By now most of us are used to Hollywood adapting hit videogames and the results being quite horrid. Aside from Mortal Kombat and Silent Hill we really haven’t had any movies that properly captured the essence of its virtual counterpart or helped expand upon the existing mythology or themes from the game. I guess Hollywood seems to have realized this but they’re still hoping to lure in the gaming community by making movies about the people who play the games as Dreamworks has picked up the rights to “The Defenders,” a gaming movie conceived by actor and geek Masi Oka (Heroes).
The Defenders revolves around a group of MMORPG players who one day need to step away from their avatars and unite in the real world to complete an adventure that doesn’t involve their keyboards and casting spells on imaginary goblins.
Also working on this masterpiece in the making is Gary Whitta who may be known for writing the currently in production live-action version of the anime masterpiece “Akira” and the upcoming “The Book of Eli” starring Denzel Washington. Like Masi Gary is also a geek and gamer and along with hosting a gaming podcast in which he mostly ragged on the PlayStation brand he was also the editor for PC Gamer magazine. Perhaps with his “expertise” in the field of gaming and having contributed writing to games like Prey and Gears of War we can expect a solid script.*
Director D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye) is in talks to direct the project and writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Transformers 1&2) are also on the project as producers.
I’m quite interested to see how this film shapes up. In a way the concept could work but I’m getting flashbacks to the cult-classic film “Hackers” in that The Defenders could ultimately have a silly as hell plot and have awful characterizations of its heroes that make the viewers the film is trying to appeal to turn away in disgust. But maybe I’m just being Mr. Pessimism again and the film could end up being an enjoyable experience that has proper character portrayals and doesn’t have characters constantly saying “leet”, “pwned” or “epic fail” while they play their absurdly fake MMORPG game. Though what game the characters play could end up being an important aspect as it would kind of be a tad bit annoying if they played World of Warcraft and it comes across as a commercial for Blizzard and the game instead of feeling like a natural extension of the story and setting.
The casting for this will also be interesting as I have a feeling we’ll see a Jonah Hill type fellow in the mix somehow to appeal to the overweight gamers like myself but I also have a feeling that Shia Labeouf will be in the film as well since he’s a favorite actor of director D.J. Caruso as they’ve worked together previously and Shia has been linked to Caruso’s film adaptation of the comic “Y: The Last Man.”
So what does everyone think of this? Could “The Defenders” end up being a modern day version of “The Goonies” for gamers or will it be yet another sign of how the casual audience doesn’t get what gamers are all about and think we’re all the same stereotypical archetypes that continue to be portrayed in various media.
[Via The Hollywood Reporter]
*this is sarcasm in case people out there have broken sarcasm meters