Director Scott Derrickson and writer C. Robert Cargill took on an ambitious project when they agreed to adapt the sprawling game Deus Ex: Human Revolution into a feature film, but the pair are optimistic that they can buck the trend of bad video game movies by focusing on a realistic visual approach and a script that respects the game’s complex narrative.
In a recent interview about the film, Derrickson and Cargill discussed how they planned to bring the game’s many “big ideas” to the big screen and how the look of the movie would be influenced by recent sci-fi films like Looper and District 9.
Speaking with Crave Online, Cargill explained that they weren’t thinking about the movie as a video game adaptaion, but rather as a cyberpunk film.
“We’ve taken a look at what’s worked in video games and what hasn’t, and really what we’ve broken down is what we think the audience really wants, [what] the audience that loves ‘Deus Ex’ is going to want to see out of a ‘Deus Ex’ movie. And it’s not a rehashing of the game. What they want to see is, they want to see elements of the game that they love, but they want to see things that they hadn’t quite seen in the game, that the game didn’t allow them to see. So it’s really allowed us to expand upon the things that happened in the game, and the game has such a great cinematic story to begin with that those elements are very easy to extract. But really, at its core, we just keep telling each other, ‘We’re not making a video game movie, we’re making a cyberpunk movie.’ “
Cargill also went on to explain that the style of the film wouldn’t be like Blade Runner and Alien, which have dominated the sci-fi landscape for 30 years; rather, their Deus Ex movie will be more realistic.
“That dark, wet, tech-noir look of a movie, and that kind of feel of a movie, it’s just dominated cinema for thirty years. It’s dominated sci-fi cinema. ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ together, really changed everything. Smoke and rain and fog and darkness… it’s noir. And ‘Looper’ and [District 9] went ahead and just got rid of that idea, and said let’s take a different aesthetic. And that aesthetic was, both in the aesthetic of the storytelling and the visuals, was ‘Let’s make it very realistic, and let’s start where some of these movies end, and let’s have different kinds of problems.’ “
Derrickson agreed with Cargill, saying that the film would “make for fresh cyberpunk storytelling,” in both its visual aesthetic and the fact that it was dealing with big, ambitious ideas. Derrickson also said that Deus Ex will be one of the first in a new generation of video game adaptations that will elevate the genre as a whole.
“I think that we’re going to see the first generation of video game adaptations made by people who grew up playing video games, and who grew up watching science fiction films. So there’s kind of a love for both, and also a very clear understanding of the difference between both. What makes a good game versus what makes a good movie. And certainly we don’t have the attitude of some past filmmakers, which is ‘Just be faithful to the game a huge audience of the game will show up.’ I think that’s been, in some ways, the Achilles Heel of these video game movies.”
Very few video game adaptations have been successful as movies, with the Resident Evil series being a notable exception (although that series never really reflected the plot of the actual games). However, Cargill and Derrickson make a good point when they say that modern games provide terrific source material for films.
Games like Deus Ex offer extremely layered narratives and engaging characters. Rather than trying to make a direct adaptation, filmmakers should focus on what makes the game unique, original, and compelling and try to bring that to life.
What do you think of this philosophy? Is this a good approach to finally making a great video game movie, or will Cargill and Derrickson come up short like the many others who have tried before them?
No release date has been set for Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Source: Crave Online