(IAB here. I’m taking a break from the regular review/comic-loop this week, and will instead address the biggest “WTF” piece of movie news this week and tackle it in a longer form, as this is something that can’t be handled in 140 characters or less)
It’s a shame that April Fools came and went over a month ago.
Because then the big news-story that broke out yesterday could at least make sense in some way, shape or form. You know the one I’m talking about; it’s the one where producer Larry Kasanoff‘s Threshold Entertainment Group joined with Chinese media entrepreneur Bruno Wu‘s company Seven Star Works announced that they are starting production on an $80 million “Tetris”-movie and they are now at Cannes, making negotiations for international sales. The project is described as an “epic science-fiction thriller” and is due to start filming in 2017 in China and other locations with Chinese actors. The joint studios describe this a historic start for making cross-cultural movies for the global market and “Tetris” as “the perfect first project for this strategy.”
It all sounds good and well and all and we know that China has become one of the biggest box office-venues now, but…”Tetris“? As an epic sci-fi thriller? I did actually get a sort of a deja vu when I read that plot description.
And boy was I right – take a look:
Look familiar? This one came out around the time Universal’s “Battleship” was going to be the big summer blockbuster and there was a lot of chatter about Ridley Scott making a “Monopoly” movie. Now – I admit that “Battleship” was entertaining in it’s flat-out overboard stupidity – but Monopoly movie? If that was realistic, it would last over 20 hours(then again, I suck at Monopoly – what can I say? I lack any kind of capitalistic competitiveness).
Anyways – where was I…? Oh yes – that fake trailer. The thing is, that it’s meant as a complete parody. Did it accidentally become a success in that “don’t give them ideas!“-category?
The point is that is this really where the studios’ franchise-hogging has now come to? It just feels to me that some final, ultimate threshold(see what I did there?) to complete stupidity has been crossed here. You all know that I make fun of the studio heads in my comic and take a piss at certain decisions that have been made in my end-of-the-week news-columns. But it seems that the reality always beats fiction. No matter what crazy situation I try to cook up in the comic, something real will come up that will always beat it. It’s been the norm for a long time that the studios are hogging up whatever name-franchises they can get, so they have a product to sell in their release-weekend box office dick-measuring contests. And granted: “Tetris” is one of -if not the most – known titles in video game history. But does that mean it works as a movie?
Let’s look at some other video game-adaptations that are coming soon: we’ve got “Angry Birds“-movie out now(or soon, here it opened last week. Hey – it’s a Finnish product; our prerogative), a “Warcraft“-movie coming soon and “Assassin’s Creed” too. What do these have in common? They have very established universes, characters and rules. What are Tetris’ characters? Blocks. The rules? Make complete horizontal lines. How in the blue hell does that become a movie? I’m telling ‘ya, their pitch had better be something extra special to warrant an $80 million-pricetag.
You know how you could have made a “Tetris” movie? Tell the tale of how the Russian game designer Alexey Pajitnov managed to make a game in the 80’s, during the Cold War, behind the iron curtain and how it became the game that spread everywhere in the world and sold hundreds of millions of copies(not to mention the pirated ones – hell, the real numbers might be something akin to the “Angry Birds”-sales of recent years). Hell, add some authenticity and cast someone like Anton Yelchin as Pajitnov. You could even spin it into some espionage-style thriller if you wanted.
Of course, in the current political climate in the world there’s no way in hell that any studio would ever finance THAT movie. So I guess “epic scifi-thriller” it is. What the hell do I know anyway? If they want to start their “cross-cultural movies for the global market“-venture with this, then all the power to them – I just think there would be less dumb-sounding ways to do it.
Speaking of dumb: might I suggest some other titles equally well-suited for adaptation, just to give out some more ideas?(like anyone’s reading this anyway)
– A CGI 3D animated movie about a frog who goes through therapy sessions after causing general havoc in all the freeways – and logging routes – as he is always inclined to take the straightest route to anywhere he goes. In the end, he learns to sometimes take the long route.
– A Wild West-adventure of the Quickest Barkeep in the West who faces the ultimate challenge as he rides into a town that’s filled to the brim with the Worst Alcoholics in the West. During his ordeal, he develops an attraction to the town nurse while getting treated for a worsening Carpal Tunnel syndrome.
– An exciting adventure set deep inside the mountains, as a neurotic miner who can only dig in 90 degree angles has to deal with the aftermath of him forgetting to secure all the round rocks he comes into contact with. Starring The Rock.
And if anything else fails, “a man getting hit in the groin by football” should make hundreds…
That is all.