I was going through the discount bin when I picked up this little gem for a measly $5. I had never heard of it and it had Tom Hanks on the cover and usually you're pretty solid with Tom Hanks. Usually. I was wondering if it was an independent venture he helped out in and tried to find a date and the back cover only had 2005. Which was the copyright for the cover art.
Well, the coverart has a contemporary image of Tom Hanks and fails to mention really what this movie is about. By all accounts you think its going to be some kind of cheap fantasy as there is a dragon and a maze on the cover, so it is catering to the sci-fi fantasy type crowd.
The coverart is very misleading. Mazes and Monsters is actually a made for CBS movie that came out in 1982 about how evil Role-Playing Games are. Agahst, the horror! Do not play or you may literally lose your mind!
Four college students gather around a home made role playing area with their candles lit as they become deeply involved in a RPG that is a wee bit like D&D, and when they decide to take their RPing to a slightly more advanced level, the infamous LARP (that's live action role playing for those who don't know) Robbie suddenly becomes consumed by his character and *gasp* gets so involved in the game that he no longer is Robbie but becomes Pardeux, the Holy Man! He swears off sex, goes on a quest and sees muggers as Gorvils. He snaps out of his little trance for a brief moment, giving performances that you would never guess would be from a future academy award winner. His holy quest takes him to the 'Two Towers' (very tolkeinesque) in New York, and it takes his three friends a while to figure out what the two towers could possibly be in New York City in 1982.
They are able to save their friend from trying to 'fly' off of the One of the Towers by LARPing with him some more, and he snaps to for a moment to give off another one of those classic meltdowns only to find out that three months later the guy is completely insane. When his three friends come to visit him, they can only endulge in his crazy talk by taking part in one last LARP with him. THe closing scene is worth the entire freakin movie. Its so bad that I'm just waiting for Robbie to say "hah hah, just kidding guys." But no, its so bad because alas, he has completely gone bonkers and thinks he is Pardeux, and so his friends endulge on his lunacy one last time.
Mazes and Monsters is a far out game!
Beware, don't let your children play or they will be consumed by the fiery depths of their imaginations and you will never know them again!
If I had to summarize this movie in one sentance, it would be: "Tom Hanks, what were you thinking?"