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‘Roid Rage: Univeral Presents Asteroids – The Movie

An Asteroids movie is coming. Yes, it’s like all your 1980’s Christmases are coming at once. The Atari classic about a two-dimensional triangle which blasts two-dimensional representations of asteroids is getting the deluxe movie treatment. And we’re as excited as anyone else! Which is not very excited at all. I would love to have been at that pitch meeting.

“So, what’s the plot about?”
“A two-dimensional triangle which blasts two-dimensional representations of asteroids.”
“Oh…”
“And in some modern versions, the triangle is different colours.”
“Sold!”

I wish I were making this up...

I wish I were making this up...

When will Hollywood learn that video games don’t make good movies? How many more viewings of Super Mario Brothers will it take for the studios to realise that video games are meant to be played, not watched. Sure, it’s easy to point the finger and saw it’s because most classic videogames lack a deep plot (as Asteroids does, Super Mario Brothers and Dead or Alive did), but even the adaptions of story-driven games (such as Max Payne) have been… rubbish, to be honest. If you have to fashion the storyline completely from scratch (as Universal will have to do here), what’s the point in even using the brand name? I’d half-consider revising my opinion if they were going to use the original two-dimensional representations (which would make it as close to an arts movie as a videogame adaptation is likely to get – unless you buy the “Super Mario Brothers as misunderstood masterpiece” argument), but I know it’s going to be all three-dimensional and over-the-top featuring a young good looking but unable to act cast.

We all know why the studios like to use videogame brands – it’s the same reason that they like to make movies from toys like Transformers or G.I. Joe: brand recognition. Obviously that logic worked for the first Transformers, but has there been a breakout videogame movie? Even the most successful videogame movie franchise – Resident Evil is moving into its fourth film – hasn’t exactly set the box office alight. You have to wonder if an original zombie movie advertised to the same extent could do similar. That’s the problem, right there: because the studios have to fashion stories to fit the games, they might as well be called different things entirely. I’m certain that our generation need a good ‘martial arts tournament’ movie, but producing two beat-’em-up videogame movies (Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter) failed to fill that hole because they were saddled with the videogame franchise.

To get back to Asteroids: The Movie, it really doesn’t bode well. Not only are they making a movie, but their choice of writer in Matthew Lopez (Bedtime Stories and Race to Witch Mountain) indicates they’re making a family movie. Really? The whole point of using a brand is getting people who remember the brand to see the film. That’ll be people like my father. I sincerely doubt he’s going to drag my little sister to a movie where guys blast rocks for ninety minutes.

See above caption...

See above caption...

I don’t know, sometimes I feel like Hollywood just does this stuff to irritate people who actually enjoy good movies. Videogames are designed to be played. Adaptations are unnecessary, because the really good ones (the newer Grand Theft Auto entries) make it feel like you’re starring in your own movie. After that, who wants to go and see what the guy who wrote Bedtime Stories thinks is the definitive version of the tale? If we did, we’d simply go around his house and watch him play.

Still, I am still waiting for the official confirmation of the Minesweeper movie. Hire the guys who made the trailer and you’ve got a bona fides classic on your hand.

One Response

  1. […] read his response to those critics of critics. Or maybe it was the announcement of a Viewfinder and an Asteroids movie within the same week that led him to publish a list of his most-anticipated toyetic movies in the […]

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