When it comes to moviemaking, every idea ceases to also be a bad one once a particular movie gets it right. Basing movies off of all-but plotless product licenses was the sort of idea you'd use to parody the supposed creative bankruptcy of Hollywood. That was until The Lego Movie earned overwhelming praise from critics and audiences alike. Now, the floodgates have opened, and if interlocking plastic blocks can be a good movie, so can anything else.
Case in point: Warner Bros. is about to spend several million dollars to make Minecraft: The Movie - and now those behind the film have offered up a (slightly) better idea what it's about.
Technically, Minecraft was announced as a Warner Bros./Mojang co-production back in February of 2014, but development of the final production is only now beginning to take shape. Both the American film studio and the Swedish-based game developer are committed to preserving the integrity of the brand, both of which believe could be a potentially massive success. Producer Roy Lee, who also oversaw The Lego Movie, described the film thusly at the 2016 DICE Awards:
“The company, Mojang, is very involved in the development. So they know everything is going to be in the movie that can give us insight into future updates so we can put things into the movie around the same time they relaunch newer versions of the game and at the same time, potentially taking ideas from the movie and putting them into the game. So I don’t know exactly what things are going into the game, but they know exactly what’s going into the movie."
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Rob McElhnney has writing and directing duties on the feature, replacing originally touted helmer Shawn Levy (best known for the Cheaper By The Dozen and Night At The Museum series). The premise of the film is being kept under wraps for now, but it's expected to be an adventure/comedy hybrid aimed at the family market that Lee describes as "the same target audience as Jurassic World," which most observers are taking to mean that they want the film to be as successful across multiple demographics as possible. Said Lee of the film's overarching scenario:
"Minecraft would be part of a multiverse where humans can enter that has the feel of what the live action version of a Minecraft experience.”
By far the most interesting clue as to what the Minecraft movie might actually be is the word that isn't being used: Animation. While most attempts at a narrative within the Minecraft universe have held to the game's unique aesthetic, the lack of any mention of animation and Lee's casually cryptic drop of "humans entering" a "live action version" of the game may imply a premise that places human actors within the world of Minecraft. If so, that suggests a film that has more in common with Tron (or The Matrix) than previously presumed touchstone of The Lego Movie.
One can certainly imagine the comedic possibilities of such a premise, particularly if Minecraft the game "exists" in the world of the film and only certain characters understand what they're supposed to do -- though at this point all such speculation is, in fact, just speculation.
Warner Bros. is expected to target Minecraft for a 2018 release.