Karnov Redux | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper



If the 1950s was the era of the Angry Young Man, this is the time of the Tired Old Man in cinema. Bill Murray, Clint Eastwood and Paul Giamatti lead the way, but even Kevin Bacon, Ethan Hawke and family fare including The Incredibles are reckoning with lives unfulfilled. Now local filmmaker Adam Taylor adds to the comedic end of the trend's weary ranks with his latest offering, "Karnov."



Don't remember the eponymous video game? "It was so ridiculous," Taylor recalls. "It's about a circus strongman who can breathe fire, yet it's set in this medieval, dinosaur-infested village. There are so many aspects of the game that made me laugh, like, where did he get the circus job from?"


Although he had long threatened to make the movie as a joke, it was inspiration from an unexpected source that tipped the scale for Taylor. "I came to the realization that my father could look very much like Karnov if I gave him a bald head and a mustache. At that moment I thought, 'I have to do this because it's too funny not to see my father as Karnov.'"



Karnov's cinematic debut finds him middle-aged and overweight. After getting laughed out of a superhero open-call when evil returns to his village, he trains with his old game-console colleagues to get back into fighting form. Link from Zelda, Castlevania's Simon Belmont, even Paperboy -- and of course, Mario and Luigi -- all make appearances.


Taylor, whose previous indie efforts include the 2003 comedy Bundle of Joy, initially expected that his new half-hour film would find a receptive audience only amongst friends, but he discovered there was a broader audience hungry to revisit the 8-bit heroes of its youth. When South Side arcade Games N'At hosts the "Karnov" premiere, enthusiasts will get their fill of arcade games. They'll also get a glimpse of the film's star. "He's totally insane," his son warns. "Legitimately crazy. He's going to the premiere in character."

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