When I began writing this piece, I originally went in with a different motif: I was thinking to myself (as we nerdy types often do) what game properties I wanted to see become film franchises. Granted, for every half-decent movie (Resident Evil) we get what amounts to horrible, slow-rotting leprosy (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li). I had my comprehensive list all typed up, I had my points arranged, and I was ready to fire it off. Somehow, in the midst of my research, I had managed to miss the fact that three out of four of my choices had already been tentatively announced.
Now, that's my bad for being out of the loop; to my dismay, I'd read on to discover a few more maybe/maybe not properties that might morph into a film at some point. And I sincerely have to ask the question: Why the hell?
I remember an Angry Birds movie being talked about a few years back, but I guess it was little more than a rumour since we ended up getting a different animated movie about birds. This time around Rovio got deadly serious with Sony, and in 2016 we are getting inundated with yet ANOTHER form of Angry Birds.
If the game franchise wasn't already freaking EVERYWHERE it might've been a cute little CG romp that you take your kids to and watch some gangrenous pigs get slapped around by flightless birds. However, with ten different versions across every platform ever that can run a game PLUS two spin-offs, this colourful little multimedia empire that Rovio has built will be in full overkill mode by the time this hits the screens. The good news? At least the voice talent looks decent enough.
Okay, so this one was never officially confirmed, but I've seen it pop up a couple of times. Come on, really?
This is a mobile game that features a cookie-cutter treasure hunter that just runs through jungles and temples collecting some gold bits. Occasionally, you make a turn. On those rare, exciting occasions, you might even have to jump across a gap or over a downed tree. Who WOULDN'T want to see that on the big screen?
Ignoring the fact that the game just barely makes a template for a film studio to slap a story on top of, there's... actually wait, no, that's about it. It's a meatless game that was meant to kill time on your 15-minute commute to the office and it looks like someone might want to make a bland Indiana Jones rip-off based on running really, really fast. Someone get Tom Cruise on the phone!
Oh, now I'd love to see this happen, I really would. Spunky Young Racer moving up in the ranks, collecting sizeable garages full of cars to suit distinct races... tuning cars, testing cars, re-turning cars... getting that sweet flame decal to sit juuuuust right... Whoops, hang on, I need to go change my pants.
I think my biggest gripe about the potential of this actually becoming a two-hour media blip is that while Gran Turismo is undoubtedly one of my favourite racing games of all time, it's just boring as hell to watch. Fast & Furious it is NOT.
Alright, hold your horses. I'm not going to go out on a limb here and say that Minecraft would necessarily make a bad film. I am absolutely nuts for Minecraft. Believe me, I've logged more hours into this game since its release than the entire expanse of World of Warcraft. I could spend ungodly amounts of time in Creative Move alone just trying to craft the perfect giant diamond phallus hovering ominously above a village.
My issue with a Minecraft movie in the works (though it may not be quite yet, Mojang have announced that they do want to do one in the future) is that the game itself is without a story, without any depth besides build-mine-destroy, that I'm afraid they'd have to change too much to make it a viable film franchise.
The purpose of the game seems sort of counter-intuitive for something you'd want people to pay for the privilege of sitting and watching. In the game, you're just running around through mines and fighting random monsters, chipping away at coal and iron ore, and building increasingly gauche gold mansions. In a movie, you need motive.
You need to raise the stakes. Within the game, do I care why Steve has been unceremoniously dumped in an expansive, empty world to wreak havoc and make the land his own? Well, no... not really. I'm more interested in trying to plant my wheat to make it look like Jordan Peele's face. More to the point, this movie has to have an ending and I can't think of anything worse to tack onto a franchise that's meant to go on forever.
As enthusiasts of the video gaming variety, our beloved properties are constantly and savagely the target of money-hungry studios who want to capitalize on how much we love Drake's one-liners in Uncharted, or how much fun it is to rip a man's spine out and slap the corpse's ass, like in my dreams. While we might not be able to directly control which franchises they seem happy to dig out and play with like horrible little puppets, we sure as hell don't have to like it.