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“Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story” Details How A Classic Bit Of Entertainment Came To Be

The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game franchise was an absolute revelation in the industry, as well as a huge attraction for gamers on the whole. I know even just personally, growing up it was one of the most popular things you could be playing, whether or not you knew anything about skateboarding, or even if you were interested in it. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and its sequels were as big, or bigger than any sports game on the consoles, showing an ability to break through to the mainstream that’s incredibly difficult. The appeal of this game, as well as how it came to be, is the subject of the new documentary Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story. Hitting tomorrow, it’s an interesting doc about a subject you’ve probably never considered.

The movie is, of course, a documentary on the making of the Tony Hawk franchise of video games, as well as a look at how skateboarding became a part of the mainstream in the late 1990’s. It does so by focusing on the success of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game franchise over the years. When it hit in 1999, no one had really seen anything like it, selling about nine million copies and putting skateboarding on the cultural map in a whole new way. Tony Hawk and a number of skaters explain what drew them to the activity, how the game impacted their careers, and in Hawk’s case, a fair amount of interesting bits about how he consulted on its creation. In the back half, the success of the game, its sequels, and eventually how the franchise began to wain in popularity is discussed. Ludvig Gür directs and co-edits, with music by Zave Demonte. Austin Droguett contributes the cinematography.

Gamers who love this series will get a lot out of this, but even those more casual viewers will find some interest. It’s a credit to director Ludvig Gür that you don’t have to be a player of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater or the sequels to appreciate what he’s going for. It’s accessible in a big way, no matter your interest and attention level to video games. It’s as much about the growth and success story of the sport and the subsequent game, as opposed to just the game, and that’s a big reason why it’s able to come across as appealing as it does.

Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story is the sort of film that works heavily on nostalgia. It helps that it’s also tackling a subject no documentary has depicted before, or else it could have felt like just a bonus feature you’d find on a modern game disc. The video game franchise looms large for many, while even beyond the game, listening to people like Hawk talk about their passion for skateboarding is rather compelling. It’s small and slight, but in terms of achieving the goals it sets out to achieve, this is a success.

Tomorrow, gamers and non gamers alike can come together to check out a fun documentary in Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story. The flick will give players of the game fond memories, while newcomers may get a better understanding of why the series, at least initially, was such a smash hit. Don’t go in expecting Academy Award winning non-fiction cinema, but as long as you don’t have that kind of expectation, the doc will certainly entertain you.

Be sure to check out Pretending I’m a Superman: The Tony Hawk Video Game Story, available to watch tomorrow!

(Photos courtesy of Wood Entertainment)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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