In the old days our only two fantasy film properties were two Dungeons and Dragons bombs and Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence. But now, we live in a world where more than 462 collective hours of epic tales of hobbits and boy wizards have grossed more money than could ever fit in lowest depths of Gringots. With a major Dungeons & Dragons film greenlit by Warner Bros, Game of Thrones crushing HBO, and even a Shannara Chronicles series on MTV of all places, I think it’s safe to say that fantasy is in a good place.
But what about an equally abused genre: the video game movie? Word of mouth for the distant Warcraft feature has been positive, but I’m not ready to go all in for the Horde quite yet. Still, fantasy might be what saves the video game movie by merging into one mighty new genre: the fantasy video game movie! Grab a Code Red and prepare to name a few white mages after girls you liked in middle school, because here are five fantasy video game properties and the jokes I wrote about them that are ready for the big screen.
It’d be near impossible to make anyone happy with a Skyrim movie, since the protagonist isn’t the exact magic wielding Khajiit Companion thief you spent 160 hours with. The cool thing though, is that a Skyrim based movie could have a lot of possibilities due to the sheer scope of the game. Maybe the protagonist isn’t even the one on the heroic main quest. Maybe she’s a Whiterun guard dealing with the fallout of dragons returning. Maybe he’s a Dunmer imprisoned by the Stormcloaks and it’s a prison break story. Or maybe she’s just an Argonian with a small house by a lake that’s just filled with junky loot she’s still getting around to sell. And no one lets their kids go by because everything is probably covered in bedbugs.
I feel like a Skyrim movie will be tough in the same way that an Uncharted movie seems tough: The games are already basically movies, so why do we need a movie? I got to experience first hand what it was like to fight a dragon on the Throat of the World, and it was pretty cool. Why do I want to watch some director do that differently than I did, i.e. the totally wrong way?
There might have been a time I’d be crazy optimistic about a Skyrim movie being gold, but you know how it is. Arrows. Knees. Used to be.
The Hobbit may have given us a great dragons and Harry Potter may have gifted us the creepy wizard KKK, but no fantasy film has given us tragically entertaining villains that eventually evolve into terrifyingly powerful gods covered in feathers. And if nothing else, a Final Fantasy movie can deliver feathers in spades.
Seriously, Final Fantasy loves bad guys covered in feathers, man. It’s a game hallmark, like crystals, Cid, or endless level grinding.
Arguing that Final Fantasy has already given us movies is a little like insisting there was a season 2 of True Detective. Technically, sure. You’re right. There is a thing called True Detective Season 2, and there is a thing called Final Fantasy: Spirits Within but come on. You know deep down that they aren’t what you needed, and you’re just arguing for the sake of arguing.
A great Final Fantasy movie would give us airships, emperors whose right hand advisors are the actual (eventual feather covered) main villains, dragoons, thieves with hearts of gold, cold hearted generals with a soft side, and an end of the world plot involving summoning magic. You could even drag the film out over 3 discs and 40+ hours, because that’d be staying true to the spirit of the franchise.
LEGEND OF ZELDA
All jokes aside, I’d love to see a Zelda movie from the team that wrote and directed How To Train Your Dragon. A Zelda game should feel bright and optimistic and be full of color. I see lots of little blurbs about dream Zelda movies and casting online, and they’re all dark and gritty and stupid. They’re like those old Wizard Magazine dream castings that were constantly going on about how Danzig needs to play Wolverine because height and hair and rage and how that bald dude from Star Trek: The Next Generation should be Xavier. You know, real left field stuff.
A game about an elf boy trying to save a princess with a helpful fairy friend and a boomerang that has a bunch of hearts at the top of the screen isn’t dark and gritty.
I think Zelda done right has a great chance to be a solid family film with real stakes that you can get invested in at any age, as long as Ron Perlman plays Ganon. Actually, he should play Ganon in every movie on this list. He seems like a cool guy. Well, he does! Like, it would be fun to have a whiskey with that guy. Or even just lunch. What? Sorry that I’ve got friend goals. Excuuuuse meeee, princess.
Let’s be honest. If most fans were in charge of writing this screenplay, it would just be the main character and Morrigan in camp chatting until it was time to bang to pretty music. Not Allister, though. No one wants to bang that fartwaffle.
Assuming that the screenwriter who picks this one up isn’t most fans, however, this could be a fantastic adventure film about incredibly rich and nuanced characters, fighting to save the world using their wits, illegal magic, and really giant knives.
Seriously, why are knives so huge in this game? They’re ridiculous.
Dragon Age has such a rich world that a story revolving around non game characters would be a simple one to do, and the movie could follow the spirit of the games without depending on its plots.
And by ‘spirit of the game’ I mean a ton of sex scenes and constantly walking around covered in gore.
I think the trick here is convincing the audience that they have to buy an additional 50 cent ticket every 90 seconds of running time, but a Gauntlet movie could be pretty cool.
I never actually realized it, but Gauntlet actually has a storyline. It’s about a demon named Skorne, and something about runestones, but honestly, who cares? A super strong Warrior, a magically powerful Wizard, a crazy fast Archer, and an extra tough Valkyrie run chaotically through a bunch of caves killing endless hordes of monsters and getting mad at the archer because he keeps shooting the turkey legs. Give it to the directors of Crank to really capture the screaming panic you had at the arcade going to war with this quarter eater instead of paying attention to your classmate at the skating party that might have a crush on you.
Seriously, Gauntlet may not end until your health runs out, but you’ve got a very finite amount of skating parties in your lifetime.
Did I leave a franchise out? Do you already know what the perfect Dragon Age movie plot would be? Should Argonians be strictly practical makeup effects or CGI? Who is cooler: Kefka or Kuja? Let’s shout at each other about it all in the comments!