Tetris Movie Review

In Tetris movie, Alexey Pajitnov (played by Nikita Yefremov) plays Tetris on Work computer.
In Tetris movie, Alexey Pajitnov (played by Nikita Yefremov) plays Tetris

Before watching the Tetris movie, I had previously watched a documentary on the history of the game. I was curious how they would turn the story into a film. The trailer indicated that it would be a spy action thriller. It was interesting that the producers took that route because some scenes were exaggerated, such as the car chase.

Good Introduction

The beginning of the movie did a good job of setting up the premise of the story; where Henk Rogers (played by Taron Egerton) has the determination to get the rights to Tetris. They also delivered on the nostalgia in the scene where the Nintendo company introduces Henk Rogers to the Game Boy.

They briefly mentioned how Alexey Pajitnov created Tetris and how the addictive game spread throughout the Soviet Union. The movie could have elaborated on that part of the story. I suspect they did not want to do that because the Tetris Company wanted to steer away from Vladimir Pokhilko.

To give context, Vladimir Pokhilko was an acquaintance of Alexey Pajitnov. He was one of many people to receive a copy of Tetris. When he played the game, he saw how addictive the game was. He conducted psychological experiments with Tetris.

In 1998, Vladimir Pokhilko had a tragic ending in his life. As a result of this, I could understand why the Tetris movie did not want to elaborate on the very beginning of the game’s history.

Portraying the Meetings with Soviet Union

When I watched the Tetris documentary, I found the business meeting aspects to be the most interesting part of the story. Particularly, the story where multiple people were competing against each other to get the rights to Tetris from the Soviet Union. I wanted to see how the movie would portray that.

For the most part, the movie did a good job of portraying that part of the story. Specifically, where Henk Rogers explains to ELORG, a Soviet Union government organization, that Robert Stein had somewhat deceived them in the licensing agreement to have Tetris on computers.

The movie created exaggerated tensions in the business meetings that made it difficult to take them seriously. They could have added more tension to those scenes with something more realistic.

Let’s Add a Car Chase

Toward the end, they added a car chase because why not. This is not a documentary. Although it was added for entertainment purposes, the exaggerated KGB threats took away the immersion of the car chase. (At the movie premiere, Maya Rogers, daughter of Henk Rogers and CEO of the Tetris Company, said that the car chase did not happen.)

Is the movie worth watching?

Honestly, the movie was boring. There were a few major exaggerations that ruined the experience for me.

Overall, it is an okay movie. The interesting parts of the story, the business meetings with ELORG, did not have enough tension to have viewers glued to the screen. The added action scenes, such as the KGB spies and the car chase, were too exaggerated to take seriously. There was a missed opportunity to go into depth about how Alexey Pajitnov made the game and how people all over Soviet Union got addicted to it.

In my opinion, they focused too much on turning the movie into a spy action thriller when there were opportunities to go in depth with some of the true events in the game’s history.

If you want a good action movie with cool car chases, there is always “Mission: Impossible” and “Jason Bourne.”

For those that want to learn about the history of Tetris, check out Gaming Historian’s documentary. There was more to the story that the movie did not go into depth about.

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