The computer games that should be movies
To celebrate the release of ‘Max Payne’ starring Mark Wahlberg, Time Out looks at some classic computer games and guesses how they might translate to the big screen. Here are the scarily plausible results...
Donkey KongDirector: Oliver Stone Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sharon Stone, Michael Imperioli All of Stone’s obsessions finally come together in his overly literal investigation of what the 800-pound gorilla of corporate America does to the small businessman. Collapsing towers, despotic tyrants, social disparity and the feeling that unknowable cosmic forces hold sway are the hallmarks of both Kong and Big Ollie.
Director: Steven SoderberghStarring: Kevin Spacey, Bridget Moynahan, Paul Bettany.A chilly slice of deep space moping, in which Spacey would play a grieving astrogeologist who makes the baffling discovery that he has been gifted ‘three lives’ while blowing up large chunks of rock in a disused asteroid belt. Rendering these cosmic icebergs via clean, spare vector graphics would not only mirror the emotional frigidity of the main character but also offer a timely reminder of mankind’s place in the universe.
Super Mario BrothersDirector: Francis Ford CoppolaStarring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Benito Mussolini Depressed at how the renowned Italian plumbers were treated in the godawful 1993 Bob Hoskins caper, Coppola decides to locate the dark heart of this outwardly jolly computer game, proposing a sprawling parable on the fascist state and working class upheaval in which the eponymous siblings take on Mussolini and his army of Blackshirts with only their plungers and cloth caps to hand. Umberto Eco will pen the script and De Niro and Pacino will sign to play Mario and Luigi respectively. Il Duce will be recreated by digitally tampering with existing newsreel footage.
Sonic the HedgehogDirector: Ken LoachStarring: A cast of unknowns and Sean BeanWith his copy of Hobbes’s ‘Leviathan’ in one hand and a well-thumbed Megadrive control pad in the other, Britain’s foremost social realist, Ken Loach, will paint this blue hedgehog red in an excoriating meditation on the futile pursuit of material wealth. In a radical break from the style and content of the original game, Sonic’s young companion, Knuckles ,will be played by a first-time actor given day release from a young offenders' institution and instead of being set in space, it’ll be set in a mayonnaise factory in Halifax.
In The Mood For PongDirector: Wong Kar-wai
Starring: Tony Leung, Maggie CheungA typically languorous meditation on misfiring lovers as Cheung and Leung bat their stillborn hopes back and forth across an indefinable gulf, building a hypnotic rhythm of bloopy heartbreak and heavy smoking. Some critics will find the design unusually stark for Wong, while others will opine, ‘I really liked Chungking Express’.
Pac-ManDirector: Uwe BollStarring: Johnny Vegas, Jason Statham, Piper Perabo At first glance, the talent behind this one doesn’t immediately yell box-office dynamite, but Vegas and Statham charging round a haunted jelly factory like hairy-arsed ghostbusters sounds as safe a bet as ‘Home Alone’ ‘on acid’ to us! Expect to see Perabo on clipboard candy duties as a feisty bespectacled bacteriologist while director Boll stumbles upon a level of subject matter worthy of his journeyman chops. Gold.
Leisure Suit LarryDirector: Dale TrevillionStarring: Rodney Dangerfield, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba etcDangerfield steps out of his comfort zone (and, er, coffin) to play Larry Laffer, a casually attired, wise-cracking sex pest whose constant rejection by ‘honeyz’ does little to dent his inexplicable self-esteem. The world of Vegas high-rollers, pool parties and bikini-stuffed yacht discos is lovingly recreated by Industrial Light & Magic, but plays second fiddle to the overwhelming air of sleaze and suicidal mid-life disappointment.
Jet Set Willy
Director: Judd ApatowStarring: Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Jason Alexander (CGI)If Judd Apatow was to diversify into making adaptations of computer games – perhaps becoming tired of photographing penises, fat chicks and toddlers smoking chronic – he'd probably opt to make a version of this fruity ZX Spectrum landmark. For his role as the bumbling millionaire whose duty it is to clean up after a massive house party, Jim Carrey will need to undergo extensive rubberisation of the jowls to achieve a level of wackiness that would make Ace Ventura seem like Ken Barlow.
