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Hollywood has a well-established tradition of turning every successful videogame into a movie. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any that were good. Because I like to torture myself I saw “Max Payne”, and when I walked out of the theater my equally masochistic movie going companion turned to me and said, “that movie just took a shit in my mouth.”
While it makes as certain amount of sense to adapt a videogame to the big screen, they have built in stories and characters, it doesn’t mean that it is a good idea. In that spirit of recklessness Universal is about to embark on a whole new bad idea. The Hollywood Reporter reports that in 14 days primary shooting begins on their brand spanking new $200 million, sci-fi epic, “Battleship”. And yes, that means “Battleship” the movie will be loosely based on “Battleship” the classic Hasbro board game.
The only board game movie I can think of is 1985’s “Clue”, which has a special place in my heart, but is by no stretch of the imagination a great film. Of all the big name board games, “Clue” is the only one with any real narrative elements already in place. It has mystery, tension, characters, and setting. “Battleship” has, well, battleships. Producers are getting around this complete lack of story by adding and “alien invasion” twist.
Besides the absurdity of the plot, “Battleship” has some other glaring questions. First, it has no proven star. Sexy “True Blood” vampire, Alexander Skarsgard, is the closest thing they have, and he is not exactly a bankable commodity as far as box office returns go. The second is the director, Peter Berg. Sure, “Hancock” was a huge international hit, despite the fact that it sucked, but you can’t just slap his name on something and expect people to flock.
Universal chairman, Adam Fogeleson, says of Berg,
He has a very strong passion and affinity for this material. . . He is a fan of the history and the current state of the military. He knows that world really, really well, and he is inspirational when he is talking about it.
It sounds like Berg talked himself into a really good job.
But is passion alone enough to justify such an enormous expenditure? Shouldn’t the studio stack the deck in their favor? Am I the only one that remembers the financial disaster that was “Waterworld”? Don’t get me wrong, I will totally be there to watch this, but will I be watching a triumphant underdog that succeeded against the odds, or will I be watching a flaming trainwreck?