Flash forward to the present, where Keanu Reeves has inexplicably risen to the highest levels of fame and power on the planet, commanding millions of dollars per movie despite the fact that he has the charisma and screen presence of a frog floating on an old board in a pond. Reeves couldn’t act hungry if you locked him in a cage and starved him for a week, yet America routinely lines up around the block to spend money watching him breathe through his mouth on a giant screen.
Alex Winter, conversely, could probably be hired to wash your car over the weekend. When he stars in a movie, it tends to bypass theaters entirely and head straight for the discount bin, to be wedged under copies of something with Chris O’Donnell in it.
How did this happen? Why did we embrace Keanu Reeves and push away Alex Winter? What made us say “Please star in a surfing cop movie with Patrick Swayze” to one, and “Please just go away” to the other? It is a mystery that may never be solved; though, at a guess, it might be because Keanu Reeves never co-wrote and starred in a movie that had Mr. T in a dress.
That’s how it looked on paper to Double Fine Productions, the makers of the innovative Psychonauts. So you can imagine their mild surprise when gamers decided, seemingly en masse, to ignore the title entirely. Possibly it was the game’s cutesy-looking characters (you play as a feisty, eerily bobble-headed young boy named Raz) or the high concept premise (most levels take place inside the heads of other characters, so the rules, physics and internal logic can often change confusingly from level to level).