“Rampage” (2018) unveils first trailer

“Yeah, well. Animals get me.”

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Warner Bros. Pictures have unveiled the first trailer for their adaptation of Midway’s Rampage. The original game was released to arcades in 1986, before being ported over the years. The player’s objective is to destroy various cities as different giant creatures while surviving waves of military attacks. Each creature are former humans, and have been transformed by science.

Midway were acquired by Warner Bros. in 2009. In this film adaptation – written by Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal and Hirman Garcia – the three monsters appear to instead be enhanced in size. Rampage is releasing 20th April.

Hollywood is giving Mario a second chance

“It’s-a me, Mario!”

Since his first appearance in 1981’s Donkey Kong, Mario has become the most iconic and best-selling video game character of all time. It made perfect sense that when video games finally launched into motion pictures, he was where they started. 1993’s Super Mario Bros. was a box office disappointment due to its poor reception – Nintendo and Disney had attempted to compromise on conflicting creative visions, and the result was a mess. Its own actors have publicly disowned it, one of its co-directors has never worked on a feature film again, and its other co-director is only now working on their next one.

But more importantly, it began the sub-genre of video game film adaptations, and did it badly. Either as a direct consequence or otherwise, the rest of that sub-genre’s releases followed suite. There is yet to be one which is well received critically. Many have tried, but Nintendo, who were the first, never wanted to attempt it again.

Until now. An article in The Wall Street Journal, which is blocked behind a pay wall, reports that deals have now been made with Nintendo which they find satisfying enough to be confident in giving a Mario film another go. Initial descriptions of what is currently being planned would imply that the intention is to make the opposite of Super Mario Bros.. One of the major problems with that film was the attempt to rationalise Mario world by rendering him in live action, which altered the way the audience perceived a virtual character.

This time, Nintendo are collaborating with Illumination Entertainment to make an animated Mario film that is effectively a feature-length Full Motion Video, which will be distributed by Illumination’s owners, Universal. Nintendo are to be creatively involved, with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto attached as producer. The aim is to make a film which is an honourable representation of Mario. Miyamoto has expressed disdain for Super Mario Bros. in the past, saying in an interview with Edge Magazine that his opinion for why the film was such a failure is because of the intention to make a film that was about the games, rather than being a film that was inspired by them.

Miyamoto has guided Mario through his adventures, and knows what’s best for him and his brand. If he’s involved, then that’s a good sign. What needs to happen now is for Nintendo and Universal to find the right way of doing things together; agree on what film they both want to make, and hire a director who’s on the same page. Effective teamwork can do untold benefits to any project.

According to The Wall Street Journal‘s article, Universal acquired the Mario film license as part of a larger 2015 deal which licenses them to make a Super Nintendo World theme park. This license is for several Mario films, though only one is in development at this time. We keep hoping that a video game film will break the curse and be a critical success. Mario has the most potential to be it.

But as history shows, it’s more than just a brand name. It has to be done right. The involvement of the people who make the Mario games is all very well, but they don’t make films. And until we know more about this, we can only speculate and hope.

 

The Super Mario Galaxy was first introduced in Donkey Kong (1981).

The Well-Red Mage reaches its 500th post

Well, it’s happened, NPCs. I’ve become my father. Today The Well-Red Mage blog reaches its 500th post, this post you’re reading right now! Nearly a fifth of all the articles that have appeared here are courtesy of contributors, so a massive debt of gratitude goes to our writing mages for enabling TWRM to reach this milestone. Thank you, […]

via “How To Reach 500 Posts Without Knowing Where You’re Going” —

Glad to have been one of the steps on the way here.

Hitman heads to Hulu

“Names are for friends, so I don’t need one.”

So far, there have been two live action incarnations of the Hitman franchise: Hitman (2007) and Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), both distributed in the United States by 20th Century Fox and produced by Chuck Gordon and Adrian Askharieh (who’s also attached to the Just Cause film).

But now there is to be a third. Deadline have exclusively revealed that a Hitman television series is in development, with 20th Century Fox’s fox21 television studios., Askarieh and Gordon now collaborating with hulu.

The intention is to closely adapt the mythology of the Hitman series, which launched with 2000’s Hitman: Codename 47. hulu are hoping for Hitman to become their flagship series in order to attract the most new subscribers.

hulu’s major weakness as a streaming service is its availability. Originally only streaming in the United States, it expanded into Japan. But those two countries are the only territories covered by hulu. If it intends for Hitman to become its flagship series, it needs that expansion, or those interested viewers simply won’t be able to see it.

It does makes sense that hulu are acquiring an established brand to increase its viewership compared to its rivals. Disney are launching their own streaming service led by the first live action Star Wars series. And while they may be transplanting the series based on their Marvel properties from Netflix, those are still there currently. Netflix also have the international distribution license to Star Trek: Discovery, which was used to do the same for CBS All Access in the United States. And then there’s Amazon with its Middle Earth series in development. hulu need their equivalent of this, and it would appear that they’ve chosen the Hitman games.

