‘Deus Ex’ Will Be a ‘Realistic’ Cyberpunk Movie, Not Noir Like ‘Blade Runner’

Published 2 years ago by

Deus Ex Human Revolution Adam Jensen Deus Ex Will Be a Realistic Cyberpunk Movie, Not Noir Like Blade Runner

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.”

Deus Ex Movie Sinister Director Deus Ex Will Be a Realistic Cyberpunk Movie, Not Noir Like Blade Runner

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

Follow Rob Frappier on Twitter @robfrappier
TAGS: Deus ex
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I thought Deus Ex was a comic book, not a game.

    • You’re thinking of Ex Machina.

      • No, they DID make a Deus Ex: Human Revolution comic. I think it serves as a prequel to the game.

    • Yeah, that comic was pretty cool.

    • Deus Ex has been #1 in every best PC games ever list.

  2. I never asked for this

    • Lmao! Nice quote, where did you steal it from… jk

  3. @Cosmic God I think you’re referring to Ex Machina.

  4. Hopefully it’ll work out and we can finally see movie versions of Gears Of War and Halo because of it.

    • Halo=Yes

      Gears Of War=Hell no

      • Halo=Yes

        Gears of War=Oh hell yea

  5. Although I do agree that the sic-fi noir aesthetic has been used a lot in the last 30 years, I love that aesthetic. Also that is kind of the aesthetic of the game, I mean look at that picture on the top of the article, that is about as noir as it gets.

  6. I m so pumped for a deus exmovie
    But why do they keep giving those kind of material to largely unproved director. The exorcism of Emily rose, the remake of the day the earth stood still, etc.. This guy resume doesn’t have any serious credit…
    I d rather have a good indie trying to break out : guys like mcquarrie, whedon, seems to be in limbo for decades until someone remember them and finally give them a shot at major gig.

    This guy has interesting idea so I m gonna believe his previous movies were yes man job where he barely had any input.

  7. Wow from the direction they’re going in, this movie is going to be BIG!! Can’t wait for this!! The concepts of the story alone will make the movie epic!

  8. Is nobody going to comment that aesthetic genre has NOTHING to do with content genre??
    If something’s noir or not doesn’t affect how realistic it is, it’s a freaking aesthetic! You can have a noir movie be totally out to lunch candypants fantastical or dead realistic, as long as you have trench coats, chiaroscuro lighting and hard-boiled narration, you can do whatever else you like!

    • You do realize that trench coats and chiaroscuro lighting are only about aesthetics and not about content either, right? And even a hard-boiled narration is mostly a stylistic choice and has little to do with the content that makes a film noir a film noir.

      • Uh, yeah, that’s what he said…

        • Yeah, I didn’t realize that he thought that Noir is about aesthetics alone, while the Noir genre actually has specific content elements as well.

  9. After the trailer Square Enix made for the game I thought it SHOULD have been a movie. If they use that trailer as a reference point everyone should end up happy, and after playing through the game multiple times it’s safe to say they have an already epic cinematic aesthetic to follow, but with video game movies you just never know.

    Only request, why not give Adam some unkempt hair and beard instead of a designer haircut and facial hair. The man is supposed to be depressed after all…

  10. Christian Bale as Adam Jensen FTW

      • Yeah, as much as I like Christian Bale, I’m gonna side with Winchy here.

        • …But I don’t think the guy in the picture would make a good Adam either.

  11. I won’t hold my breath on a good video game movie. When I see one I will believe.

    I have said it before. Modern games play out like movies and for RPG’s like Deus Ex and Mass Effect the players are way to connected to their Character to every be happy with any version the movie goes with.

    This looks like the same old video game movie money grab that they always are.

  12. There is SO much potential in a film like this. Cinema needs a good, modern cyberpunk flick. With Hollywood dragging it’s feet on properties like Ghost in the Shell, it’s time for some studio to stand up and let these filmmakers loose on their cyberpunk tales.

  13. I’d like someone to point the movie out to me that, ‘Just be faithful to the game a huge audience of the game will show up.’

    AS far as I can tell that has never happened. Saying that is the flaw of video game adaptions is ridiculousness. I’m sorry, ten minutes of FPS footage in “DOOM” is not an example of being true to the film. Getting rid of the dark noir setting of DEHR basically says “hey were going to use the name of the game to attract audiences and publicity, but this film is going to be nothing like the game, and it will suck, thank you for the bucket of money.”

  14. It’s not the end of the movie genre but you can see it from here

  15. So, these guys want to be the first to put out a deep, ambitious cyberpunk movie that movies away from the noir look in favor of a more grounded visual aesthetic? That sounds great. Now all they nees is a time machine to go back to 1998 before Cronenberg made eXistenZ.

    Seriously, these guys don’t know what they’re talking about. Neuromancer is overrated. Gibson is a great stylist but his characters are 2 dimensional and by his own admission he just makes up the plots as he goes along. The Matrix sequels, eXistenZ, and Ghost in the Shell:Inncocence easily eclipse anything Gibson has written in terms of thematic depth.

  16. While I haven’t played the game yet (it’s on my to-do list), the story line is compelling, visually the game is stunning, and I think out of all the chances of video-game-turned-cinema, this one will be successful. It sounds like the creative team knows what they are doing–be true to the concepts within the story and take it up a notch for the movie. No fan wants to revisit a game they already played on the big screen. It seems obvious, so why did it take so long for it to be realized? I’m looking forward to the movie and will be first in line for it!

  17. So they’re not trying to make a noir setting? Let’s look at Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s main character, Adam Jensen. A cop, so to speak, nearly gets killed, only to return and hunt down those who did harm to them serving justice. Sounds like noir to me.

