It’s rather typical of me to be sitting in front of my TV, writing some kind of article whilst an Achievement Hunter or Rooster Teeth video plays in the background. Probably not the best way to write, but the best kinds of distractions are ones that inspire, which is an interesting way to reflect on Rooster Teeth’s first full length feature, Lazer Team.
Dating back to 2003, Rooster Teeth has been celebrating the unusual, the different and the creative. Whether it’s Red vs Blue, RWBY, The Know, Achievement Hunter or the most recent addition, ScrewAttack, the team out of Austin, Texas has plenty of fingers in many a fun filled pie. Lazer Team, their crowd funded feature film debut, is just another piece of that growing puzzle, a puzzle that has an endless supply of pieces.
The film itself is rather straight forward. Four seemingly stupid people come across a crashed alien spacecraft filled with a suit of power designed for the Champion of Earth, a man who’s dedicated his life to defending Earth from impending invasion but must now teach the bumbling fools. It’s one part Ghostbusters and two parts small budget sci-fi, and based on early reviews it’s seemingly got many reviewers scratching their heads. Which made me wonder, are they missing the point?
Lazer Team isn’t a typical film, from its inception to its production and distribution. It could be considered the first feature film that’s truly created for the fans, all the way through from beginning to end. We had a hand in its creation through our wallets, we shaped its style and substance through our constant support for YouTube shorts, and our ability to turn certain videos into memes and running jokes influenced future project ideas. There’s been plenty of fan funded features, Veronica Mars comes to mind, but none had the impact or freedom of fan support compared to Lazer Team.
That’s what sets Rooster Teeth apart from almost every other internet based production right now. It’s why Lazer Team is more than just another movie. Just like they did with Red vs Blue, Lazer Team is the start of a whole new way of thinking about modern entertainment. Sure, it’s cliched and a little silly, but it’s lighthearted entertainment that the fans will eat up. Some may be disappointed with its simplicity, but recall the first four seasons of Red vs Blue. Back then, the production was challenging and the results rather basic, but as time went on the show grew from a simple comedy into something far more complex.
To review Lazer Team as a standard piece of entertainment defeats the purpose of its existence, especially if you’re unaware of Rooster Teeth’s prior productions or its priority to its fan base. If you’re not a follower of the company’s previous exploits, you’ll be somewhat confused with the in-jokes, the dialogue choices and the cameos. Lazer Team goes beyond what we know, maybe not in what it does on screen, but what it is behind the scenes. That’s something to celebrate both as a fan of film and as a fan of Rooster Teeth.
Lazer Team is an in-house production that’s rather simple but will, in turn, grow a whole new wave of productions. As the budgets grow so will the dedication for more challenging content. Already we’re seeing that with announcements at this years RTX Australia for a number of intriguing future releases. The next for the company, from here on out, is to push further. To watch that unfold is as joyful as it is inspiring, especially when you know how it all started.
So, you know, expect PN2: The Movie in five years time. Maybe.