Work is progressing on a big-screen adaptation of Fumito Ueda’s rather excellent Shadow Of The Colossus. Am I the only one who hopes that it doesn’t actually get off the ground?
Warning: I’ve got the extra ranty trousers on yet again. The kind with the sandpaper on the inside, just to make sure I’m extra irritable.
Look, I very much get that just because somebody makes a movie out of something that it doesn’t automatically dilute the original source material. It’s why there has only ever been one Highlander movie. You can’t convince me otherwise, so don’t even try.
But Shadow Of The Colossus? I can very much see why it might appeal to Hollywood types; there are big freakish monsters there, and those usually play well on the big screen. That doesn’t automatically lead to a good movie, mind you, but it can lead to movies that make a lot of money. Somebody went to see all those awful Transformers movies, and if I ever work out who they were, they’re in deep trouble.
When you start out in Shadow Of The Colossus, you’re at first awed by the size and scope of the Colossus characters, and sorting them out is a mix of action and puzzles. In Hollywood parlance, how do you translate that onto the big screen?
The action’s a given — in fact, I’d be surprised if the end result wasn’t just a big hack and slash fest — but the pacing of the puzzles plays a key role in the tone of the game and the fact that you come to realise that what Wander is up to isn’t exactly the nicest of tasks. Hollywood’s not always good at that kind of subtlety, but it is good at big CGI monsters. I suspect I know which way they’ll go with that.
Still, it’s a work that relies very heavily on the lack of narrative, and the emotional journey you undertake as Wander, trying to revive Mono at the cost of the lives of the Colossi. It’s an immense achievement in video game form, but it seems unlikely that a Hollywood treatment would leave it as such a heavily script-free zone. No, we’re more likely to get Wander, Hollywood-quipping action here, astride the mighty horse Agro.
I suppose it could be worse. They could cast this guy as Agro.
Picture: Getty Images
Shadow Of The Colossus also works as a standalone game (yes, I know the presumed ties to ICO, but bear with me here) and as a work of art, whereas Hollywood is all about the sequels. Shadow Of The Colossus 2: Now with bigger, badder Colossi! Happy Meal Toys! The Videogame OF THE MOVIE!
There’s simply no way I’m not going to be annoyed by that.
Hollywood’s track record with movie-of-the-videogame properties simply isn’t that good. The best we’ve managed has been mediocre fare such as the first Mortal Kombat or Tomb Raider movies. Maybe Prince Of Persia at a push.
Hollywood, though, has a long history of spending millions on what’s called “development” (and sometimes “development hell“) of scripts towards a shooting stage that never actually takes place.
If you ever want a good read around a script that never made it to the shooting stage, try to track down Harlan Ellison’s unfilmed screenplay for Isaac Asimov’s “I, Robot“. Compelling reading — and a heck of a lot better than that dreck starring Will Smith that eventually did get made.
Just because big announcements get made doesn’t mean that movies get made. Not everything makes it to the silver screen, and given Hollywood’s track record, I’m currently holding onto the hope that the money being spent on the movie is just that — money being spent — and not something that’ll be infesting the cinema sometime in 2015.