Director Brad Peyton hopes that Rampage will break the so-called ‘video game movie curse’, and that the Dwayne Johnson film will win over critics and moviegoers alike. The monster-filled tentpole is set to hit theaters in April, but most films adapted from video games disappoint at the box office and are usually panned in reviews. Being a gamer himself, Peyton thinks he knows why this happens so often, and believes that Rampage has all the ingredients to avoid the same fate as films like Super Mario Bros.
Rampage is based on the original 1986 arcade game made by Bally Midway, where you played as one of three huge monsters defending yourself from waves of humans, as you trashed skyscrapers and snacked on passing civilians for energy. The movie adaptation was first announced in June 2015, and reunites Johnson with his San Andreas director Peyton. Joining The Rock as members of the film’s cast are Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, among others. Having completed principal photography last July, the Rampage trailer footage released to date points to a film that may overcome the simplistic concept of the game itself – by taking the basic themes and producing something possibly spectacular.
Peyton spoke to IGN about beating the ‘curse’ of making bad films from video games, asserting that he wasn’t originally aware of the idea when he agreed to direct Rampage:
“There’s obviously a pressure to deliver on these things and to ground the movie and to deliver on spectacle and all that, but there also aren’t these expectations to what this character’s supposed to be or what this plot is supposed to be. I didn’t know about this quote-unquote ‘video game curse’ until about two weeks after I finished the movie… When you attempt to adapt something that has an incredibly deep plotline or character or something along those lines, you’re beholden to delivering something. And it’s really a difficult challenge because as a gamer, I know, I play as the hero. That’s an immersive medium, and so, it’s really hard to go up against something that pre-exists.”
Peyton is confident that Rampage will deliver on its promise, saying that above all else “monster movies are meant to be fun”. To that end, he has used Johnson’s character (primatologist Davis Okoye) and his friendship with George the Gorilla as an important part of the plot. Surprisingly the creative team also worked with the University of Southern California, to bring some kind of scientific basis to the mutating animals. Peyton added those elements to the visuals of all the expected destruction, and the quirky touches like the giant wolf being able to glide. Mixing all of that into a larger story, and combining it with Johnson’s star-power, Peyton hopes Rampage rises above its video game set-up and provides an enjoyable experience for audiences.
Seeing as how the original game concentrated on puny humans mutating into giant monsters and basically just had a points-based objective, the great cast and pulpy sci-fi storyline is an important part of the Rampage adaptation. It remains to be seen how the whole thing holds together when the movie actually opens in theaters, but the Rampage trailers have indicated that it may well be a fun ride and possibly strike it big at the global box office, especially with Johnson leading the charge.
We will bring you more news on Rampage as we get it.
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