In Hollywood’s never-ending quest to find the perfect setup for new franchises, so many different avenues continue to be explored. One such avenue is the adapting of popular or classic video game titles into movies. This endeavor is not without its risks, however, as huge titles like Warcraft and Silent Hill have not hit the mark their respective studios had been hoping for. Ever the optimist, Hollywood refuses to relinquish the video game to movie approach.
Banking on the past success and general appeal of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, New Line is the latest major studio to take on the challenge of a video game adaptation. Eager to bring the classic arcade hit Rampage to the big screen, the studio has cast Johnson in the upcoming film’s lead and hired San Andreas director Brad Peyton to bring the project to life. Though we haven’t had a lot of news on the film’s plot, Peyton’s recent comments have revealed that Rampage will be a lot more emotional, scary and real than audiences would expect.
These initial comments had many wondering exactly how emotional a film about humans turned into giant monsters, who then wage war against a city could be. Now thanks to Fandango, that question has come a little closer to being answered. During a Facebook chat with the Brad Peyton for his horror film Incarnate, the director had this to say about the emotional content of Rampage and how it specifically relates to animals:
"There's some really touching, heartbreaking things. Dwayne is playing a character like I've never seen him play before. He's a guy who has issues of trust and really connects with animals. There is a relationship there with an animal in the movie that's... I'm an animal person and I have dogs and cats and they're like your kids. He has a similar relationship where there's a real bond there. When you have an innocent, like a dog or a cat or like his friend in this movie, this creature, and something happens to them and they're just an innocent, it can be heartbreaking. So in Rampage, there's an emotional anger there that I don't think people are expecting."
This isn’t the first upcoming release that has pointed to a deeper storyline that deals with the relationship between humans and animals. Jurassic World 2 writer/producer Colin Trevorrow recently surprised many when he revealed that the dinosaur blockbuster would deal with the issue of animal abuse. Exactly how Rampage intends to incorporate this aspect into such an unlikely genre will be interesting, to say the least. Given that the traditional plot of the video game follows humans transformed into monsters, the safe bet is on a close friend or relative of Johnson’s character being transformed. This would leave Johnson torn between stopping the destruction and preserving the life of his loved one.
Of course, Peyton’s previous comments have also indicated that he doesn’t want to stick too close to the original game and instead create something that is its own thing. This could mean a lot of new additions/changes to the film’s plot. However, with Dwayne Johnson on board, there’s always going to be blockbuster potential. Rampage has the setup to be a wild and crazy popcorn movie and any emotional weight it might have could certainly help further endear it to a wide audience.
Rampage opens in U.S. theaters on April 20th, 2018.