The subject of telling a story across many mediums is always a divisive one. People have strong opinions about books becoming movies, movies becoming video games, video games becoming books – whenever a story designed to be experienced in a specific way is suddenly translated to a different experience, there are folks who are bound to be disappointed. However, while I am typically of the opinion that art should stay in its original medium (particularly when it comes to video games based on films), there are some instances where I wouldn’t mind the line being crossed. Some of these are because I legitimately think the game would be successful as a film adaptation – others are simply because my inner child wants to see it happen.
If you’ve never heard of the Zero Escape franchise – well, you’re probably a completely normal person. The series is not particularly well-known, even in America where it is much more popular than in its home country of Japan. The first game is called 999, or 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. It tells the story of a group of nine people trapped on an abandoned cruise ship by a serial killer and forced to play a sadistic game for their survival.
Can you see where I am going with this? Is it not already clear why this would be a great movie? Serial killers, sadistic games – this is perfect movie material. Throw in a menagerie of sci-fi elements and some plot twists and you’ve got a great formula for a thriller that’d be enjoyable not only for the few gamers who have played this, but for movie-goers who’d be experiencing the story for the first time. The Zero Escape games are visual novels, heavily-text based and therefore driven by the story. For gamers, who expect an interactive world, this can be frustrating. But for movie-goers, a few good actors and the brilliant music of the game will take the story of 999 and make it accessible.
Who would I cast? Unknowns, or B-level folks who have some credibility but are not up in your face in the tabloids all the time. In particular, this cast needs to be versatile – many characters in 999 are not what they seem, so the actors playing them will need to have the ability to play both sides of the character with skill and subtlety.
This is another example of a game that I think already has a pretty solid movie plotline. Metroid doesn’t have a heavy story that would need at least six movies to tell. The game follows Samus Aran after she crash lands on an alien planet. While there, she discovers ancient ruins of the culture that adopted her and uncovers a sinister plot to breed an alien supermonster and give space pirates control of the whole universe or whatever. It’s the story of a lone woman standing against the unknown creatures of a wild planet and discovering ancient secrets.
Samus is an awesome character and a great role model for females (I’m talking post 2000 Samus, not the one who takes off her Power Suit to show you her bikini just for beating the game fast enough). She’s determined, clever, tough, and just plain cool. Add some Avatar-level CG to incorporate all the hideous and terrible creatures of Tallon IV and you’ve got some serious potential for a box-office hit.
Naturally, casting Samus would be crazy important, and I really can’t think of an actress off of the top of my head who I think would be able to do the role justice. The young lady who plays Clarke on the TV show The 100 might be a decent candidate, but she seems a bit young yet. I suppose casting an older, more established actress would be a viable option, though again I don’t really know enough actresses to suggest a strong candidate. Who do you think could play Samus well?
This is the part of this discussion where serious potential gives way and childhood dreams step up. Specifically, Mario makes the list because there actually is a Mario movie, and it is terrible. If you’ve seen it, you understand. If you haven’t, just imagine a movie where Yoshi is a literal dinosaur (like a velociraptor kind of thing), Princess Daisy is Mario’s “special one” instead of Peach, and Toad is not nearly as awesome as he is in Mario Warfare.
In my opinion, the ideal live action Mario movie would be set up like a classic fantasy film (more campy, of course). Princess is captured by an evil dragon and lowly peasant rises up to save her. Luigi would be the comic relief as Mario’s overly-nervous but still brave brother who is only along for the ride because he doesn’t want to let Mario risk his life alone.
It is very important that the Peach in this film is portrayed not as a helpless damsel in distress, but as the Peach of the Paper Mario series who is clever, courageous, and always one step ahead of the bad guys. In my opinion, this is the most interesting interpretation of Peach, and this is my movie fantasy so I can portray her character however I wish. As for Bowser, his magical abilities should be portrayed right alongside his imposing physical power – he is actually a powerful sorcerer in most of the main series Mario games, but this is totally ignored in other media like Smash Bros. I’d also want his character to have the sense of humor he is characterized with in (surprise surprise) Paper Mario. A funny Bowser and clever Peach would fit perfectly in a campy fantasy-inspired Mario film.
Yes, yes, I know, this is getting ridiculous. But again, allow me to stress that these are movies that I wish would exist, not one that I think are humanly possible. Particularly when examining what I would want from a Pokemon movie.
I’d like to see a live-action Pokemon movie dealing with early humans living out in the wild with Pokemon. Take away the Pokeballs, take away the kid-friendly veneer, and you have a world of wild animals whose abilities and instincts make them incredibly dangerous. Looking at the Pokedex entries gives you something of a glimpse into this world. Pokemon don’t play pattycake with each other while waiting for humans to come and be their best friends – they hunt, they kill, and they fiercely protect their territories.
Imagine seeing some of your favorite Pokemon in their natural habitats – wild, untamed, their raw power a necessity in a world where they are constantly fighting for their lives. This is the kind of Pokemon movie I’d like to see.
Also, it’s not a necessity, but a scene where a large, scary Pokemon like Rhyperior or Charizard eats a Pikachu would be pretty gratifying.
The Legend of Zelda
And this is where the whole “childhood dream” thing reaches its pinnacle. When my favorite video game series was announced to be getting a Netflix show, I was simultaneously ecstatic and uneasy. Ecstatic, because I’ve always dreamed of seeing Link battle Ganondorf on the big screen. Uneasy, because in my heart of hearts I know that a live action film could never live up to my expectations.
I do have some ideas, though. First off, the movie should not attempt to recreate the story of any of the games. There’s too much material to shove into a couple of hours, and it would ultimately lead to a debacle on the scale of The Last Airbender; everything shoved so tightly together to make it all fit that what really matters about the story is swallowed up and lost. Instead, the movie should be based on the spirit of the games – adventure, courage, overcoming incredible odds, and good triumphing over evil.
Naturally, there’d be a Link, a Zelda, and a Ganondorf involved. As far as characterization, I think Wind Waker would be a really good source. That game has one of the most interesting versions of Zelda, and in my opinion has the hands-down most interesting version of Ganondorf. Having a Zelda that’s not just wise but also spunky makes her character more likable, and having a Ganondorf that is mature and measured makes him a more compelling villain. When it comes to Link, he’s kind of a blank slate when it comes to characterization, but he does have some common features. He’s generally cheerful, always brave, and loves to sleep in. He’s curious and kind. These sorts of things can all work together to give the writers and directors a strong idea of what kind of person to play Link.
In my crazy dream fantasy world, I’d be the one playing Link. Realistically, with my shape and the type of characters I play on stage, I’d be much more likely to be cast as Ganondorf. Or as Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, given twenty more years before this movie ever comes out.
Those are the games that, for one reason or another, I’d like to see as movies. What about you, adventurers? What games do you think would make the switch gracefully? Or want to see adapted so badly that you don’t really care whether it is graceful or not? Discuss it in the comments and let’s give producers something to work with.