It’s pretty easy for us movie bloggers to complain about every unoriginal idea that comes out of Hollywood. But news like today’s non-shocker about the board game “Risk” being turned into a movie is the film blogosphere’s bread and butter. If the studios suddenly started announcing fresh projects we wouldn’t know what to write in response. And this certainly validates and encourages Hollywood’s mining of familiar properties, that news like this spreads around the internet much easier and faster than news of a wholly original film in the works.
Here’s the thing, though: a movie adapted from ‘Risk” is not a bad idea. First of all, the game was created by a filmmaker (Albert Lamorisse, best known for The Red Balloon). Second of all, properties like board games and toys without stories attached to them (such as ‘Battleship’ and View-Master) can be adapted with more originality and imagination than most literary adaptations, few of which ever inspire the kind of snark and whining that news like this has generated. Remember how surprised we were with Pirates of the Caribbean, which similarly came from an open-concept property.
So, rather than complain, let’s all optimistically come up with creative ways to adapt ‘Risk’ to the big screen. Earlier, Steven made a reference to Clive Barker’s “Babel’s Children,” which is definitely on an interesting track. I immediately envisioned the movie being directed by Terry Gilliam, who could expand on his battle scenes from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. When I think of Napeolonic-era war scenes, I think first of Gilliam (also see Time Bandits).
Of course, if Gilliam still isn’t quality (and snark-proof) enough for you, I can always recommend the adaptation be helmed by Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien, who has done right by Lamorisse before (see Flight of the Red Balloon).
What do you have to say for yourself, film bloggers?
“Here’s hoping for something more like Pirates and less like Transformers 2. Speaking of, I think excellent acting is part of what separates those two films and may be something for Sony to think long and hard about before moving forward with a Risk flick.”
“Risk is like Transformers because…. uh… they’re both toys? Kids play with them both? By that logic, my penis is a video game. […] Here, I’ve got something for you to option. It’s the word “adventure.” This is a proven property that’s sure to be a great movie, all you have to do is write it.”
“Screenwriters, I suggest you start the story in Australia and move on from there. Unless you’re starting with a great plot foundation in North or South America, in which case just go for it there.”
“with the ever-rising popularity of all things geek, I’m kinda disappointed that this won’t be a tongue-in-cheek comedy about a bunch of geeks playing Risk. But who knows? Maybe that will come when someone gets around to buying Magic: The Gathering.”
“The irony is that studios are relying on films based on board games like Risk and Battleship, which Stephen Colbert and Jeff Goldblum hilariously auditioned for [on “The Colbert Report”], to avoid risk in the marketplace. But that logic demands that built-in audiences will be more likely to see movies based on games they love because they love the games more than they love the movies they’re based on. (Get it?)”
“Berg’s Battleship is just going to be a naval combat movie that uses the title of the game. Could Risk be the same - a movie about a massive land war? - or will the studio go with a Jumanji type story, where kids playing the game fall into the world or something? Perhaps by the time the plot is announced we’ll have mustered up the enthusiasm to care.”
“Even though this game-movie trend is getting way out of hand, Risk is one of the few that doesn’t seem so far-fetched. There are certain elements to the game that could be worked into a storyline. It’s similar to Clue, which centered on solving a murder. With Risk, wouldn’t it be interesting if they turned it into some politically charged drama that kind of mimics War Games, the early eighties movie with Matthew Broderick?”
“So it’ll be a war movie, right? Epic battles across continents has never been a bad thing on film, exactly, and given how plotless the game itself is, they could come up with really any story they wanted. Just as Peter Berg might make a good movie out of Battleship by virtue of the fact he can do whatever he wants with it, Risk might actually have potential. God, I feel dirty just typing that.”
“Yes, an large scale strategic epic world war movie could end up being pretty damn awesome… but does it really need to be released under the name ‘Risk’? Doesn’t the board game title sort of belittle whatever eventual product that comes out? And couldn’t you just make the large scale epic war film without even buying the property? Again, I think they would be better off.”