- Jennifer Green
Review: "8-Bit Christmas"
This '80s nostalgia tour might appeal more to parents than kids, but its goofy tale of childhood shenanigans is fun for most ages.
Anyone with a connection to the 1980s will appreciate the references in 8-Bit Christmas, from first-generation video games to the Cabbage Patch Kid craze, slideshows, roller rinks, leg warmers, baseball cards, triumphant Footloose music, and teachers insisting the Dewey Decimal System will always be vital for finding information. A boy's ADD diagnosis is described as "extremely rare" and parents protest the dangers of video games.
Younger viewers will probably enjoy the sarcastic tone a present-day kid takes about the past, but the naivete of the '80s scenes and the way the kids roam freely in packs and hatch wild plots completely out of view of adults could leave a lasting impression.
Every generation seems to recall its own childhood years as more innocent, and in most cases, they're probably right. What this film shows is a time when kids had to use their own ingenuity and work hard to get coveted gifts and possessions, as opposed to just badgering Dad for a smart phone (as the present-day kid does).
It ends as a tribute to a parent, a conclusion that doesn't feel entirely justified by the rest of the tale. The kid actors are great, especially star Winslow Fegley (Nightbooks), who never gives the impression he's acting, and the oversized, over-the-top elementary school bully played by Cyrus Arnold.
Expect some political incorrectness by today's standards, delivered with an affectionate wink and nod.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.