4 Video Games That Are Actually Worthy of a Movie Adaptation
If the Internet was a country, its national sport would be complaining. Online, there is no news too great for someone to get offended over, no opinion too insignificant to attract a disgruntled horde of bewailing remoras. Nowhere is this more evident than with movies and video games. No matter what news the developers and studios bring, we chew on them like they were food, and we sure as shit remember to bring the whine.
"Ah, a fine example of That Brokeback Mountain Guy Is Going to RUIN the Joker '06."
I do this as much as anyone, which is why I sometimes try to remind myself that there is more to life than bitching about the size of Gal Gadot's boobs and biceps. Some time ago, I decided to put my money where my mouth was and, instead of complaining about the lack of them, drafted a few rough ideas for video games that I feel deserve movie adaptations. In that column, I also encouraged the readers to do the same in the article comments, promising to do a follow-up article based on your suggestions down the line should stars adequately align. And you, my glorious, horrible, possibly sociopathic monsters, you delivered. Not only did you come up with oodles of original ideas, but some of you even took the time to greatly improve mine:
Tell me you wouldn't watch this.
What follows are the four most enticing ideas for video game movies I was able to scour from the depths of the comment section, ranked in no particular order save for the way they tickle my whiskey-addled imagination. It's go time, bitches.
The Saints Row franchise is what you get when you cross GTA with gang warfare, an unlimited special effects budget, and a mild case of fetal alcohol syndrome. Technically, it is a kind-of-sort-of rags-to-riches tale of a gang called the 3rd Street Saints, but to describe its plot is to discuss the color of the cow-sized fist that just punched you in the dick: Sure, it exists, but it makes little difference to the overall situation that just left you fucking floored.
Said overall situation looks a little bit like this:
I'm not even going to describe that video because the rest of this article would be just me typing holy shit aliens holy shit random 1950s sitcoms holy shit superpowers holy shit gang warfare over and over again with one hand while flailing at the controller with the other. If you want to read a dedicated gamer's take on all things Saints Row, I'm the wrong guy anyway. Here, let me hook you up with one Robert Brockway.
But we're not here to gawk at the games' magnificent absurdity today, are we? We're here to make movies. From the mind of Cracked commenter FrankieJay comes this gem of a pitch:
Yes. Yes. Good.
For those of you who haven't seen Crank and its sequel, they're Jason Statham action flicks so insanely entertaining, their only flaw is the slight typo in the title that replaces the second C with an N. They're full of shit like this ...
Stallone would have done this by straight up lighting himself on fire.
... and, as such, it's the only possible style of filmmaking to properly do justice to a franchise where you can hurl grannies at police officers.
Sadly, FrankieJay doesn't elaborate on the actors he wishes to see in this surefire popcorn-laced-with-acid flick. However, since he's adamant on getting a licensed soundtrack instead of an original score (something I personally support), most of whatever shoestring budget this thing would be able to scratch together would probably go toward that. So, I guess, just get a cast of talented unknowns and maybe a couple of the cheaper Jackass guys (i.e., the ones that are not Johnny Knoxville or Bam Margera), because don't tell me them semi-suicidal fuckers wouldn't be right at home with the insanity that is Saints Row. Also, keep a keen eye on racial diversity in casting, because for all its glaring faults in things like logic, common sense, and the laws of physics, this goddamn franchise is the epitome of the equal opportunity employer.
Oh, and also Nic Cage. If Zhnigo up there in the intro has taught me anything, it's that you absolutely, positively cannot make one of these things without Nic Cage. Just fly him in and have someone bash him in the face with the Dildo Bat within the first five minutes or whatever. Shit, just tell him it's a comic book movie and he'll probably do it for free.
For a game that not only was part of the Golden Age of gaming, but actually defined both the very real genre of side-scrolling shoot-'em-ups and the completely artificial genre of daring to have a protagonist with boobs, Metroid is surprisingly often overlooked when it comes to movie propositions. With its strong central character and creepy Aliens vibe, it seems like such an obvious choice, yet it didn't even occur to me when I did the original column. Luckily, many of you suggested it in the comments, and I'm extremely happy to report that precisely none of the Metroid comments I saw did that fucking "And also this actress must play the role or everything is ruined" thing that runs rampant in usual game-to-movie discussions. There's hope for humanity yet.
Now, there were a few commenters suggesting the same thing, but I figure RogeSoja put it best:
Granted, that's more of a sales pitch than it is a script pitch, but be honest now: How much script is this thing going to need? Like the Alien franchise, Metroid runs mainly on atmosphere and actress chops. In the trinity of screenwriter-director-star, this movie is barely going to need the first one, but fucking lives or dies with the quality of the last two.
The lead role is the epitome of "Eh, it depends." Is the director going for a 20-something Samus Aran? Jennifer Lawrence springs to mind, and I don't want to name-drop her right away because she's such an obvious choice, but fuck it -- I'm calling Jennifer Lawrence. If we're going for an older, more experienced galactic alien hunter (so help me, I will shit a lung if someone even suggests that Samus should be referred to as a "huntress"), I'll gleefully switch my vote to Lena Headey solely for her performance in Dredd, and I will fight any man who contests this decision.
I mean, the resemblance is obvious.
As for the director's chair, I'm thinking Ridley Scott, Guillermo Del Toro, or Neill Blomkamp should be able to get the best out of this particular source material. On the other hand, aren't they kind of obvious? There must be some little-known director out there who is just dying for a big break in atmospheric sci-fi movies, and I feel that this particular flick would be a fine place for a new, raw talent to make their mark. This one's up to you lot. Bring forth your heroes, comment section.