TetrisDirector: Matthew BarneyStarring: Björk The art world’s Mr & Mrs Ritchie collaborate on bringing the most successful ever computer game to the big screen with an opera set entirely to the game’s infectious theme and starring the Icelandic pixie as a rural idiot-savant who convinces her village to build a tower to speak to God. Barney’s long-cherished adaptation will be beset by more than 22,000 Russian petitioners, all of whom claim to have invented Tetris in the gulag as a way to pass the time on Borscht Night.
Street Fighter IIDirector: PT Anderson
Starring: Barry Pepper as Guile, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Blanka and Philip Baker Hall as shadowy, cancer-afflicted corporate titan M Bison.A brutal, globetrotting ensemble masterpiece that mines the emotional core of a group of battle-weary pugilists trapped in a cycle of fight and flight. Crippled by incurable cancer, shadowy corporate magnate M Bison (Hall) suicidally enlists in the World Street Fighting Championships only to find himself part of a tight-knit brotherhood of battered heroes, including Pepper’s ragged Gulf War poet Guile and Hoffman’s shambolic mutant Blanka.
HaloDirector: Terry NationStarring: Simon Pegg, Ashley Walters, Clive Mantle, Billie PiperThe ‘Dr Who’ legend and master of teatime terror takes a break from penning that ‘darker’ ‘Blake’s Seven’ to helm an adaptation of the best-selling interstellar tear-up. Nation goes back to basics, eschewing cold (read: expensive) CGI gloss to realise the ‘Halo’ universe in a Cheshire gravel pit, where Pegg and co stumble around in green-painted BMX gear, pointing at off-screen horrors and shooting fireworks out of vacuum cleaner tubes.
Horace Goes SkiingDirector: Kevin SmithStarring: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd as the wacky ski instructor.Loveable schlub Horace wants to take his sexually reluctant girlfriend on a ski trip (the irony!) hoping that a week smoking weed in a warm cabin will thaw her out a little. But when he discovers that their cosy little love nest is right on the six-lane Rocky Mountain Freeway, Horace knows he's in for a frustrating holiday!
WipEout 2012Director: Paul WS Anderson
Starring: Mos Def, Alicia Keys, Kris KristoffersonOn the run from a maximum security prison/orphanage/bakery, spunky wrong’un Mos Def teams up with vengeful traffic cop Alicia Keys to infiltrate KK’s shadowy offworld deathrace. The original ‘WipEout’ was frustrating, confusing and beloved only of thirteen-year-old shut-ins jacked up on Irn-Bru speedballs, and no one has more experience in bringing these qualities to the big screen than Anderson.
Daley Thompson’s DecathlonDirector: Spike LeeStarring: Denzel Washington, Dolph Lundgren, Roger Black Those who can remember furiously waggling their joystick to make a pixelated brown square (Daley Thompson) beat seven pixelated white squares in the 110m hurdles will want to catch Spike Lee’s slick, sassy new update, where Daley has to resist the offer of steroids from his profusely-sweating Italian-Jewish coach, single-handedly quash the onslaught of the Russkies AND keep his handlebar moustache in perfect shape for the laydeez. Nelly to soundtrack.
Ecco The Dolphin
Director: Werner Herzog Starring: Brad Dourif, James Cameron, Mark Spitz When it comes to harrying themes of transplantation and ecological survival through the otherworldly wastes of an undersea kingdom, there’s really only one man for the job. Bavarian loon Werner Herzog would have a Bolex on the back of a bottlenose and some choral music booming across the surf before you could say, ‘Werner, I think we’ve seen this one before, old boy!’
Author: Adam Lee Davies, Paul Fairclough, David Jenkins, Tom Huddleston
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