We all have a friend like Greg Sommer. A friend who seemingly lives in his own world. A friend who is a kid at hart living in an adult body. A friend whose youthful energy is contagious, but whose lack of worldly realism could ultimately leave them vulnerable.
Greg Sommer and his passion for the cult underworld of cardboard based combat is the focus of the new documentary Skull Wars from writer/director Justin McConnell. It is an engrossing film which lures audiences in with its exploration of the energetic and passionate Sommer.
We watch Greg Sommer as he explains his fanatical obsession and it's his intense likability that will keep you glued through his travels and battles which include a trip to Australia where Greg meets peers who also don the cardboard armour to battle with boarded swords and other weapons of intended destruction.
Greg himself comes across as a Roddy Rowdy Piper sort of adult. His exuberance is infectious and his desire to fulfill his cardboard-based combat fantasies are to be realized with or without the general support of friends and family. His combat battles are not that of average role-players mocked and pitied in other films. Greg and his opponents spend countless hours designing and crafting their suits and weapons. It is a talent only for those with an imagination that would rival the most creative of boyhood dreams.
Donning a skull mask for his battles, television spots and touring dates, Greg Sommer's personality is still able to radiate from behind the disguise. He is a heartfelt man, a passionate man and one who longs for what all adults seek – fun.
I argue that any man below the age of 45 that sits for countless hours behind a desk 5-days-a-week would love to experience life in Sommer's shoes for a battle. But I would further contend that the envious emotion would last for but a single day.
And that is the unfortunate tragedy of Greg Sommer's life goals. In a world where success is more generally perceived in terms of assets and family, Sommer lacks a firm grasp of a future that will provide for him long after he moves from his mom's basement. Yet, that is not the tragedy. The tragedy is that many adults will look to his behavior as being something that one should have grown clear of around puberty. And considering the fun that Greg emanates and his zestful lust for life, the tragedy is that there is not more people just like him.
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