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Web Video: Ashens And The Quest For The Game Child

"I'm a collector. I collect very rare, but absolutely worthless collectables."
Stuart Ashen

After appearing in the web series The Proxy, famous YouTube reviewer-man Dr Stuart Ashen wanted to harness the talents of the crew who worked on it to do his own bidding... He talked with the director, Riyad Barmania, about the possibilty of producing his own feature film.

The result, announced on Ashen's channel in March 2013 and released on 8 August 2013, is Ashens and the Quest for the Gamechild (or "GameChild", or "Game Child"), an indie comedy adventure film starring Ashen as himself, as well as YouTubers such as Chris Kendall (Crabstickz), Dan Tomlinson (of Guksack) and PJ Liguori (KickthePJ). It also features the actors Robert Llewellyn, Kerry Gilbert, Millie Reeves and Warwick Davis.

The movie is about (as the name implies) the protagonist Ashens going on a quest to search for a Game Boy rip-off called the Game Child. He meets his Old Friend Geoffrey "Chef" Excellence, who encourages him to do so. On the way, he encounters two ex-girlfriends, his old university professor, his improvisational jazz musician neighbour the Silver Skull, and his annoying nemesis, Nemesis.

When the movie was announced, Ashens asked fans to donate funds for the movie via the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. The accumulated funds raised are about US$74,000 (49,000), about $24,000 (16,000) over the goal; $100,000 (64,000) had already been contributed by the online production company ChannelFlip.

