We’re all happy that Sonic finally got a reasonably good movie, but let’s hope that Hollywood doesn’t take the wrong lessons from this, like, say, that video games should be mined for potential adaptations the way comic books have been. Not every video game lends itself to a movie, as we’ve learned in the decades since video games were invented and movie studios first started trying to figure out how to stretch a plumber killing turtles and eating mushrooms into a full-length feature. We would obviously never judge a movie before it has even started filming, but it’s important for Hollywood to recognize that not everything makes sense as a movie.
Anyway, IndieWire is reporting that Eli Roth is going to try his hand at directing a movie based on Gearbox’s Borderlands games with Lionsgate. The script comes from Emmy-winner Craig Mazin—of Chernobyl and Scary Movie 3 fame—and in a statement, Roth noted that he could not be doing this “with a better script, producing team, and studio.” Combined with that and the support of Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford (of Medieval Times fame), Roth says this “really feels like a perfect storm of creators coming together.” He also promises that this will be a “new classic” that “fans of the game will love” and will “find new audiences globally.” So he clearly has some high hopes for this thing.
For those who don’t know Borderlands, the games primarily take place on a planet called Pandora (it predates Avatar by a hair) where there are monsters and evil rich guys and rampaging gangs of Mad Max villains, and all of them have a very specific sense of humor. That’s all sort of beside the point, though, because the real draw of Borderlands is that the games are full of countless ridiculous weapons that you can find and use to slaughter bad guys more efficiently. It’ll be hard for a movie to capture the thrill of finding a gun that shoots grenades and makes a funny noise and does 10 more points of damage than the gun you currently have. The games have “characters” and “a story,” but it’s like saying that McDonald’s has salads. It’s fine, but it’s not what you wait in line for at the drive-thru.
At the very least, this is good news for Cage The Elephant. Roth can’t make this movie without putting that song somewhere in it.