Friday, December 7, 2012

He's Seriously Still Doing Videogames I'd Like To See Made Into Movies (And How I'd Make Them)?

I'm running out of clever titles for this series. Last time I talked about the first system I ever bought with my own money, the Sega Dreamcast. After that debacle, I went back to having my parents buy this shit for me, so I wouldn't feel so bad if they became obsolete within a year. I went straight from Dreamcast to the Playstation 2, which I found surprisingly difficult to find adaptable games for. I think as the stories in games become more involved, my level of excitement about imagining the possibilities of them as movies dwindles, because most of the work is already done for me. What can you talk about with a potential God of War movie beyond the amount of boobs and blood?

1: Psychonauts

I always like to take a second pass at these lists to make sure I'm picking games that would make good movies, and not just games I really like that I want to talk about on my blog. I was concerned that this was one of the latter cases, thinking that I'd just say give it to Pixar or Dreamworks, but as I thought about how to make it live action, the idea appeals to me more and more. As bad as it sounds, I think Robert Rodriguez in Spy Kids mode might be good for this. Though the writing got progressively worse, the Spy Kids movies always looked really good, as did Shark Boy and Lava Girl, and having a plucky young kid (or kids if you want to expand it into an ensemble with the other campers) traveling through fractured inner worlds inside the minds of insane people seems like the perfect follow-up for Rodrigez if he wants another family friendly franchise.

2: Darkwatch

Outside of the original Doom games, I've never really been a fan of the first person shooter genre, so I don't even know why I ever picked this one up let alone played it. While I didn't really enjoy the game play, the supernatural wild-west setting has always appealed to me (especially with the vampire angle), and it was enough that I remember Dark Watch fondly. I couldn't think of any director I know who does westerns really well, because there are so few of them nowadays, so I just figured why not go with the guys who made the last western I liked and give it to the Coen Brothers. I doubt that would ever happen, but considering how often they leap into genres you'd never think they'd do, I can't say it's entirely out of the realm of possibility. I can't exactly see the Dude as a bad ass vampire gunslinger, but maybe Javiar Bardem would be good.

3: The Sly Cooper Trilogy

This was another series that I hesitated putting on here, until I realized that it would be the perfect vehicle for a Don Bluth comeback. I'm planning on doing a Bluth retrospective at some point, but honestly, I can't remember off hand the last great movie he did, which is weird considering how much of a fixture he was to my childhood. The tonal balance between cutesy animal characters and what could be a very dark tale of murder and revenge, complete with a massive and calculating evil owl as the main villain, and Sly Cooper seems to hit all the biggies. I replayed the first game recently and I was surprised by how much more morbid and grim the imagery was than I remembered. It's got a love story, a bunch of potential action beats, and enough of an edge that it would be that much harder to Troll In Central Park the thing, signalling a much needed return to form for the director.

4: Gitaroo Man

A cult favorite rhythm game with a really interesting visual style. It's about an alien hero in the guise of a teenage boy trying to impress the girl of his dreams with his mad guitar skills, and stop an alien invasion in the process. It's hard to imagine it as anything other than animated, possibly LAIKA studios style puppetry, as a live action version would be a little too crazy to be credible. The draw for me would be translating the musical theme into a science fiction narrative. I'm thinking an epic jukebox musical for the Progressive Rock set, bouncing around sub-genres as the different villains challenge the hero to various musical duels. As I've yet to see a good jukebox musical made into a movie (yeah, that's right, fuck you Moulin Rouge!), I don't really have a frame of reference for a director. Ending not withstanding, the last musical I liked was Dr. Horrible, so maybe Joss Whedon, if he decides he wants to start making good movies again.

5: Katamari Damacy

This is one of those rare games that I love despite never coming close to beating it. It's so quirky and repetitive, finishing the thing doesn't seem all that important. It's more like a video game relaxation exercise, and the plot, such as it exists, doesn't matter. I wouldn't begin to try to deconstruct what any of it means long enough to come up with a coherent movie plot that represents it adequately; instead I'd take the basic idea of this oncoming thing, this ball that attracts and absorbs everything in it's path, and examine the phenomenon from the perspective of those it effects. It's not a story about the roller, but the rolled, and soon to be rolled. We see the fear of those who don't understand it, and the strange acceptance of others to it, and the odd conversations had between people stuck within it. As each ball gets big enough to become a star and shoots into space, it becomes a global issue, as every government in the world must decide on their own how to react to this seemingly unstoppable force. I already went with Charlie Kaufman for the last weird Japanese import, and Terry Gilliam wouldn't be quite right for it despite the strange concept. It strikes me as a very British movie, with a lot of comically subdued reactions to bizarre experiences. Maybe Edgar Wright.

6: Shadow Of The Colossus

Probably a bit on the nose, but fuck it, I love this game. Its another one I've never been able to finish, and from what I gather based on how far I did get before giving up, there's not much plot. It's basically just a series of boss battles against some of the most awesome and beautifully rendered giant monsters in gaming history, separated by long stretches of horse riding, which is actually a lot more fun than it sounds. Peter Jackson would be perfect for this. It's got all the epic scope and potential for massive fantasy carnage that he seems to love nowadays, without all the plot and boring shit that bogged down the Lord of the Rings movies. From what I understand, the ending is particularly dark, involving among other things a twist involving the moral character of one of the few characters in the game, and a death reminiscent of Artax in the Swamps of Sadness. Not enough story for a three hour slog, but maybe just enough to stretch out into a two hour movie, which Jackson needs to learn how to make again.

7: God of War

Make it like the game, and make sure to have a lot of boobs and blood in it.

This Thing. Also fighting or something.

Next up, a brief interlude into my very few forays into PC gaming, and then onto the last system I ever actually owned (and currently still own), the Nintendo Wii.

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