Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America's movies


The A.V. Club is reporting that Hollywood's latest arcade-inspired abortion to be foisted upon unsuspecting Americans is an adaptation of Atari's I-guess-you-can-call-it-legendary Missile Command. I know what you're thinking: the game must have some heretofore unrevealed backstory involving political intrigue or offer philosophical musings on the role of artificial intelligence in national defense, a la Philip K. Dick.

Well, fictional reader, you're dead wrong. Missile Command is still the arcade game probably none of our readers remember playing at the arcade where you use the trackball to shoot down a never-ending stream of ballistic missiles from what the A.V. Club calls the "vaguely mammarian" command center (that means it looks like a tit). It's a relic from a time when video game storytelling was considered sophisticated if the games, you know, had a story.

So it's perplexing that 20th Century Fox has decided to adapt the game for film. Perplexing, but not altogether surprising. After all, it's the latest in a line of inexplicable adaptations of arcade games/properties with no discernible narrative, including Peter Berg's adaptation of Battleship (starring Rihanna and LIAM NEESON GAH HOW IS THIS A THING) and Asteroids. Screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (apparently taking a break from antagonizing the Power Rangers) are slated to pen the script. They're responsible, by the way, for the upcoming reboot of Flash Gordon and the sure-to-not-defile-a-classic Dracula: Year Zero.

The whole thing seems completely unfathomable until you take a look at the producers' credits. Direct your complaints to Peter Chernin, the erstwhile COO of News Corp. and current corporate director of American Express. Who else could come up with such a terrifically shitty idea and have the money to bankroll it but a corporate mogul with no film experience?

Come on, Pete. Hollywood has enough of a problem making adaptations of video games with stories successful. Let's not make things even worse for ourselves.