Augh! I make a post about The Legend of Zelda in different media, and now a film gets announced. And, of course, there are already countless articles from various media outlets expressing their opinions on what the film should and shouldn’t be. I could have gotten in on that! But instead, I squandered my chance to write a whole article about it by jumping the gun. I mean, I can still say my wife wants Dylan O’Brien from The Maze Runner movies to play Link, which I can see happening as LoZ director Wess Ball also directed The Maze Runner. My thoughts are that whoever plays Link better be short and preferably left-handed. The tone of the movie should be a decent approximation of the games, which are serious, but also… not? The games always ends with a battle against a world-ending villain, but Link still finds time to play minigames, get attacked by cuccos1, and torture tree-people2. So for tone… maybe somewhere between The Lord of the Rings and the original Indiana Jones trilogy? Feel free to tell me why this is a terrible take in the comments. Oh! And by the way, we have a bunch of The Legend of Zelda games in the catalogue. If you’ve missed some of them or want to try one for the first time, place a hold and give them a playthrough. Or maybe watch a let’s play3 and see what they’re all about.
However The Legend of Zelda movie turns out, I hope it goes in a different direction than the recent The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was a good time, and helped make a 16-hour flight a little more manageable for me, but it’s mostly a fun bit of fluff with a lot of “Oooh! Look at this thing from the games” moments. But then again, this is Mario, where the game’s storylines are mostly: a giant spiky turtle kidnaps an inexplicably human princess ruling over a race of mushroom people, so an Italian plumber needs to rescue her by jumping his way through a bunch of themed levels. Not exactly a lot to work with there4, unless they start to delve into the RPG spinoffs, which feel like different games but know how to tell an, often hilarious, story5. This movie also made over a billion dollars, so a lacklustre plot obviously wasn’t an issue. I will say that Jack Black as Bowser was a fantastic choice, and if we ever get a voice-acted Mario game, he should reprise that role. Bowser has always been hammy, and Jack Black plays that to perfection. I won’t get into the other more controversial voice actor choices the film made, as the end result was… not as good as Jack Black.
Mario didn’t surprise me, or most people for that matter. It’s what it needed to be, and it made bank. A video game movie that did surprise6 is Pokémon Detective Pikachu. This movie had no real expectations to be any good7, and yet what we got is a solid family movie headed up by Ryan Reynolds as the titular, incredibly snarky Detective Pikachu and Justice Smith as his human sidekick, a reversal of the usual Trainer/Pokémon dynamic. The movie spins a decent mystery, and it’s neat to see the well-realized, if unusually furry, Pokémon interact with people in a huge city. The animations for the mons are gorgeous and are worth the price of admission alone. Especially since you can borrow it from us for free… Also, the Mr. Mime interrogation sequence is pure gold. Also also, the movie is apparently getting a sequel? Watch the first and you’ll understand why I’m questioning this. You can also choose to check out the 3DS game that inspired the movie.
Leaving the realm of Nintendo, there’s a certain blue hedgehog that’s been the star of a couple of fairly recent movies. 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog and 2022’s not very creatively titled Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are both in VPL’s collection and follow the eponymous speedster’s adventures on earth foiling the plans of Jim Carrey’s villainous Dr. Robotnic, aka Dr. Eggman. Full disclosure: I haven’t seen these, though I’ve heard they’re a good time. From the trailers I knew Carrey’s particular brand of weirdness would be a good fit for the eccentric Eggman, even if we know he also has some serious dramatic chops. But doing some research for this post, I found evidence of a theater faux-pas committed by Adam Sandler to tell Carrey just how good of a job he did with the first movie. And for what it’s worth, reddit8 seems to be mostly positive on his performance. Oh, and since I’m on this, I’d just like to remind, or inform, people of the nightmare fuel that was the original Sonic design. Fans hated this so much that the studio delayed the film by three months to redesign the character.
I’m verging on going on too long, as usual, but there’s a surprising amount of video game based movies out there, so here’s a rapid-fire selection that you can access in our catalogue.
Warcraft. If you’ve heard of World of Warcraft, or the Warcraft series before it became an MMO, you know the basic premise of this movie: humans vs. orc vs. undead. Haven’t seen this one, but it made a boatload of money in China.
Tomb Raider. This is a modern retake on Laura Croft Tom Raider, which is of course, based on the Tomb Raider games. Expect action, traps, and a bit of an Indiana Jones vibe. Just don’t go in expecting a lot of depth and you’ll be entertained for a while at least.
Need for Speed. I question the need for this as a movie, but if you want to experience catharsis, or maybe have a heart attack, from watching a bunch of expensive cars get wrecked, then this is for you. You can also borrow one of the games and total some cars yourself.
That’s all for this month. It’ll be another four weeks before you get more of my nerdy ramblings, but if you want to hear more from me before then drop a comment on this post. Whether it’s to tell me I missed talking about your favourite video game movie or to shout at me that the Mario Movie is a cinematic masterpiece and how dare I call it fluff, your comments are welcome.
1 In self defence
2 Of course there’s a subreddit dedicated to this
4 Well… not a lot that makes sense
5 Sometimes it’s still Bowser kidnaps Peach, but there’s more to it in the RPGs
6 Me at least
7 Same as Mario really
8 I just love linking to time-sinks don’t I? Sorry.