Videogame movies. We’ve all seen at least one and they have tended to range from passable to “Oh God this film is stabbing me in the soul and makes me want to vomit up my own intestines.” It’s probably for these reasons that Nintendo has very much kept its beloved characters away from the silver screen (though the failure that was the Super Mario Bros. movie probably helped).
Opinion on whether this is a good or bad thing seems split but with Shigeru Miyamoto’s recent announcement of them considering possible film adaptations, this naturally calls for speculation. So, here are five Nintendo franchises that I think could lend well to becoming films.
1. Kid Icarus
I know this probably wouldn’t be the first franchise to pop into people’s heads but I honestly believe that a Kid Icarus adaptation could work… at least, a Kid Icarus: Uprising one could.
Uprising took the blank slates of Pit, Palutena and co. and injected a surprising amount of personality into them, turning them into enjoyable and highly quotable characters (though some would disagree on that). Pit was always trading snark with his companions and enemies throughout the entire game so, with such a heavy emphasis on dialogue, a story involving Pit battling the forces of the Underworld could work as a film. Hell, there were three animated shorts made to tie-in with the game. As long as it doesn’t rely to much on fourth-wall and self referential humour, I’d be down for it, if only for some more enjoyable banter.
2. The Legend of Zelda
Ooh, big shock, somebody else wants a Legend of Zelda movie. Can you blame me, though? I’m pretty sure people have been begging for it since Ocarina of Time. It’s Nintendo’s epic fantasy – its Lord of the Rings equivalent, if you will. And there’s multiple time-lines’ worth of material to take inspiration from.
There’s so many different ways it could be done. Do they go the big, super-epic, two plus hours route with wars, multiple races, a huge cast and a grand climactic battle between Link and Ganondorf? Or maybe something on a smaller scale; a more personal, intimate journey for Link as he tries to save a land from whatever sealed evil in a can has been released this week? Do they adapt an already existing title or do something original? Maybe they could really go full-on Lord of the Rings and make a trilogy.
The one thing I know for definite is that Link shouldn’t talk. Not just because it’d be hard to do considering he’s been silent for like 25 years but because I’d quite like to see a feature length film with a completely silent protagonist.
I know a lot of people would probably reject the idea of a Metroid movie after Other M tried (and failed) to tell a more deep and personal story with a cinematic flair but I feel I should say that Other M wasn’t bad because a Metroid movie wouldn’t work. It was bad because it was a poorly written mess. I think in the hands of a good writer, Samus could make a very comfortable transition to the big screen.
Of course, you’d need perfect casting for Samus. Her performance in Other M was just so wooden, with very little emotion actually being put in (in the sake of fairness, I choose to blame the voice director rather than the actress). I think you’d need somebody that can be professional and intimidating but not cold. You don’t want to make her unrelatable or emotionless.
As for plot, I don’t think anything too grand would be needed. Some standalone story about Samus dealing with space pirates and other rogues, with maybe Ridley in there, would probably do. Or maybe something akin to Alien, with Samus and a small group trapped and forced to deal with some kind of new threat. Would be pretty sweet considering the film’s influence on the series.
Okay, so we’ve had both a Lord of the Rings expy and an Alien expy. What other popular movies have strong similarities to Nintendo franchises?…. Ooh, there’s Rocky. People like that film, right?
Whether intentionally or not, it’s hard not to draw parallels between the personal exploits of Rocky and Little Mac. Both are about an up and coming boxer trying to make it big, training as hard as they can to overcome any challenge. I think it could be possible to re-tell Little’s Mac journey to the top of the boxing league in film form.
It’d also be great for fleshing him out a bit as a character. All we really know about Mac from the games is that he’s short, a good boxer, is from the Bronx and is 17 years old (which I still think is utter bullshit). I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of his upbringing, seeing him meet Doc Louis, his decision to take up boxing etc.
If there’s one thing people love, it’s a classic underdog story, and Punch-Out has all the makings of a good one. A very goofy but potentially entertaining one.
5. Star Fox
If the Zelda series is Nintendo’s Lord of the Rings, is it safe to say Star Fox is their Star Wars? The series may have been locked away in a closet somewhere for the last several years but with Star Fox Zero on it’s way, now might be a good chance to introduce a new crowd to the series.
An origin story detailing Fox’s past and his first encounters with the other members of his crew would make for good movie material. We could even maybe get to see his dad in action before his death. Either that or they could just do an adaptation of Lylat Wars, abridging the events slightly. It would mean some awesome space battle shenanigans with Andross’ forces and Star Wolf.
In fact, Lylat Wars was pretty cinematic for its time thanks to a combination of the voice acting, cinematography and overall presentation (and had plenty of Star Wars references). If you think about it, it’s kind of the most suitable choice for a film adaptation. In the right hands, I’m sure the fans would be very pleased with the result.