The Return of Apollo Z. Hack

Apollo Z. Hack has returned. Back in the swing of things, he has released three episodes thus far of his new review show called DAMN! (with a curious mockumentary attached to the very first episode). All is well in the world.

Along with the mockumentary and first episode, Apollo brought forth a contest/giveaway/what have you by asking the community to bring forth reviews of the new format, both good and bad. To entice the masses, he offered forth a name drawing for DVDs of the movies he reviewed in his first and second episodes to those who brought forth decent insight. To that end, I thought I’d put forth my own words on his work. Sadly, I’ve already missed the deadline, but I didn’t feel right about it to begin with. Getting free awesome stuff is always grand, but getting it in such a fashion didn’t seem right to me. While that may seem strange, writing this after the contest takes a large weight off my shoulders. In either case, onto the review.

The Good

It’s an Apollo Z. Hack review. The editing is slick, acted out and timed perfectly at a pace that’s not only entertaining, but doesn’t feel rushed or leave you wondering if you missed something. The musical score used throughout the review comes directly from the film being reviewed, and it’s used perfectly to set the proper energy to whatever is being shown. And of course, there’s the special effects, which Matt Burkett (the man behind the eyepatch) is exceptionally well learned at.

In the theme of showcasing films which Apollo believes everyone should see, he throws in various venue options available, along with a helpful read out. It reminds me a bit of what Jew Wario does on his show You Can Play This, and it’s very welcome in that regard. With the energy Apollo speaks of these films, it’s a given I’ll be seeing them at some point in my life, so the direction is welcome.

And while I don’t think the mockumentary WTFrak Happened to Apollo Z. Hack? was part of the items to review, I’ll throw in my two cents for that as well. As a mockumentary, there’s a bit of truth throughout all of it, but it’s laced with sarcasm and humor surrounding all the rumors which arose from Apollo’s separation from Channel Awesome. More to focus, it spoke of Apollo and Mark Burkett being separate entities, giving it and interesting angle to think on with Mark being the writer/editor and Apollo the demanding, racist, egomaniacal star.

Which when you think about it, seems fitting for the character Apollo. There were still plenty of lines which were too bizarre to even be considered, making it very tongue in cheek. Aside from the obvious ploys for laughs, how much of what’s true when alluded to reality is up in the air. In the end, I feel that’s where it should be. I was entertained, and considering the topic involved, that’s saying a lot.

The Bad

In regards to the episodes themselves, I don’t really find a fault in them. They are exciting and informative, honestly showing how much passion Apollo has for what he’s doing (that or he’s a fine damn actor). Though if I had to nitpick on something, there is…one thing. The title “DAMN!” of the show. Damn! is an acronym which stands for, “Decisively Awesome Movies (that all geek-kind should see right…) Now!” It’s not that I don’t like it, or that it should still be called The HACKdown, because Apollo has a right to name his show what he wants. I just…didn’t know the show got a new name.

Not until the second episode was released, noting it was being called, “Damn! Episode 2” and striving to find out where the title was noted in the intro. When I watched Episode 1, I just thought he was saying, “Damn!” for the hell of it, which I thought was done for effect and was…kinda cool. I’m sure that makes me look silly, and I’m thankful to have got it right now. I blame the release coupling being titled “nine9twenty11 (oVo) WTFrak Happened to Apollo Z. Hack?” and not “DAMN! – Hunter Prey [S.01 Ep.01]” which he released on its own days later. Yes, I’m going to make an excuse, deal with it.

And the mockumentary? Everything that made it good also makes it bad, because it’s not a piece of full fiction. When you look past the humor and realize he’s talking about real people with real consequences, you have to take it with a lot of salt. You feel not only for the mistakes made, but the loss which arose from it. When it all boils down, it’s filled with a lot of bad vibes…

…But then there was the shift into the DAMN! episode, which I must say was masterfully done. This was intentional, and the 180 shift of emotion was a complete and wanting surprise. Sure, it was hinted on Apollo’s YouTube and Twitter for weeks that he was coming back for more, but after such a sad mockumentary you tend to forget these clues when immersed in the experience. With this double take, the “bad vibes” can pretty much be burdened with the comfort that hope still exists. Or something cheesy (yet still good) like that.

And that’s the insight I have into the new review show. It’s as it was before Apollo and Channel Awesome parted ways, when he would release reviews between Reviewerverse Saga episodes, minus the CA. He deserves your attention, and I say this from one fan of pop culture to another. He’s currently on a Halloween trend right now, and considering I have yet to see a single horror film this month, perhaps it’s time I step up to the plate.


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