Pixels (and five video games that deserve their own movie)
How many video games have you played where your objective is to save the world from one terrible fate or another? Plenty, we're sure, but how would you feel about having to do the same in real life?
That, in a nutshell, is the idea behind Pixels, the latest film starring Adam Sandler which arrives in stores on Monday (November 7th). Directed by Chris Columbus, the film is inspired by an animated short of the same name by Patrick Jean, expanding on its depiction of New York City being invaded by characters from Atari's classic 8-bit games that were popular in the 1980s.
The plot goes something like this: in 1982, N.A.S.A. launch a time capsule into space containing information about culture on Earth, including everything from music and film clips to video games, in the hope that it will be discovered by aliens races in far off galaxies. The capsule is intended as a message of peace to alien civilisations, however things don't quite pan out as intended.
Fast-forward a couple of decades and the world suddenly finds itself under attack from beings who have taken the form of our favourite video game characters like Qbert, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, and who seem intent on pixellating the entire planet.
Conventional methods of defence don't seem to be working, so in a last-ditch attempt to save the world the U.S. government tracks down and recruits a group of former video game world champions to try and figure out a way to defeat their other-worldly enemies.
The cast of assembled gamers includes Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad, with a supporting cast that also includes Sean Bean, Dan Akroyd and Brian Cox (not the professor and former member of D:Ream, the other one...), as well as a couple of cameos from the likes of tennis champion Serena Williams.
Adam Sandler is an actor who has a tendency to polarise opinion and there will no doubt be those who didn't make it past the words “starring Adam Sandler” at the top of this article, but Chris Columbus is a director with plenty of experience in comedy and the cast is an impressive one, so even if you're not a Sandler fan you'll probably find that there's still plenty to enjoy about this wacky adventure.
You can find the trailer below, beneath that we've picked five video games that we think are ripe for an adaptation for the big screen...
The Legend of Zelda
As one of Nintendo's most popular titles over the past couple of decades, it's kind of surprising that nobody has made a serious attempt at adapting the adventures of Link into a proper, big-budget Hollywood film, and with a wave of successful young adult fiction novels like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner taking cinemas by storm in recent years, it feels like the right time. Peter Jackson seems like the right kind of director to make the project work, but although there were rumours of Netflix trying to create a TV series based on the game earlier this year, Nintendo released a statement stating that the article from whioch the rumours stemmed was 'based on incorrect information'. Slightly less than a flat-out denial, you might think, but it would take an HBO-sized budget to make a TV series viable and you have to wonder whether the streaming service could stump up that kind of cash. Whether or not anything comes of it, we still think Zelda is a perfect fit for cinemas and you'd hope that sooner or later one of the big studios could make this one happen.
The Last of Us
One of the most critically-acclaimed games in recent years, The Last of Us has a plot that seems ready-made for cinematic adaptation. Set 20 years after a pandemic that has transformed much of the human race into cannibalistic monsters, the game has all the ingredients for a big-budget movie and it looks as though this one might actually happen. Naughty Dog studios have been in discussions about the project for months now, but even now it's in the very early stages and despite a number of possible casting rumours having done the rounds – such as Maisie Williams in the role of Ellie – there's still no director, no script and nobody writing cheques to make it happen, but this looks more hopeful than most.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
One of Nintendo's most underrated games, Eternal Darkness has all kinds of potential for a feature film adaptation thanks to its mixture of terrifying settings, H.P. Lovecraft-inspired mythology and the bizarre effects of the game's 'sanity meter' which, when depleted, caused a number of weird effects that ranged from bleeding walls and never-ending corridors, to much more radical ideas involving breaking the fourth wall, tricking the player into thinking their console was malfunctioning. In the hands of the right director – we're thinking along the lines of David Lynch here – this could be not only a great film but a genuinely unique cinema-going experience.
Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar's stylish and gritty western is another game with all the right ingredients for a feature film, based around its plot of a former outlaw looking to exact revenge on the other members of his former gang when his wife is kidnapped. Directors like John Maclean and Kristian Levering have both turned in some impressive modern westerns recently in The Salvation and Slow West, but you could also imagine the likes of Quentin Tarantino or the Coen brothers turning this idea into something truly epic.
Another of Rockstar's titles, you could argue that L.A. Noire is quite similar to Curtis Hanson's brilliant 1997 crime drama L.A. Confidential, but where the idea behind the game differs is that most of the cases that feature in the game's narrative are based on real-life murders and other crimes, including those committed by the so-called 'Black Dahlia Killer' or the 'Red Lipstick Murder', based on the death of a real-life army nurse named Jean French. This gives the idea the potential for a number of sequels based on each case, and the game's slick production style would lend itself well to a big screen adaptation.