply torturous.
     Almost every creative credit involves Ali Davoudian, so he can take the lion’s share of the credit or blame for The Misadventures of James Spawn. Ted Davis mugs his way through the role of Spawn, while various other actors give low-grade pornography performances. The production team tries to dress up the DVD with some special effects reminiscent of The Mask, but it’s next to impossible to inject any charm into the character of James Spawn.
     What’s it all look like? The video and sound are acceptable. The Dolby Digital surround is bright and not extremely active. Don’t expect any artful photography, but the special effects are legitimate. The picture is consistently clean, but in a few instances the color tends to fringe against the background. The interactivity works fairly easily. For my part I would have liked a map that could have got me through the Spawn’s adventures a lot quicker with less hunting for the added adventures. But then, I was not enjoying the experiencing of sharing my time with James. God help us, we probably can look forward to future incarnations of James Spawn. Thankfully, I doubt any of these will make it to movie theaters.






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