Let's face it friends and enemies, when Hollywood is pulling its ideas from its game shelf then we are in some serious trouble. Yes, Clue is an awesome movie, and the fact that there is apparently never going to be a special edition with commentary, featurettes, or even the trailer is a complete and utter travesty. That being said, board games are not usually the stuff of gripping narrative.
Next summer, director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Hancock) will bring us Battleship. Details on the film are very sketchy, but our guess is that the film will basically be a naval war movie that is simply trying to capitalize on a name we all know to bring in some extra viewers and maybe seem kid-safe in the bargain. It's basically the same tactic romantic comedies use by naming the film after a well-known and completely unrelated pop song. We're looking at you, Addicted to Love.
What we are willing to bet every book in our house, though, is that we will not see a true Battleship film, which would basically be the story of two completely blind navies firing at each other at random. Something like Zatoichi meets Tora! Tora! Tora!.
Well Hollywood, whenever you go creatively bankrupt Art Attack is here to help you out. Since it's games you want, here are 5 others that would make stellar films.
The Pitch: Frankly, we're surprised that no one has even done a direct-to-video animated adaptation of the many, many, many stories being played out in the popular battle card game. There is literally any kind of fantasy story you could want to work with. They've got vampires, they've got ice age battles, they've got steampunk, and they've even got goblins firing machine guns.
Each series already comes complete with characters, story arcs, and the art already done for you. Now they even put out novelizations of each set as they are released, so 90 percent of the work is done. True, it's a relatively small part of the population that plays it, but they already gave $60 million to make a Dungeon Siege movie so Hollywood literally doesn't even have the hint of bloody stumps to stand on.
The Director: Dave McKean. We were stoked to hear that the director of MirrorMask was finally putting out another film, Luna, later this year. Everything that used to be true about Tim Burton is still true about Dave McKean, and we would love to see him take on the story of Phyrexia or Ravnica.
Interestingly enough, the British already made a game show out of Mouse Trap. This makes is doubly ready for Hollywood as they can latch onto an existing name brand and remake a foreign work at the same time. Somewhere a producer just ruined a pair of pants. On the up side, that logic might get us a film version of The Crystal Maze.
The Pitch: We don't know anyone who actually played the game Mouse Trap. You just built the trap and made it work over and over again. Executing the Rube Goldberg device was a pure rush to the adolescent mind, a feeling of power over complexity.
We think Pixar should take on making a Mouse Trap movie. It could be a sort of reverse Great Escape where a group of mice enlist the help of a lonely young child in order to help them construct a massive trap for their dictatorial mouse ruler. It would be a wonderful lesson about standing up for yourself and the power of teamwork.
The Director: Well, it's Pixar, so you're talking Brad Bird. He's taken to tackling some wonderfully dark and complex storylines in some of Pixar's movies.
Editor's note: Apparently it was a bad idea to remind Jef that they already madeDungeons and Dragons
. There's an IMDB page and everything. He insisted that such a film had never been made, and when I countered that there was no way he had not seen a movie that featured Richard O'Brien he... well, let's just say it took three interns and a UPS man to bring him down.
Anyway, Someone should make a Dungeons and Dragons film. It's very surprising that no one has before because it would totally rock. Maybe Peter Jackson could take a stab at it.
The Pitch: Hungry Hungry Hippos is an odd game. It's highly adversarial but there's not really anything you can do to win. Unless your opponent has some kind of actual disability that limits hand motion, the players are all going to just mash the levers as hard as they can in hopes on capturing balls. The only thing we can think of that this would prepare you in life for is if you enter the profession of competitive masturbating.
So there's not much to go on for a film, but what we envision is a period piece set in the 1980s where a web of Cold War intrigue surrounds a Hungry Hungry Hippo tournament between America and the Soviet Union. It would do for Chess what Dick did for All the President's Men.
The Director: Hands down, we want Andrew Fleming. Hamlet 2 was a film that made us so happy after we watched it that we felt that anything and everything was possible. It was bar-none the best comedy of 2008, and if anyone can take this ridiculous premise and churn out a masterpiece it is him.
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The Pitch: Fireball Island is the greatest board game ever invented, and the fact that an unopened original set will cost you $200 on eBay is proof of that fact. Milton Bradley is losing out big time on not reprinting the game.
The point of the game is to beat a group of fellow adventurers to a mystic jewel guarded by the island's god Vul-Kar then safely escape. You climb 3D terrain, use a variety of tactical cards against your opponent, and most importantly you get to use Vul-Kar to hurl fireballs down the trails to burn the other players or knock them off of bridges. We have had sexual encounters that were not as fun as this game was.
The Director: Roland Emmerich is the only reasonable choice. We want this film to be as mindless exciting as the game itself. We want quippy remarks, explosions, jungle beasts, and hot natives in skimpy outfits. In short, we want a pulp serial come to life. It would destroy!