The film is available to watch for free online—here. It is also available for purchase on DVD and Blu-ray.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor IS The Title Character: Stuart Ashen IS Ashens (but he's still Stuart Ashen).
  • Affably Evil: Larry as a psycho who killed 17 people because they beat his Donkey Kong high score is still a very pleasant fellow.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Chef Excellence pleads with Ashens to let him stay.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: The Game Child is a real knock-off console, which many people weren't aware of until Ashens reviewed it on his channel post-movie.
  • Analogy Backfire:
    Ashens: I like to think of it as the bowels of the library; this would be the lower intestine.
    Chef Excellence: Ah. Well if this is the lower intestine, what does that make us?
    Both: Ewww.
  • Angry Fist-Shake: Ashens does this after his ice cream falls on the ground.
  • Animated Credits Opening: By Oli Putland.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    The Guide: The path is not gonna be easy. It's gonna be filled with treacherous obstacles, and danger... and stuff.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Game Child, which is actually a nuclear device.
  • Artistic License: The Game Child really exists, but it is not as rare as it is portrayed to be.
  • Artistic License Music: When Stuart unlocks the door with a piano, the paper that he is using for reference reads ABADGH. He actually plays ABABCB and then the highest key, which is marked with an H. As well, him playing a B is taken as incorrect, despite him playing it in the correct spot.
  • Angrish: "Chef get angry!"
  • Badass Baritone: Creepy Guy (Tom Webster)
  • Berserk Button: Ashley's father
  • Big Red Button / Override Command: Ashens presses this while Geoff is "hacking".
  • Black Comedy: The post-credits Easter Egg showing Ashley in a mental hospital.
  • Bound and Gagged: Marion
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Parodied and averted; the opening song calls Ashens an "odd little bearded prat".
  • The Cameo: A trio of the British Channel Awesome crew show up. In order, MasakoX, Film Brain and Guru Larry.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Chef Excellence
  • Catapult Nightmare: Ashens sits up in bed after the animated dream sequence.
  • Catch Phrase: Nemesis' "[You] idiot!"
    • Chef Excellence's "A true chef..."
    • Ashens' "Hello!" makes an appearance as the ORACLE password and is parodied at the end of the film when Ashens says "Goodbye!"
  • Celebrity Resemblance: "I just met Simon Pegg!"
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase
  • Chekhov's Gun: The complimentary limited-edition Knighthood and Decoy cheese knife.
  • Collapsing Lair: The archive floor, when a wrong note is played.
  • Collector of the Strange / Kitsch Collection: Ashens and his tat
  • Cryptic Conversation: Lampshaded by Chef Excellence when Ashens talks very vaguely.
  • Cutaway Gag: Richard partying in Ashens' house
    • "Free corpse"
  • Damsel in Distress: Marion, who is taken captive by Ashley
  • Dance of Romance: Richard and Mother Iqbal
  • Dance Party Ending
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Silver Skull is actually Ashens' Jazz musician neighbour, and even helps him on his quest.
  • Dark Secret: Parodied in Ashens' tat collecting hobby.
    Ashens: There's something you don't know about me. Something very few people know.
    • Played straight with the Terrifically Good Company's manufacturing process.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ashens
  • Delayed Reaction: They are halfway through a conversation before Ashens notices Chef Excellence's red costume.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The animated segment.
    • Lampshaded by Ashens:
      Ashens: Oh, come on! This is unlikely at best!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Larry killed 17 people because they beat his Donkey Kong high score.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Of The Silver Skull, who turns out to be Warwick Davis.
  • Dream Sequence / Dreaming of Things to Come: "Find the Game Child, it is your destiny."
    • Electricity.
    • Lampshaded by Ashens:
    Ashens: Well that was bloody obvious, wasn't it? There's nothing worse than a preachy claymation.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Subverted, then played straight. After Ashens and Chef Excellence capture two security guards, Ashens suggests that they use the same method as Luke and Han in ''A New Hope'. They then dress up as Stormtroopers, and are found out by security. They go back in security uniforms.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Nemesis
  • The Elevator from Ipanema
  • Evil Former Friend: Ashley
  • Evil Inc.: The Terrifically Good Company treats its employees like crap, sells chemically-enhanced junk food to kids and was run by Ashley's dad who wanted to get his hands on all the Game Childs because they were smuggled nuclear bomb components in disguise
  • Evil Laugh: Ashley
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The movie's title.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Ashens' (quite logical) reaction to Warwick Davis's unmasking as the Silver Skull.
  • Fanfare: The incidental music resembles this after Ashens grabs the Game Child.
  • Fantasy World Map: Of Sadonion.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: The dream Game Child, when Ashens asks it how to find the real one.
  • Flashback: To 1991 Norwich, when Nemesis got the last Game Child.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: So many.
  • Funny Spoon
  • Foreshadowing: At the start of the story Ashens is hunting for an intrinsically worthless toy, but rejects the one offered because it's actually the genuine toy and therefore not worthless tat. He throws away the Game Child at the end of the film because it turns out to be part of a smuggled nuclear bomb and tremendously valueable, and therefore not worthless tat
  • Fun with Subtitles: Subtitles are used to "translate" the Norfolk dialect in the pub scene into Standard English; a lot of it is understandable anyway.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Chef Excellence and Ashens avoid their pursuers by hiding around a corner.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Ashens' comes three quarters into the film, after has given up. He meets a fan in the street, who encourages him to keep going. Little does he know, she mistook him for Simon Pegg.
  • Hollywood Acid: Subverted and lampshaded when Iqbal throws a glass of water in Ashens' face.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Parodied in Chef Excellence's hacking montage.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Iqbal, but inverted in that his goods are actually genuine, when Ashens is looking for counterfeit ones.
  • I Can't Hear You: Ashens to the dream Game Child.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Averted; Richard is shown at the end with radiation poisoning.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Ashens is very confused as to how Warwick Davis, a little man, is the Silver Skull, a quite tall man.
    Warwick: "I'm an actor."
  • Insistent Terminology: Inverted: Several characters call Ashens' search for the Game Child a "Quest", and he always asks for people to stop calling it that.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: "No need to get your knickers in a tit!"
  • I Owe You My Life: Said by the Guide to Ashens.
  • Ironic Echo: Ashens repeats Nemesis' catch phrase ("Idiot!") after punching him in the face.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY:
    Ashens: "Nemesis", that's a ridiculous name!
    Nemesis: I told you, it's pronounced "Neem-a-sI"! Stress the I! It's Japanese.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Introducing Geoff to Marion.
  • I Work Alone: Said several times by Ashens, who is reluctant to allow people to join his mission; he says he is "an island".
