Well, you must have heard the news by now. Korean cyber terrorists may well be a very scary threat, and they’ve undoubtedly caused a whole lot of bother that may or may not be the final nudge this planet needs to send us all into a swift and brutal nuclear war. But their alleged hacking of Sony Pictures revealed that a Mario movie may be in the works from the house that PlayStation built (a pretty weird concept in itself). So that’s something… right?
Whether or not the prospect of a nuclear winter is worth the news that a film about a fat plumber might possibly get made one day get made is immaterial (just to clarify, I’m joking with the whole nuclear war stuff… maybe). See, while a Mario movie that doesn’t involve Yoshi looking like a rejected prop from Jurassic Park can only be a good thing, I’m much, much more excited about the ramifications for Nintendo if a Mario movie was a hit. I mean, let’s face it: you’ve gotta be really cack-handed to mess up a film about Super Mario, right?
Moving swiftly on, what do I mean by ramifications? I mean getting other Nintendo properties onto the big screen that Nintendo might have been a little sheepish about, before any Mario movie made them enough money to survive the harsh radioactive wasteland that is surely imminent (sorry, did it again). People like me have had very, very specific ideas about what certain Nintendo films could be like for a long time indeed. With all this crazy Mario movie stuff up in the air, I think it’s time to get speculating and dream sweet dreams. After all, if any of this sounds far fetched, just remember that the people who make PlayStation might actually be making a film about Nintendo’s most famous IP.
Let’s start with one dream I’ve held on to since I was about eight. A Zelda movie. Now, obviously pretty much every Zelda fan in the world wants to see Link and his friends on the big screen someday. But while most people seek Peter Jackson-esque epic adaptations of Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess, my pitch is much more specific: a Disney Pixar adaptation of The Wind Waker.
I have a few reasons for this, but here is perhaps the biggest: that famous green hat and tunic would look absolutely ridiculous in live action (especially the hat). If you’re adapting a vibrant and colorful world it’s obviously best to embrace that. The ’93 Mario movie is a stinging reminder of what happens when you try to marry realism to the ridiculous, and with a few exceptions, the Zelda franchise is predominately a bright and vivid universe.
So why Disney’s Pixar in particular? Well, you only need to look at the rough synopsis for Wind Waker to see why the creators of Toy Story are a natural fit there. A young boy sails across a vast ocean with a colourful cast of pirates and a talking boat in order to save his sister from some evil monsters in a touching coming of age story. I mean, it’s got Pixar written all over it already! It has all the ingredients you would usually find in a Pixar film: A talking vehicle (Cars), themes of growing up and letting go (Toy Story), a post-apocalyptic world (Wall-E) travelling across the sea to find a family member (Finding Nemo). And if you can’t already imagine the adorable Toon Link and his aquatic Hyrule animated by the Pixar team, we can’t be friends. Seriously guys, I’ve wanted this exact film for over ten years. Make it happen.
The only major problems I see are finding a voice for Link that fans would accept after all these years of silence (please keep “Excuuuuse me Princess” as far away from this as possible), the inevitable hate a Zelda movie would get for not being like Game of Thrones, and the chances of Disney ever making a Zelda movie, especially if Sony are making a Mario movie. But hey, it’s all speculation.
Next on my wishlist might seem slightly more of an obvious choice: a Metroid movie directed by Ridley Scott. Now, I don’t know much about Scott’s body of work, admittedly, but I think he has some experience of intense outer space horror movies in which a bad-ass female protagonist is stalked by a terrifying and seemingly unkillable alien menace. The Metroids are the single most chilling movie alien that never were. The way they can float silently through the air, the way they latch onto a brain with their weird teeth and then literally suck the life out of their victim… Yeah, if this were ever to happen for real, a Metroid movie would definitely not be for kids. And hopefully, it would turn out better than the awful storytelling in Other M.
If we want to really embrace the Ridley Scott, sci-fi horror of Metroid, then Nintendo needs to adapt the excellent GBA title Metroid Fusion for the big screen. Not only is Fusion set on a deserted space station with Metroids, and an unstoppable Alien virus, and an even more unstoppable evil alien clone of Samus, but it’s easily the creepiest Metroid game, packed with tense moments that would perfectly translate to film. Plus, it’s full of government conspiracy, and ends with Samus crashing a space station into a planet – which would be nothing short of awesome as a final movie setpiece. And who would play the intergalactic baddass Samus Aran? Obviously, Game of Thrones‘ Natalie Dormer. If it was’t a Nintendo property, you could probably pitch that to Hollywood and get it snapped up in a second.
What with Metroid and Zelda being my two favorite properties, that’s where the brunt of my specific ideas begin and end. Other pipe dreams include J. J. Abrams giving us a light-hearted animated Star Fox space romp, an Avengers-style Super Smash Bros. team-up movie (good luck writing a cohesive script for that one), and a gritty Kirby motion picutre directed by Danny Boyle, which would deal with the obese pink blob’s compulsive eating disorder.
Ok, Maybe not that last one.
I’m well aware that the likelihood of big-name directors like Ridley Scott or John Lasseter signing up to do a videogame adaptation is about as remote as you can get, especially with videogames not being hugely viable on the big screen right now. But hey, maybe Mario could kick down the doors in the same way Iron Man did for Marvel studios all those years ago. Look at those guys now. Any Marvel fan will tell you that the idea of a Thor or Captain America film being successful, let alone an Avengers film, was madness a decade ago. Now, Marvel superheroes are box office gold. People scoffed at a film involving a sentient tree and a walking racoon, but it became one of the runaway hits of the year once Guardians of the Galaxy hit cinemas.
The takeway here kids, is that the idea of Nintendo ever licensing their properties for the big screen once seemed ridiculous. But now it could happen, no dream is too big.
Apart from the Kirby one.