Who Do I Have To Kill To Stop The Shadow Of The Colossus Movie?

Who Do I Have To Kill To Stop The Shadow Of The Colossus Movie?
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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.


      • I think the limited budget of an art film would also work in the films favour – avoiding splattering the screen with endless CG and keeping things intimate (to the extent that a movie about giant monsters can be intimate) is going to be the only way to succeed here.

        I think Nicolas Winding Refn might be a good choice – he has a certain taste for tackiness so might not be entirely averse to making a movie based on a game (not to suggest that SOTC is tacky, but there’d have to be some stigma there), and Valhalla Rising’s surreal, psychedelia and atmosphere seem ideal for making a good SOTC film.

    • That’s my sentiment. Let’s see what they come out with, and if it’s absolute shite we’ll at least get some cool monsters to use as wallpapers.

  • I agree, there is absolutely no way that Hollywood could make a film that does the game justice at all. It’s all about minimalism and subtlety and nuance, and they make films that do the exact opposite on all counts.

    • Not every hollywood movie is a big budget tentpole blockbuster.
      Look at last years Oscars best picture nominees, plenty of thoughtful and even experimental films get made by hollywood as well.

      If it was done right I would be happy to see a Shadow of the Colossus film, but only if it was done right.

      • Just curious – not attacking or anything – but what kind of content do you think the ‘right’ SotC movie would have?

        • Borderline arthouse, slow paced, minimal dialogue apart from maybe flashbacks, and all that dialogue is in the game’s created language. Of course fitting all of the colossi in the film would be tough, they’d have to pick a select few and go with that.

          Of course I’m no filmmaker, but I feel that in the right hands SOTC could be brought to the big screen.

  • Meh, it’s not that serious. I love ICO & SotC, and if the original creators can get a lot of $$$ from this, then more power to them. If the movie does come out one day and is terrible, you can choose not to watch it. It may even get more people to check out the original source material.

    Between this, live-action Cowboy Bebop, and Hollywood Oldboy, it’s best to just shrug it off than fanboy rage over it.

    • Agreed 100%.

      If you don’t like it, don’t watch it otherwise it could be a great film that we all get to benefit from. It doesn’t ruin what is and will still be a great game.

  • I’m going to be mean and tell you who went to see those Transformer movies.

    It was fratboys. It’s the only group Micheal Bay films for.

  • I am trying to envisage a decent SotC movie, but I honestly cannot figure out what it would have in it. More dialogue and a traceable story rips the mystery and eerie atmosphere out, and less dialogue turns it into a horrid and boring hack-and-slash fest.

    This is probably going to be the worst game adaptation of all time.

  • If you can kill me Ewe Boll, M. Night Shamallamaman and whoever wrote the World War Z script. I’ll make your dreams come true. This is my deal for you, Alex.

    • I would say “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED”, but I don’t want any evidence to prejudice the inevitable trial.

      So, uh, I never actually said that, right? right?

      • Eh, fair enough. How about we add a clause to the film deal that says they can’t make the movie until the last guardian comes out. Boom, problem solved.

  • Looking at the past I can understand the angst concerning the adaption of a video game to film. But gamers tend to have a pretty terrible idea of what good art is. I mean seriously, almost every games as art debate boils down to Ico, SotC, Limbo and Journey. It would appear that gamers can only appreciate a video game as art if it’s some isolated, surreal or grimdark interactive movie. So when I see people discussing the SotC film and freaking out that it wont be as perfect as the game I have difficulty not raging when a film adaption is about the closest thing to the original game as you can get. INB4 I’m quoted to death.

  • I’m not really sold on Josh Trank as director. Also, as reflected by most of the above community, I don’t think the game really lends itself as commercial movie material. It’s also a game that is treasured highly as the video game industry’s “this is art” argument. Anything but a minimalistic quiet ‘arthouse’ movie wouldn’t really work (and even then, is it even necessary?).

    I’m going to throw my 2c in on the Transformers comments as well… I love Michael Bay movies. I think that his work (usually with the cinematography expertise of Mitchell Amundsen) looks amazing. Go back and watch Armageddon on Bluray. It looks good to this day. There are character movies, then there are blockbusters. I prefer a movie that DOESN’T pretentiously market itself as cinema art and knows what it is. As much as I like the new Batman movies, there are way to many contradictions to the ‘dark’ material to take it as seriously as it needs to be taken. It is far to easy to rag on Transformers because it is too easily dissected. Cinema nerds love to be challenged mentally, hence why they get all flustered when their precious Optimus Prime isn’t given a solid character arc to properly make the character relatable.

    Just remember, if you’re a 25-30 something year-old movie critic watching a movie about giant toys hitting each other, don’t blame Bay because your expectations are not met. Same goes for the near-future Turtles movie.

  • Give it to Peter Jackson, he could do it.
    Then again he’d probably make a trilogy out of it. Imagine 3 movies of silent with 2 mins worth of Dormin speaking throughout all movies. Agro! Agro!!! Agroo!! Whistle!

    I love SOTC… I want to see those happy meal figurines rrly.

    • Don’t blame Peter Jackson for trilogies. He only wanted to make 2 Lord of the Rings and 2 Hobbit movies. It was someone else’s fault, I forget who it was, who wouldn’t allow them to make the Lord of the Rings movie unless it was split in three films.

      • Yeah that rrly sucks for Pete now.. All that extra money and publicity made. Damn that person who forced him to do that! Damn him to hell.

      • Not quite true – he only thought he’d get the money for two Lord of the Rings films. New Line replied saying that there were three books, so a trilogy made more sense than two compressed films.

        Hobbit I can understand being artificially elongated, although be aware that the third movie is the War of the Five Armies, which is glossed over in the book. The actual story content of The Hobbit will be done by movie two.

  • I liked I, Robot…

    But only because I have the ability to treat separate works as unrelated to each other.

    Probably why I can still think positively about Diablo 3.

  • Hermes & Thoth mentioned this on twitter & i think its an amazing idea :

    Shadow of the Colossus as a 10 part HBO series. 1 colossus per episode. No dialogue.

    Edit: i know there’s more than 10 colossi, but still…

  • I thought for a moment “Maybe it could be good. I like movies with monsters and killing. Lord of the Rings and shit” but then you said something that absolutely killed the mere idea..

    “The game of the movie


  • You’re right. The only way to get good movies into cinemas is to start with BAD source materials. This business of trying to make good movies out of good stories is doomed to failure and should be stopped.

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