  • Jump Scare: The Silver Skull's sudden appearance.
  • Kissing In A Tree: Chef Excellence sings this about Ashens and Marion.
    Chef Excellence: I knew it: you like her, don't you? You like her! Ashens and Marion sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, F-U—
    Ashens: Yeah, all right! That's enough of that.
  • Konami Code: Used by Ashens to decrypt the Game Child.
  • Kubrick Stare: Larry, until he smiles.
  • Lame Comeback:
    Chef Excellence: That's stupid!
    Ashens: No it isn't! You're stupid!
  • Large Ham: Ashley. You can tell her actress was enjoying herself.
  • Laser Hallway: Subverted; Ashens leads Chef Excellence and the audience to believe there are laser traps, when in fact there are none.
  • Laughably Evil: Nemesis
  • Left the Background Music On: It is revealed that the ominous music during the reveal of Ashens' secret tat lair was actually being played by the Silver Skull, his next-door neighbour.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted, in that Ashens' trademark suit and red tie only appears in the ending scene.
  • Look Behind You: Chef Excellence does this to distract Spoon Boy.
  • Lovable Traitor: Chef Excellence
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: The lab at the Terrifically Good Company.
  • The Magazine Rule: Ashens is sent Obsolete Technology Monthly.
  • Mascot: Chef Excellence, and later Chef Brilliance, for the Terrifically Good Company.
  • Meaningful Name: Nemesis
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Space Attack and spoon bending.
  • My Car Hates Me: Nemesis, when he is trying to escape with Iqbal
  • My Little Panzer: The Game Child was recalled because it was "frying kids' eyes and burning their fingers". Later on, it's revealed that they had been packed with smuggled plutonium and nuclear bomb components, and the one remaining unit in the wild was the trigger.
  • Mysterious Note: In the magazine Ashens receives; we later learn it was put there by Ashley.
  • Mystery Meat: Terrifically Good Company lasagnes: "This product may contain horse meat and an unknown substance we found in a meteorite."
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: The Guide.
  • No One Sees the Boss: The man in the pub says "The professor sees nobody."
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain:
    Nemesis: You're old: a relic of a bygone era.
  • Old Friend: Geoff Excellence
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Mother Iqbal beats Richard.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: The Professor says that Ashens must prove himself "worthy" of the quest.
  • Oop North: Ashens' sofa and the Game Child in the animated sequence.
  • Picked Last:
    [Faced with a football]
    Ashens: I'm no good at dodging these; only the cool kids were allowed to be in goal!
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Said by Chef Excellence to Ashens, on multiple occasions.
  • Present Day Past: The flashback to 1991 looks exactly the same as present day (barring Ashens and Nemesis dressed in outrageously exaggerated outfits), mostly noticeable with all the cars in the background. Obviously for budget reason.
  • Race Lift: The original Chef Excellence on the Stay Fresh bags was a stock photo of a white guy with what may have been red hair, whereas Dan Tomlinson has a darker skin tone and black hair. The Chef Excellence puppet Stuart's been using has a very dark skin tone and black hair, so the film's character was probably based on that rather than the stock photo.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Ashens on the ORACLE and Chef Excellence on the Terrifically Good Company system.
  • Riches to Rags: Both Chef Excellence and Chef Brilliance were the face of the Terrifically Good Company's products; the former was fired, and the latter demoted to security.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Chef Excellence and Chef Brilliance.
  • Sad Times Montage: Ashens, after he is released from prison.
  • Serious Business: The whole film!
    • The Professor's ultimate test of skill. It's Space Attack
    • Chef Excellence and his rivalry with Chef Brilliance
  • She's Got Legs: Ashley
  • Shout-Out
    • Numerous references are made to Ashen's YouTube videos.
      • The character of Chef Excellence is named after the mascot of a brand of food storage bags.
      • Chef Excellence's first name is Geoffrey which was just made up on the spot by Stuart in the first video he appeared in.
      • Sadonion is named after the "sad onion" warning label.
      • The pub is named "The Brown Sofa", after Ashen's famous review furniture.
      • Ashens uses the Cyber FX as a laser detector.
      • Various Pop Stations and the "Retieval Mankind's Batman" can be seen in Ashens' secret collection of tat.
      • The animated intro is filled with various items he's reviewed.
      • It also features Vinnie the Vole character from a fake game he once showed on Tech Dump.
      • The final shot of the animated intro features The Proxy posters and graffiti of the Chef Excellence puppet.
    • Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are quoted numerous times.
    • The opening to the film has a very similar style to the ones seen in James Bond films.
    • The ORACLE vault door scene is a major shout out to the "play the bones" scene in The Goonies, down to Ashens' dead-on impression of Andi.
    • The asylum scene where Ashens gets advice from Guru Larry has cameos by That Guy With The Glasses contributors Film Brain and Mike J. Film Brain is actually credited as "himself", while Mike J. is credited as "Crestfallen Man".
    • Ashens has a Harry Partridge poster on his living room shelf.
  • Sinister Shades: Ashley
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: The ORACLE vault door code is unlocked by playing the correct notes on a nearby keyboard. Playing the wrong notes causes the floor to collapse.
  • Stop Motion: The dream sequence
  • Stroke the Beard: Ashens does this when he gets close to the Game Child for the first time.
  • Take That:
  • Talk About the Weather:
    Ashens: Lovely weather we're having... for this time of year. It's nice for this month on average.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Ashens has his YouTube intro music as his ringtone, and Chef Excellence's jingle plays upon his first appearance.
  • Third-Person Person: The Silver Skull.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In the end, Geoff Excellence has his own successful YouTube channel.
  • Too Much Information:
    Richard: Well, this is the place.
    Ashens: Are you sure?
    Richard: Bet my left hairy bollock on it.
    Ashens: Thanks Richard, that's a mental picture I'll treasure.
  • The Treachery of Images: Parodied with "Spoon Boy".
  • Unholy Matrimony: Ashley and Nemesis
  • Victory Is Boring:
    Nemesis: Aren't you tired of losing to me? Even I'm bored of it!
  • Villainous Breakdown: Ashley, after Ashens destroys the Game Child.
  • Voice Changeling: Warwick Davis's voice somehow changes to the Silver Skull's when he dons the mask.
  • Walk into Mordor: Parodied: "One does not simply walk into Sadonion."
  • Wilhelm Scream: Heard by Ashens and Chef Excellence outside Sadonion, and used by them when they are beaten up by Terrifically Good Company guards.
  • Wimp Fight: Ashens and Chef Excellence do this a couple of times.
    • Ashens gives The Professor a noogie.
    • Chef Excellence and Chef Brilliance at the end.
  • The X of Y: Ashens calls Chef Excellence "the Ronald McDonald of cheap Italian food".
  • You Might Remember Me from...invoked:
    Warwick Davis: You may remember me from the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises, as well as the popular 1988 fantasy film Willow.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ashens' former girlfriend (Ashley) with The Professor.
  • Your Mum:
    Ashens: God, you're a right pain in the arse.
    Nemesis: A right pain in your mum's arse!