Video game adaptations are infamous for lack of quality, none having been well-received critically. The greatest challenge that films based on video games face is the story problem. A video game’s primary function is not to tell a good story, but to entertain the player. Telling a good story is one way of entertaining the player, but there are many games that have proven how irrelevant a narrative is to an enjoyable gaming experience. Hitman is one of these – while the games are popular for their slow-burning tension and stealth missions, the story is not a strong point (nor should it be), at least not enough to fill a 90-minutes-long, uninteractive film. This is the quality inherent to video games that makes them difficult to adapt to a screenplay medium, and the reason that, so far, none of them have succeeded.

The only live-action video game adaptation to be positively received is the Manic Mansion series, and even that was considerably different to its source material.

The question now is… will the Hitman TV series finally be the video game adaptation to break the curse?

 

Hitman‘s pilot is being written by executive producer Derek Kolstad.

The Hitman games are published by Square Enix.

Metal Gear film adaptation screenplay to be written by Derek Connolly

Variety reports that the film adaptation of the Metal Gear series is to be written by Derek Connolly. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures‘ Avi Arad is attached to produce. Connolly’s previous works include Jurassic World (2015) and Kong: Skull Island (2017), both of-which are about conspiracies and genetic engineering – themes which are definitive of Metal Gear.

In 2007, IGN reported that Solid Snake actor David Hayter had submitted a treatment inspired by Apocalypse Now to rights holder Konami, which was rejected. In 2015, Deadline reported that the hired screenwriter was Jay Basu. It’s believed that Connolly’s screenplay is to be a page-1 rewrite of Basu’s.

No Metal Gear film has been greenlit, but was confimed by creator Hideo Kojima to be in development as far back as 2006.

What’s significant about Connolly’s attachment is his reputation: someone with his kind of resume is in a negotiating position with executive producers, so already a considerable amount of money will have been spent on his involvement.

Regardless, the odds are against him. Video game film adaptations are infamous for their lack of quality or success, and each one to be released becomes a new hope for gamers to break that tradition. This will be an uphill struggle.

The Metal Gear franchise launched with Metal Gear in 1987.

Star Trek: Discovery – Context is for Kings

“Universal law is for lackeys. Context is for kings.”
Captain Lorca, USS Discovery (NCC-1031)

“Context is for Kings”, says Captain Lorca.

And I think I’ve worked-out a few things.

Here are some brief thoughts I’ve had about Star Trek: Discovery‘s most recent episode…

We’re finally introduced to the USS Discovery (NCC-1031) and its crew (as advertised as the series’ main setting and cast in the first place), except that Burnham is still the singular protagonist, with others being there only when required.

Commander Saru’s presence creates a complex dynamic, as the only crew member to have witnessed Burnham’s actions on the USS Shenzhou (NCC-1227) first hand, but also someone who is capable of logically evaluating Burnham’s abilities sans moral implications.

On the other hand, maybe Captain Lorca was also present at the Battle at the Binary Stars?

Such bright light is what could’ve damaged his retinas.

This episode functions as a second introduction to the series, as a mirror of Star Trek: The Original Series’ multiple pilots.

However, this is, in a way, the pilot proper, with The Vulcan Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars working as a two-part prologue.

And as a result of that prologue, we understand the significance of Burnham’s presence on the Discovery, instead of beginning there and being asked to go with it.

A new mystery is established here, three episodes in.

New plots continue to be introduced, which drives the series forward.

This ship is being steered with intent.

It’s laser-focused, hence the demotion of the other crew members to supporting cast.

Burnham’s development seems to be the continuing theme through all episodes now, and the passage of six months is reflected not only in Sonequa Martin-Green’s characterisation, but in the change of hairstyle.

Aesthetic continuity is important, especially for a franchise taking place during several time periods.

So why are the uniform designs not accurate to this one?

Are the USS Discovery (NCC-1031) and the USS Shenzhou (NCC-1227) both run by Section 31?

That would explain it.

If so, is this the beginning of the Genesis project?

That kind of super-weapon is something that Section 31 would develop.

After all, Nicholas Meyer is one of the writers and production consultants.

If that’s not the case, perhaps this is actually set in the Mirror Universe, thus solving all continuity problems – like the presence of the Spore Drive so early in history.

This story could end with the transformation of the United Federation of Planets into the Terran Empire.

If so, it makes sense for Captain Lorca to be a warmonger who wants to use the Spore Drive as warfare; Commander Saru doesn’t trust him, after all.

This would set him up as a T’Kuvma figure.

In the Prime Timeline, Burnham never sparked the Battle at the Binary Stars, never disabled Captain Lorca and never set him on the warpath.

And her adoptive brother doesn’t for some reason have a Beard of Evil.

Sonic the Hedgehog speeds into Paramount

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film adaptation of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has transferred to Paramount.

The project was originally developed by Sony, who cancelled development for financial reasons.

The above-the-line creatives are remaining the same.

Neal H. Morris is producing with his studio Original Film.

Tim Miller and Jeff Fowler of Blue Studio are executive producing and directing, respectively.

This will be Fowler’s feature directing debut.

Toby Ascher is also executive producing. Dmitri Johnson and Dan Jevons are co-producing.

Paramount’s plan is to make a live-action film with Sonic the Hedgehog characters rendered using CGI.

The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise launched with Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and was rebooted with Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).