It wasn't too long ago that comic book fans gritted their teeth when buying tickets to the silver-screen adaptations of their favorite characters and ventured into the theater hoping that there was at least some redeeming quality to the film. But over the years, the Fantastic Fours and Ghost Riders gave way to the Iron Mans and Avengers…and comic junkies were happy. Hollywood hasn't been so nice to video game enthusiasts, though. (Find a video game movie above 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. I dare you.)
Now, the movie execs are daring to tread on sacred ground by bringing Team Ico's PlayStation 2 classic, Shadow of the Colossus, to a projector near you. Sacred to me, at least, as I've frequently cited SOTC as my favorite game of all time. It was far from the first I'd ever played, but it was the one that made me fall in love with video games by showing me just what the medium could be.
So, here are some tips…requests…pleas for Hollywood. I sincerely hope they take them to heart because I can't handle them messing this one up.
Be careful with the "artistic license"
The site where I read the news that the director of Chronicle, Josh Trank, was chosen by Sony Pictures for the Shadow of the Colossus flick decided to sum up the plot of the game for readers. This little bit bugged me more than it really should have: "As the young man works through his quest on horseback, he begins to wonder if he is on a noble pursuit to bring back his lover or perhaps has made a deal with the devil and is being used."
I don't recall a point in SOTC where Wander, the "young man", stops to question whether or not the ominous voice is using him. Even further — and here is where I start bringing my own interpretation of things into the mix — he knows exactly what he is doing, and he doesn't care. Wander is almost both the protagonist, as well as the antagonist at the same time, aware that by saving the girl he loves he will awaken an ancient evil, but he does it anyway.
In fact, right after Dormin (the ancient evil) gives Wander his task to defeat all of the colossi in the land, the spooky-voiced spirit warns him, "…the price you pay may be heavy indeed." To which Wander replies, "It doesn't matter." He knows Dormin is using him, but he doesn't mind as long as he saves the girl.
This might sound like small potatoes, but it begins to chip away at my faith in the quality of the end product. Maybe it was just that particular website for now, but what happens when Trank starts taking too much artistic license with the property? Soon, Wander is having lengthy internal dialogs that convey his inner struggles. Or maybe the script writers will give him a sidekick to discuss these things with. Hell, maybe they'll just make his horse Agro talk, and he can bounce these moral dilemmas off of him. Before you know it, the whole movie is a train wreck all in the name of a meatier plot.
"What's on your mind, Wander? Having any personal moral struggles?"
It's a slippery goddamn slope, people. One that I'd not care to even mess around with. But while we're on the topic of what I've assumed to be Wander's thought process, let's talk about how Trank needs to…
Keep the plot as vague as possible
Who inhabited The Forbidden Land before it was abandoned? Why'd they have to leave? What's up with the souls who stand over you after you defeat each of the colossi? All of these questions and more are left completely unanswered by the developers, only hinted at. It's up to the players to draw their own conclusions, and while I have my own theories, you might think something entirely different.
This is how the Shadow of the Colossus movie needs to be. What exactly happened and why it did should be things I discuss in the car ride on the way home, not things that are blatantly told to me by the filmmakers. The game was content with focusing on the beauty and mystery of the land that you're in, not developing a rich history of it.
I want as thin of a thread as possible tying the movie's plotline together. Show what Wander hopes to accomplish and then focus on the no-doubt breathtaking cinematics that will be the colossi battles. The more questions the director leaves unexplained, the more the want for explanations drives my imagination. Hollywood doesn't need to worry too much about fleshing out the world and history of Shadow of the Colossus because that's best done in my own head, and I don't want them to ruin my fantasy.
Whether they are effective or not, there will definitely be things changed for this project that fans of the game will be arguing or ranting about for years to come. What do you hope Hollywood does or pray they don't do? Share them below. Bitmob Community Manager Layton Shumway already wrote about something he hopes they don't change.