Pretending I’m a Superman – Documentary Review
Follow Genre: Documentary
Director: Ludvig Gür
Distributor: Wood Entertainment
Duration: 72 minutes

Pretending I’m a Superman – Documentary Review

Site Score
6.8
Good: Covers pretty much everything around Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
Bad: Goes off on a tangent at times, lacks some depth
User Score
6.3
(6 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.3/10 (6 votes cast)

Oh, man. Even if you never played it yourself, you can’t have lived in the ’90s and the ’00s without having heard of Tony Hawk. The same goes for his game, Tony Hawk Pro Skater! The gaming world received the news that the insanely popular Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2 are being remade, which is something that the series could use really well. The last few parts have not been received that well, and this could be just what skating needs to come to life again in games. Since it used to be such a popular and unique game, this was enough reason for Ludvig Gür to direct a documentary about it all. So we watched Pretending I’m a Superman, the Tony Hawk Pro Skater documentary.

Here’s a documentary that basically shouts ‘Hey, look at me!’ just by the theme it involves. It’s about a game everybody grew to love, so to have a sudden background story in 2020 that’s reminiscent of the amazing ’90s (and decades before and after) is actually great. No more nasty viruses or world problems, just you and your game. One of the things Pretending I’m a Superman does right instantly is mixing content from the ’80s and ’90s that you probably don’t remember or have never seen. It’s mixed with skaters talking. And not just any skaters, but those who were closely involved in the process and even got their player models in the game. People such as Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Rodney Mullen, Chad Muska, Bob Burnquist, Jamie Thomas, Eric Koston, and Aaron Homoki. 

Time has passed and it’s clear to see when all the skaters get to be on screen. At times it even feels a bit like old farts talking about something ”cool kids like”, and it’s easy to forget these used to be, or still are, some of the big legends of the skating world. Perhaps this is not because of the people though, but because of the feeling you got while playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater is not really that included in Pretending I’m a Superman. Yes, they have the music that made Tony Hawk Pro Skater work there (the title is based on Goldfinger’s legendary song), and some footage as well, but the documentary is covering more than the game. Perhaps too much even.

It starts out with the history of skating and how skaters themselves perceived that era and goes on to show and tell a bit about gaming, about the history of Neversoft, about multiple views of the skaters on games, but more than that. Where it’s largely positive to have so many insights from other people, the main story seems to go off on a tangent at times which seems a bit chaotic. One time it’s about sales, then about one specific trick, then it’s how Tony’s status changed. There’s a bit of everything and at times it breaks the enjoyable feeling of everything that Tony Hawk Pro Skater used to be. This doesn’t mean that the documentary is any form of bad, but Tony Hawk Pro Skater games were all about the music, the feeling, the community. And only the latter is really represented properly in the documentary.

One of the best additions to the documentary is actually a small bit that also talks about the bad decisions the franchise made, which adds to the main storyline as well as a bit more depth that’s lacking in the other views and information by the interviewees. At least that way, it shows the vulnerability of the series and adds something that feels more real. After all, isn’t that what the entire game, the music, and the era were about? About falling and getting up again. About doing whatever you wanted and not being any more vulnerable for it.

Conclusion

While still enjoyable as extra information, Pretending I’m a Superman feels a bit rushed by its format. Instead of going to the depth of an extra layer that would show the creation of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games, it basically got ”a bunch of the guys” together to talk about how they experienced it and mashes it all up with footage of the 80’s up to now. It’s nice, but for a documentary that’s all about a game, it has surprisingly little depth about (mainly) the development of that game.

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Rating: 6.3/10 (6 votes cast)
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Pretending I'm a Superman - Documentary Review, 6.3 out of 10 based on 6 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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