Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yet More Videogames I'd Like To See Made Into Movies (And How I'd Make Them)

Welcome back to part two, or possibly part four depending on how you count, of my impromptu series of blog posts that are slightly easier to write because I don't have to watch any movies or think hard about shit, otherwise known as Video games I'd Like To See Made Into Movies (And How I'd Make Them). This time I'll be taking games from the Sega Genesis, otherwise known as the Mega Drive if you don't live in America. A brief note, given the era of these games and when I initially played them, keep in mind that unless otherwise stated, I'm envisioning these as cheapo 90's movies ala the heyday of video game adaptations, designed to fit in with the likes of Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Double Dragon, and Super Mario Bros.

1: Altered Beast

A simple classic story of two shape shifting and I'm pretty sure undead brothers (?) trying to save their girlfriend (?) from an evil wizard. The ancient Greek setting allows for a lot of weird magicy shit to blend together, not to mention Werewolves/bears/tigers/dragons/etc vs. zombies. Still, I'd go epic with this, something in the vein of the recent Clash of the Titans remake or Immortals, except, you know, not as shitty as the recent Clash of the Titans remake or Immortals. If I remember correctly, all the bosses in this game were just different forms of the one bad guy, which removes the need most video game movies have of either ignoring the multiple villains in favor of one, or trying to cram them all in, and sets up an ending that could rise to a bad ass bloody tribute to the Merlin vs. Mad Madame Mim fight from The Sword In The Stone. Though if they were gonna do this, I'd say invert the order of them so the freaky head throwing boss from level one is the last thing they fight, instead of that bitch Rhino.

2: The Streets Of Rage Trilogy

When I say trilogy, of course I mean one movie that encompasses the story of all three games, because its not like the storyline for each game was so in depth as to require three whole movies to re-tell it. Maybe two movies, just to save some of the weirder characters from the third game like the cyborg doctor and the kangaroo. Still, its a story right out of 90's straight to video action awesome, with the last honest cops in a city owned by the criminal syndicate of Mr. X quitting the corrupt police force to take the law into their own hands and punch electric dominatrices in the face, with their roller skating little brother. And their kangaroo. You even have a couple of characters you can start out as villains and have turn to the side of good in the Bruce Lee-esque Shiva and the horribly offensive flaming homosexual stereotype Ash, two bad guys that become secret playable characters in the game. Because of course you have to include the character so controversial they left him out of the U.S. release. Next thing, you're gonna tell me we can't have kangaroos and children punching dominatrices in the face.

3: The Ooze

This was a game I always saw in the store but never played when I was a kid for some reason, and only re-discovered years later. It has one of the weirdest playable characters I've ever seen in an ever growing blob of green ooze that skates across the ground. Not a very fun game ultimately, but the reason I think it would make a good movie is that the plot is actually kind of a weird sci-fi revenge tale. Apparently the ooze used to be a scientist who was dunked in toxic waste by his jealous colleagues and inadvertently transformed into a monster, now out to get back at the people who wronged him. You basically cross the Blob with Darkman, so that for the first time, you're actually rooting for the murderous man eating blob for a change. You could even give him a plucky kid hobo side kick like they always did in the 90's. Fuck, might as well cast Arnold Vosloo while you're at it.

4: Shaq Fu

Okay, here me out for a second. I know this is reportedly one of the worst games ever made based solely on the title, as unequivocally determined by bandwagon jumping douche bag internet people who never played it and don't know that its at worst a slightly below average fighting game. And yes, I know that any movie adaptation of Shaq Fu would invariably require actually casting Shaquille O'Neil in the title role, and anyone who has seen Kazam or Steel knows just what a bad idea that is. Even so, I think there's a way to do this and make it awesome. My pitch: Turn it into the weirdest, self-aware biopic ever made. Bring in Shaq and tell it like your telling the story of his actual life, only it involves him traveling to other dimensions and fighting mummies and shit. Maybe even do it in the Christopher Guest style mockumentary format. You could have interviews with other basketball players talking about how Shaq was always going missing and showing up to practice coming out of other dimensional portals, or even establish a premise that every basketball player invariably has these sorts of adventures. Michael Jordan's always going off to save cartoon worlds or joining up with Gretsky to become a superhero, and Charles Barkley is solving crimes and fighting Godzilla. Throw in every stupid basketball pop culture reference up to and including the angelic Kareem Abdul Jabar from Slam Dunk Ernest and seriously, I think there's a movie in here somewhere.

5: Comix Zone

I probably want to do this one just because of how awesome this game was, regardless of whether it actually lends itself to film. The only way I could think to do it is to 90's the crap out of it and amp up the "Extreme" Liefeldian sensibilities all comic books had during that time, having the pony tail/cut off jeans wearing surfer dude we inexplicably thought was cool back then travel into a world of muscle bound freaks designed for toy lines and Saturday morning cartoons. They've done the "people trapped in a comic book universe" thing before, but I think the one thing you could bring to it would be the conceit of the game that this human character perceives the world as a comic book, literally jumping from panel to panel and page to page and seeing the word bubbles above everyone's head, while everyone else sees their world as real as we see ours. Maybe this makes him some kind of Neo-esque mystical chosen one, able to see the way the universe is put together, and the only one who can stop the bad guy from destroying the comic world. And yes, we'd go with the bad ending where the chick drowns to death.

6: Earthworm Jim

Ordinarily, when I'm thinking of movies based on video games, I'm thinking live action adaptations, but here, obviously I think you'd have to go the computer generated Pixar/Dreamworks route given the lack of human characters and the mad cap hijinks. Either that, or give it to Guillermo del Toro and give him all the money in the world to make it the most gloriously freaky animatronic puppet movie ever made (with Ron Perlman as Jim, naturally). There's just so much story here that you never need to pick up on to enjoy the games, but is so rewarding if you follow it. The fact that the only adaptation we ever got was the silly cartoon show is an insult to this insanely awesome and awesomely insane universe. For Professor Monkey For A Head alone, there needs to be some sort of new project set in this world. The creator Doug TenNepal is still working, mostly in comics nowadays, and would probably love to get paid millions of dollars to make that shit work.

7: Ecco The Dolphin

Yes, I know, I'm one of those assholes who loved the Ecco the Dolphin games, but they're just so strange. The combination of picturesque cutesy dolphin adventures with an increasingly dark and epic twisting narrative involving Atlantian time travel and an ancient war between timeless pseudo-Lovecraftian entities is just too massive and crazy not to love. Again, because all the characters are marine-life, you would have to go with CGI instead of live action, but I would eschew the typical cartoonish designs and make it as photo-realistic as possible to match the tone of the games. Either that, or give it to Don Bluth and force him back into his 80's mold of cool anti-establishment traditional animation, before he lost his soul on the alter of trying to be like Disney. I just can never pass up any story involving the supernatural mystery of the deeper ocean, the last truly unexplored region of our own planet, so much so that I'm actually starting a novel about that very subject, using it as the backdrop for a noir detective story set on a city built atop Cthulu's floating corpse just offshore from 1920's era New York.

But then, that's a subject From the Idea Hole, which may come sometime later. Next up, a set of games from the next console I owned, the Playstation One, because my parents were too cheap to buy me a Super Nintendo or a Saturn as a kid. See you next time!
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