A few days ago we reported that Apple TV+ was making Tetris into a Cold War thriller. Rather than go down the same terrible road as The Emoji Movie by making a film of something that should have stayed unfilmed, the Apple TV+ Tetris film would instead focus on the machiavellian machinations behind the game's development and success. It's still not streaming – that starts from 31 March – but the critics have seen it and mostly, they seem pleasantly surprised.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tetris is "fleet and compelling... you forget that you're watching a film about a video game." Mashable says it's "far better than it has any right to be." The Guardian adds a second "compelling" and praises Taron Egerton, who plays game creator Henk Rogers.
Rogers may be the main character here, but he didn't create Tetris. His game was called Go. And the film is about what happened when he realised Tetris was better.
What exactly is Tetris about?
Tetris is about the shenanigans and skulduggery perpetrated by the many people who wanted to make money from "the perfect game", which was so clearly going to be a massive success. A game-changer, you might say. Sorry.
One of the best descriptions I've seen of the film is that it's the video game equivalent of The Social Network, which fictionalised the story of Facebook to great effect. The story of Tetris turns out to be unexpectedly fascinating, and in the Apple TV+ telling it's an odd mix of spy thriller and boardroom drama that mostly works.
Mostly. IndieWire's Kate Erbland says that "not all the pieces fit together, and it certainly doesn't speed up as the game winds on (something it might have done well to emulate from the game itself) but it's got players worth rooting for and a story that keeps levelling up." Mashable agrees, saying it's "a surprisingly smart, silly and satisfying adventure", while Deadline's Pete Hammond seems to have really liked it: "The entire cast is terrific here," he says, adding that Tetris "kept me on edge more than any Bourne flick could ever do."
Tetris is currently rated 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and will be available to stream on Apple TV+ from 31 March.