If you're keeping track, or looking for any tidbits, the much anticipated translation of the Ubisoft game, Prince of Persia, has reportedly started filming on the 16th of September.
As we've noted previously, Jake Gyllenhaal of Brokeback Mountain fame, stars in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Also starring in the flick are Gemma Arterton, Sir Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina and Toby Kebbell.
The project is an effort between Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films and is slated for a 2010 release. It's about a prince who teams up with a rival princess to stop an angry ruler from doing some evil deeds.
So why am I not jazzed about the upcoming new video game-to-movie effort?
At the moment it seems to me that Prince of Persia has some serious industry backing with Disney and Bruckheimer. This combination alone gives me the sense that it has potential.
But what tempers my anticipation for Prince of Persia are the writers.
- Carlo Bernard: Very limited experience of writing credits.
- Jordan Mechner: Limited experience in writing credits, and most of them are related to video games.
- Doug Miro: Three credits: One of them is Prince..., another is still to be released.
- Boaz Yakin: Boaz has the most experience, and a few flicks I've actually heard of. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, From Dusk Till Dawn 2. Hmm... vampires and dancing. That should mix well with Persian prince politics. (I said "heard of"... I missed these two fine literary contributions to the annals of film.)
Besides filming having commenced, the only other news that's come out of the project is about the new 22-year-old Bond girl, Gemma Arterton, moving in with the 19-year-old stuntman Eduardo Munoz, who was hired to teach her to ride horses for Prince. They said horses Eduardo. Horses! It must be chemistry because he's already moved in with Gemma and she hired a translator to teach them each others language so they can understand each other... verbally. Kids. Sheesh. I give it till he end of filming, at best. Maybe they'll learn enough vile language to learn how to break up properly.
The only salvation that keeps my eye in this direction is the director, Mike Newell. Newell has a history of success behind him, including putting the fantasy genre to screen. (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) But he just may have his job cut out for him.
How Many Video Games Must We Suffer Through?
I have to confess that with my digital, 5-speaker surround sound computer system I like gaming. When I'm pinned by two armored vehicles and only 2 rockets and a couple of satchel charges to my digital name, it's fun. Or when I'm driving my NASCAR simulator, the place shakes, windows rattle and the animals run for their lives in my place - hehe. But my motivation, my story is to destroy the other guy and not be destroyed or just move that other car... who cares what happens or why. Just go go go. My first online win came from a move sort of like that. Hehehe.
The aspect I ponder is how video games translate as a story into a movie? What's my motivation? It's a single emotion, maybe two. Escape some of my daily woes, destroy the enemy. But yet, on that premise alone, it seems that many games have been made into movies.
Many game-to-movie efforts have floundered, heck there were many I didn't even know were translated to movies. Sometimes it seems that they hire actors who look like the game characters, hand them props from the game and thell them to run that way, and pull the trigger. Go go go!! That's a wrap! Now jump through the window. That's a wrap! If he survives, we'll have him jump over a car! Dialog... Oh yeah... forgot that. Propmaster!!?? What do you think he might say here?
At the front of my brain is Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson in the translation of one of my old favorite first-person shooters, Doom! Despite the fact that I tend to gravitate to action oriented, lead splaying movies that just make me feel better after a rough day, it was just OK. Even I need some story behind the bullet distribution patterns.
The video game-to-movie rendition I've enjoyed was Resident Evil. I never played the game. I was too busy with Doom and all the add-ons, add-ins and add-to's, but I liked the premise of Resident Evil, not to mention really enjoying watching Milla Jonovich kick butt.
Speaking of watching, I think when you "cross a Playboy Bunny with Bruce Wayne" archeologist type character in the Lara Croft films with Angelina Jolie, and add semi-Ok writing, it's bound to be a hit and is one of my perennial favorites on the tube as repeats when nothing else is competing for my writers eye. (I hope my wife isn't reading this.)
A lot of the time I can't imagine trying to create a story out of a first person shooter that is a compelling tale to tell. To further complicate the situation is not committing the money and nabbing up-and-coming actors that may not have the draw of big names. The one flick I am not even holding my breath on is Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li starring Smallville's Kristen Kreuk. Without a Clark to pine about, what will she do? Oh... did I just say that?
One movie that I think has a lot of anticipation is Max Payne. It stars Mark Wahlberg, and written by Shawn Ryan, whose latest endeavor includes The Shield. This flick is due to come out October 17th. The previews look like it doesn't suck and it's got me interested, unlike most previews of game-to-movies previews.
Yes, I've left out a lot of game-to-movie names. And there are a lot. So like I said, or recommend to the game / movie makers: If you don't have the bucks, and can't hire the big names, maybe it would be best if you just waited a bit to get the mula. I'd rather have a movie I've made to have a lasting impression than something that only gets remembered because it's added to a list somewhere.
Just ask Bruce. He'll tell ya' like he sees it.
DISCLAIMER: When I say I enjoyed a game-to-movie translation, I did not say it was a fantastic, earth shattering story captivating movie. I just enjoy it for what it is. I thought I'd say that before you started slamming me for calling something good. It is good for the moment. Kind a' like candy or beer.