Movie Review: “Brigsby Bear”, Starring Mark Hamill and Kyle Mooney
Having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Brigsby Bear is a new comedy-drama film that tells the story of a pop culture sensation and the quest for a person to live their dream, regardless of what that is. The Sony Pictures film has a small but talented cast that draws you into the quirky and heartfelt moments of the movie.
Directed by Dave McCary and produced by 3311 Productions in association with the Lonely Island trio and LM films, the film teaches its characters and its audience what it feels like to be attached to a piece of pop culture and what it’s like to accept someone for who they truly are.
The film made me think about the Potter fandom in certain aspects. We have turned our fantasy into a reality, which makes us a little different than fans of franchises like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. For example, because of our love for the Potter series, we now have real-life Quidditch and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in multiple locations around the world. We also have numerous events and conventions through the year (cough, cough, MuggleNet Live!) that celebrate the fandom and give us a chance to share our own personal experiences with our fellow Potterheads. Harry’s universe has been brought to life in many ways, and it gives us Muggles the chance to continue experiencing the magic all these years later. Whether you are a fan who buys the latest Harry Potter merchandise or a fan who enjoys a good Harry Potter marathon, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
Similarly to the Harry Potter universe, SNL’s Kyle Mooney plays James Pope, a young man who is in love with his television show, Brigsy Bear, and takes the opportunity to turn his fantasy into a reality. James was kidnapped at birth and raised by his kidnapper parents, Ted (Mark Hamill) and April (Jane Adams). It is not until later in life that he discovers that there is more to the world than what they raised him to know. All James knows is the show Brigsby Bear, the VHS television series in which a life-size teddy bear saves the galaxy with his sidekicks and teaches James lessons about curiosity and adventure. When Detective Vogel (Greg Kinnear) from the FBI rescues James and introduces him to his real parents (Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins), he discovers that Brigsby Bear is not real life. It was almost like many Potterheads’ experiences when we found out we wouldn’t be getting our Hogwarts letter when we were of age.
James attempts to adjust to his new life in the modern world but continues to think about Brigsby. When he learns what a real “movie” and what it takes to create one, he begins making his own Brigsby adventure movie to give the show a big finish and ultimately provide closure to himself as well. I personally laughed many times during the film, but my heart also felt for James in many scenes. Brigsby Bear celebrates imagination and the power it has to inspire us in our own lives.
Brigsby Bear will be released in the United States on July 28, 2017.