    • Not that I wouldn’t love a Cyberpunk Noir film (if it isn’t made like this, let’s get the cash Antwan and make it happen!) but I wouldn’t really place Deus Ex in the Noir genre.

      I may be wrong but Noir films for one generally take place between the 1940s and 1950s. That’s not to say the creators of the film can’t take on a Noir like approach to this film because it’s not a Noir film, it can certainly still have elements or Noir. Also please don’t take this as a means of implying your stupid or anything but actually Noir is stylized Crime Drama so really a Noir film doesn’t specifically have to have the plot you described to be within that genre of film.

      It’d be like describing Killzone to explain how all FPS Genre games plotlines. It happened in an FPS Game but not every FPS Game. Again, Cyberpunk Noir would be awesome. Part of me hopes the creators of the Deus Ex film read your quote and change their mind.

  18. Hey sorry to double post guys but I just wanted to point out. Why does this film need to follow the plotline to Human Revolution? A game which while not bad still isn’t the original. I’ve got a friend who’s an enormous fan of the series and according to him (and the Deux Ex fan community) Human Revolution didn’t quite meet the level of the first game.

    To be honest, I’d rather have film makers show us what they’d do with the Deux Ex Franchise then just make a carbon copy, giving us elements of Deux Ex that we know and love with small neat nods to the game and a story that’s been created to benefit a movie and not a video game.

    Basically take Bioshock for instance, that couldn’t work as a movie since Ken Levine and Irrational Games made the game to take elements of FPS and show how we’d come accustomed to them to the point where we don’t question certain aspects, why doesn’t the main character talk? Who is this man/women giving us instructions? Why are we following their every word blindly into danger? But because of this it means most of the game is Jack listening to Atlas over a radio.

    The same can’t be said for a movie of any genre so the story would fall apart if you made a film out of it and made it a carbon copy of the game. I think right now we all (No matter how much of a Deux Ex fan you are) have to except that the film makers will have to take liberties in order to create a coherent and entertaining film. It’s Deux Ex but it’s their Deux Ex. You want the game go play the game.

    Also in case the people who no doubt will want to call me out here arrive I just want to point out. I’m a fan of The Walking Dead and Marvel comics, I’ve also watched every Marvel film to date and seen every episode of The Walking Dead. Trust me, I’m not the kind of fan who can’t practice what he preaches (Well ok when it’s generally bad I call it bad, I’m not saying if I’m a fan of something I like an adaptation automatically)

  19. If they f*ck with this game, I gonna f*ck them.

    And later they must follow the trilogy, Deus Ex then Deus Ex invisible war, or else, they die too.

  20. Personaly i think they picked the worst deux ex to make into a movie (worst storyline, not game), the original / invisible war had a much better storyline. The gameplay was good on HR which is why i enjoyed it but i didnt get caught up in the story like i did in the first 2. There are simply weak plots/backgrounds of certain characters that i thought ruined the deux ex:HR storyline. However dispite this i will watch it as im a fan of deux ex and would be excited for the next 2 movies if they are to follow.

    • If they intend on creating a Deus Ex movie franchise, they ought to start with the beginning of the story. And if they plan only one film, it’s more commercially viable to base it on the latest game rather than those that were made a decade ago.

  21. What they’re saying sounds to me like the same rubbish spouted by Paul Anderson and all the other hacks who have made terrible movies supposedly based on videogames.

    Those previous movies weren’t bad because the were “faithful” to the videogames – the complete opposite. There hasn’t been one movie based on a videogame that actually WAS based on the videogame, the people making them have ALWAYS had this ridiculous philosophy of “we’re not making a game, we’re making a movie, so lets not worry about making it like the game…” – which sounds exactly like what these two are saying right here.

    The Resident Evil movies are only successful for one reason – Milla Jovovich looking hot, semi naked in nearly every installment. That is the ONLY reason people pay to see those movies. Fans of the RE games hate the movies, fans of cinema hate the movies.

    The fact they’re taking this “anti-noir” approach to Deus Ex says it all – it’s like it doesn’t even matter to them that the game WAS noir….The game was clearly based on/inspired by films like Blade Runner, so logically the only good film based on Deus Ex would be one that is also noire – otherwise you might as well not make a Deus Ex movie, and just make a totally original franchise instead, because it defeats the whole point.

    When a movie is based on a book, and it is faithful, we don’t say “they just rehashed the book…” – being faithful should not be seen as “rehashing”.

    The thing is, when we say “this game would make an amazing movie” the reason we say that is that its story, its narrative, and its cinematic style is already so suited to film in the first place – but what these so-called filmmakers have done so far is come at it with the attitude of “It’s a game, so we’re going to need to change its story, narrative and style drastically in order for it to work as a movie…” they just automatically assume that, as a game, its story is going to be below par.

    Which is hilarious, because the storyline they then make up themselves and replace it with is nearly always infinitely more badly written and banal than the game’s original.

    I don’t want to see a District 9-style Deus Ex movie, because Deus Ex is about as far removed from District 9 as you can get.

    Deus Ex is a noire game. A Deus Ex movie should be a noire movie. It really is that simple.

  22. I don’t get why they have to adapt video games into movies..stuff like the two cgi resi movies sure but they fit in with the game story and that was capcom that did them. But for stuff like this..why don’t they just make their own cyberpunk film? sure use a game for a bit of inspiration but do a new story with new characters that way they aren’t pissing off fans of games and can possibly make a decent movie.

  23. Deus Ex should be visually and atmospherically, something like the movie Equilibrium. Assuming it will be based on the storyline of the original Deus Ex.

    • No, it shouldn’t: Equilibrium was a somewhat laughable poor man’s Matrix/1984. Also, why the hell would you assume that an adaptation of Human Revolution will be based on the first game?!