Wish List: 14 Directors and the Video Games They Should Adapt
Rotten Tomatoes' dream team of video game adaptations.
It's been almost 20 years of middling movies, but that hasn't stopped video game adaptations from attracting big names. Peter Jackson (Halo). Gore Verbinski (Bioshock). Michael Bay (Prince of Persia). As the E3 expo bombards us this week with new games, new technologies, and new dimensions (highlighting the diminishing differences between gaming and cinema), we're presenting a list of 14 iconic directors and the games they'd be adept at pulling out of your TV and plastering onto the big screen.
A film by John McTiernan
The game: Awesome weapons, rockin' soundtrack, brutal difficulty. Konami Code mandatory. If you weren't saving the princess, you were probably addicted to Contra.
Why McTiernan? John McTiernan. The man behind Die Hard and Predator. Also the man behind bars for conspiring with Anthony Pellicano. McTiernan needs a comeback project bad. Enter Contra. It's about bad guys getting wasted and big explosions in the jungle, inside laboratories, up waterfalls, and at the dark heart of an alien lair. Exactly the red-blooded, destroy-all-monsters freak show McTiernan (and cinema!) needs these days.
A film by Tim Burton
The game: A radioactive spacesuit transforms an ordinary earthworm named Jim into a walking, talking, marginally intelligent superhero.
Why Burton? This game's got action, a strong set of characters, immature humor (what's not to love about a final boss called Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt?), and fantastically twisted art design. All it needs now is a guy like Burton to pull it all together and make it palatable for the Hot Topic demographic. One question, though: should it be live-action or animated?
The Oregon Trail
A film by Terrence Malick
The game: An educational odyssey of covered wagons, rifle hunting, disease, and long, horrifying winters. Option to cannibalize friends would've made this game easier.
Why Malick? Only one man can depict this game's sparseness. (After all, most of The Oregon Trail is spent sitting, reading updates why you shouldn't turn it off.) Only Malick will deliver the meditative stares into the western plains, symbolic shots while buying a wagon axle, the pathetic desperation of frantically hunting squirrel, and the dysentery. Oh, God, all the dysentery.
Little Big Planet
A film by Michel Gondry
The game: Diminutive sackpeople run, jump, and solve puzzles. Stages are made out of cardboard, toys, and other assorted household items.
Why Gondry? A major part of Little Big Planet is its deep, mind-blowing content creation mode, resulting in machinimas like a puppet theater version of Duck Hunt, a marriage proposal disguised as a level, and recreations of Matthew Barney's movies. So let's see: Michel Gondry adapting a game about sackpeople who inhabit a world made out of disparate items. Too obvious? What about if Gondry made a feature-length movie/game using only the Little Big Planet content creator? Maybe that'll quiet the games-aren't-art troglodytes for a while. (Apologies to Ebert.)
A film by Robert Altman
The game: Humans visit and interact with each other, while looking for jobs, buying things for their house, and making babies.
Why Altman? The late master would've had no problem mining the comedy and drama from Will Wright's game of manners. House parties! Rooms tackily dressed in leopard prints by teenage girls! People putzing around, doing chores! All filtered through Altman's trademark wandering camera and overlapping dialogue! It'd be a swirling microcosm of boring human behavior that only Altman could make fascinating.
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
A film by David Fincher
The game: The ACME Detective Agency deciphers clues and hints to discover the whereabouts of master thief Carmen Sandiego and her henchmen.
Why Fincher? Fincher's eye for minutiae and detail (a foundation of the Carmen Sandiego games), proven proficiency at creating period locations, and his calculated, clean directorial style make him a perfect fit for the series. Sure, it'll be like Zodiac. But with time travel.
A film by Tim and Eric
The game: The King of All Cosmos commands his son to roll up every object and living thing on Earth using sticky multicolored balls.
Why Tim and Eric? Look at the picture of Katamari Damacy. Now look at the picture of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!! creators Tim Heidecker and Eric Warheim. How are this game and these nutjobs not a match made in chemically-induced heaven? Both make frequent use of rainbows, both execute ideas with deadpan creepiness, and both fuse their WTF sensibilities with bursts of surprising earnestness. Tim and Eric can create insanity with no money. Imagine what'll happen if they get their hands on a few million bucks and a franchise about the cheerful psychedelic destruction of the world.