Xavierpop Does @TADFilmFest – The Clever And Very Funny ‘Lloyd The Conquerer’ Gets Reviewed
Lloyd the Conqueror in a comedy about Larping that is both funny and clever. Larping is Live Action Role Playing where participants dress up and act out various characters, perusing goals in a fictitious world, interacting with one another, usually with some goal or outcome set by the group as a whole. Having gained in popularity in recent years, clubs and groups have grown in size and complexity. It was this backdrop that Writer-Director Michael Peterson and co-writer Andrew Herman wanted to tell their coming of age story.
Lloyd (Evan Williams), Patrick (Jesse Reid) and Oswald (Scott Patey) are three Community College students who would rather eat pizza, drink beer and play video games than study Beowulf. Upon failing to pass the assignment, their professor, Derek (Mike Smith) suggests they can join his LARP league as a means to pass his class and keep their scholarship. Derek just wants fodder so he can have a final battle and win the league record. They are sent to join the league and meet Andy (Brian Posehn) who quickly educates the boys about the world they want to enter. As they begin to enter into this world, they get help from martial arts instructor and Lloyd’s love interest, Cassandra (Tegan Moss). Together they are trained and helped by Andy, also the White Wizard who holds the current winning streak, in how to defeat Derek the Unholy, a dark wizard who is determined to hold onto his title as champion of the Larpers.
Filled with messages about kindness, friendship, forgiveness and determination, it also has a well presented humor that both supports and mocks the world it is presenting. The jokes come fast and often, and little is considered taboo by the group. While at times, the new team openly mocks Larping, they are also equally as mocked by other Larpers. There are brilliant representations of the movement, but also equally stunning examples of how their imagination and inspiration mix to make what they are doing as real and honest as they possibly can. Rather than insulting and demeaning, the quick pace and never ending series of jokes allows the viewer to enter into this world quite easily where they might otherwise have been apprehensive. Even when they are throwing balls of aluminum foil and calling them lighting bolts.
The acting is top notch, with Smith and Posehn being the each end of good and evil, bouncing the group back and forth with their plots and advice. The younger actors do well and keep up with the timing and pace of the older actors, so much the strength of the direction and generosity of the older comics. Everyone has a chance to shine, and the constructing of the film is such that all the characters have their moments to shine. An espically funny sequence comes at the hands of comic Harland Williams, who plays a Vulcan in a small but pivotal role as the man who controls the sign in sheet at the final battle.
Fans of Larping will find much they recognize and enjoy in this film, as will anyone open to a well made adult comedy. Some may be apprehensive because of the subject matter, considering it too far out of the norm or too niche to be of interest. With a bit of imagination, and a bit of inventiveness, one can enter a world of wonder and have some great laughs along the way.