First off, I admit I'm cheating a bit here. Although this idea does come from the commenter (namely, this fuckin' guy/gal whose name I don't even pretend to understand), it's breaking a fundamental rule I set for myself when choosing the entries: There should be at least some effort to elaborate on the idea, and not just "Game X Must Be a Movie!!!!"
But you know what? Fuck that rule. Because this comment right here brings us the goods in the simplest way possible:
If you're not familiar with it, Metro 2033 is a much-praised survival horror FPS from a Ukrainian developer called Deep Silver. It's based on a popular book by Dmitry Glukhovsky, and its premise is as simple as it is effective: A nuclear war has wiped out humanity, leaving the remainders of mankind to form ragtag societies deep in Moscow Metro, fighting radiation-created mutants and each other with the kind of reckless abandon and utter lack of fucks that we've come to expect from citizens of Mother Russia. The main character, a young man called Artyom, gets to experience the Hero's Journey in the creepiest setting known to man and beast. If he's the Hobbit, Middle-Earth's stunning views are replaced with bleak visages of terror-sewers, abandoned tunnels, and cramped station settlements that you just know smell of way more armpits than there are actual people living in there. Gandalf is a mysterious hobo you just know is perpetually on drugs (no change there, then), the dwarfs are strange whisperings in the tunnels, and Smaug is a series of existential disappointments thrust upon us by mankind's mindless destructivity.
Also, there's neo-Nazis and desperate murderous people and fucking horror movie monsters absolutely everywhere.
"Hello! The plot's so depressing, we're basically acting as the comic relief."
What intrigues me about this potential movie are the options it gives to the filmmakers: The relatively simple setting and the possibilities that nigh-constant darkness provides could make for a fairly small-budget study on human despair in extreme situations (and, of course, monsters and murder and shit), not unlike Pitch Black or, hell, Alien. On the other hand, the vastness of mutant enemies and warfare and the fact that a swept-over-with-mutants Moscow is ominously waiting right above the Metro tunnels provides an opportunity to full-on action, should the script (and budget) so dictate.
Personally, I like the idea of someone really talented cutting their teeth on Metro 2033 on a shoestring budget. This is a premise that lives and dies with atmosphere, and, as anyone who has seen Jaws can attest, sometimes the best trick is to show as little as possible.
Apparently, it's impossible to do these columns without featuring a game from Double Fine Studios, and you know what? It's just fine, because much like Psychonauts (which featured in the last one) and Grim Fandango (which remains a story for another day), Brutal Legend is a goddamned sweet piece of work.
A short recap for those unfamiliar with the game: Jack Black plays a metal-as-fuck roadie who is technically called Eddie, but for the purposes of this article shall be rechristened "Jack Black with muscles" because, let's be honest, that's what he is. Jack Black with muscles is destined to fight an equally metal-as-all-hell evil uberlord and his glam rocker henchmen, with no help save for his ragtag team of, oh, just a bunch of actual rock and metal gods. The player gets to kick all manner of ass with in-game incarnations of people like Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, Lita Ford (who plays a female version of KISS, because fuck logic when you have rock 'n' roll), and even freaking Lemmy.
Fun fact: He flat out refuses to punch anyone in the game because, let's face it,
the bad guys would be toast within seconds if he did.
It's basically the metal version of Kingdom Hearts, only with a badass soundtrack, Tim Schafer's trademark twisted humor, and the kind of fantasy setting that would make Manowar cover artists hang their heads in impotent shame. Commenter Ulrik had a lot to say about a lot of games, but his/her comment about Brutal Legend is the one that stuck:
Ulrik draws a fair comparison with Heavy Metal, the 1981 cult animated movie with similar themes and musical preferences. I take this to mean that he thinks this would make a kickass animated film, and while I do agree, I can't help feeling that it would ultimately be taking the easy route. A collection of badassitude as vast and magnificent as Brutal Legend deserves a live-action movie, and a glorious one at that. Hell, it's pretty much cast already. You've got Jack Black and a bunch of old-school music legends waging swords-and-sorcery-themed war on a villain who's played by motherfucking Tim Curry -- tell me that's not enough to lift this thing out of the "just for metalheads" niche pit and into the highest-grossing thing in all of existence, and I will ... well, probably agree with you, and then cry. Still, this movie should be able to easily bring in a fairly decent profit, if only for its inevitable Expendables-style cheesy 1980s nostalgia.
At this point, imagine I'm saying something coherent about, say, potential directors instead of ranting about
how much I want to see a Metal Beast on silver screen.
Ideally, Brutal Legend would be a really, really hardcore, big-budget version of Tenacious D's The Pick of Destiny: an action-packed, comedy-addled thing of pure, unadulterated rock 'n' roll glory that only avoids being called a musical through its sheer levels of testosterone. Incidentally, that also settles the director question: Just get Liam Lynch (him of "United States of Whatever" fame, and also the director of The Pick of Destiny) on the phone, I guaran-damn-tee he knows what to do.
Really, my only concern about this thing is that Lemmy hasn't been feeling too well lately, and there's the tiniest of chances that he might actually be somewhere between "bedridden" and "challenging God to a bourbon-drinking competition for control of heaven" by the time this thing would actually get filmed. Should such a tragic event happen, our only hope would be to hire someone like Daniel Day-Lewis to track down and channel the essence of the man.
On a positive note, Day-Lewis' preparatory period would probably be so extensive, he'd wind up headlining seven world tours and making three Motorhead records before anyone even called "action."
Wait, holy shit. Did I just invent a backup Lemmy?
Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked columnist and freelance editor whose musical tastes you can probably damn well guess after reading this (yep, he's all about Celine Dion). Follow Pauli on Twitter.