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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For The Love Of All That Is Sacred In This World, Stop Hollywood, Now

For those of you tuning in, expecting to see the first round of the 2010 D-Bag Awards, I apologize. It’s just that news has come up that has taken precedence. It’s not even new news. Well, it’s new to me. I’ll explain.

Just as we were all sitting down to give thanks and enjoy some turkey, the news came out that Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, the film, found its leading man to tackle the role of Nathan Drake. Now, for those of you who have not followed my blog in recent months or have been under a gaming rock for the last three years, there are a couple of PS3 games called, Uncharted. Both the first and second game are beyond phenomenal. I’m not talking in terms of what Grand Theft Auto 3 did for gaming. Uncharted took your standard run and gun, swing and jump style of game and blew the back out of the console.

Let me gush, for just a paragraph. Uncharted is not just a typical game. The graphics are amazing, the mechanics are spectacular and the acting is top notch. There are moments in Uncharted 2 where the line between actual game play and cut scene is so blurred that you would need a microscope to see the transition. You are just walking along a wall and all of the sudden a tank bursts through the wall and nearly knocks you off a cliff and you continue to move after all this happens as if you never lost control of your character. You climb up rickety ladders and boards give way. I mean the second game begins with you dangling over a Tibetan mountainside in a wrecked train. You have a bullet wound to the guy and are forced to climb to safety while the train slowly sinks over the edge. Pieces give way, you fall off of different parts and land further down, only to begin climbing again. These are, of course scripted, but still seamless in their incorporation into actual game play. Quite simply, the storyline alone makes it a worthwhile series. Hell, it makes it a better movie. It makes the last Indiana Jones movie look Pitfall, the Atari game, in comparison.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Trailer

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Trailer

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Trailer
Coming 11-1-11

That’s the extent of my gushing. Now, here comes the ranting. Hollywood, in its infinite wisdom and infinite stupidity has decided to make a movie of the first title in the series, Drake’s Fortune. The premise of the game is that the descendant of Sir Francis Drake is on the hunt for the City of Eldorado and its gold. Of course, there are bad guys, heroines/damsels, double crosses and climactic battles. It’s a perfect movie idea. And that’s exactly why it shouldn’t be made into a movie, because there has yet to be a great movie that has been adapted from a game. Although, I will give props to Mortal Kombat. It is what it is and perfect for the type of game it was. We won’t talk about Super Mario Bros, Double Dragon, or Street Fighter. We just won’t. Tomb Raider had all the right ideas but with the wrong delivery and Resident Evil is a good movie series that happens to share a few elements from a game. It is not a faithful adaptation. Silent Hill comes closer but still makes us want a little more of the game involved.

But, Hollywood, being Hollywood will stop at nothing in its quest to destroy all that is good for the sake of a few bucks and the possibility of a sequel. So, now that there is nothing stopping an Uncharted movie from being made, one can only hope that with the company behind the game, Naughty Dog, some justice will be done. That is usually when the world depants you and laughs maniacally.

My hope is that the movie would hinge on casting the right people in the film as their video game counterparts. Now the names Nolan North and Richard McGonagle may not be well known in the movie industry. So what? The names Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were not known before a little film called Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone came along and it was an ADAPTATION! 

Looking at the original cast, Nolan voiced and provided the physical model for Nathan Drake and Richard did so for Sully in the Uncharted series. If you were going to cast a movie based on a game that had this kind of voice acting alone, along with a great script, wouldn’t you, at least start looking at the people who originated the characters? OK, Hollywood doesn’t want to put the weight of a blockbuster on the shoulders of people who primarily do voice over work. That’s fine. But then, wouldn’t you start looking at the people that kind of look or act like them? Prime examples, Nathan Fillion as Drake and possibly J.K. Simmons as Sully. Not too hard to see either one of them in those roles. Hell, you could make a minor case, although it would be extremely type cast and creepy, to cast Jeffery Donovan as Drake and Bruce Campbell as Sully. The fact that they almost function in those types of roles on Burn Notice is almost calling the relationship a trope.  Kind of like older, close to retirement cop and younger, loose cannon, slightly insane cop ala Lethal Weapon.

What happened next? Somehow, someone in Hollywood decided to first go out and get director David O. Russell to direct the film. Any hopes I had of even considering this movie salvageable went out the window with that decision. This is the guy that directed I Heart Huckabees and I’ll let you go and look up the rant against Lily Tomlin on YouTube on your own time. Put it this way, the guy is an ass hat. Yeah, he directed Three Kings but that doesn’t excuse his douchebaginess.  See, I still found a way to include the theme of d-bags in this post. So, of course, seeing as how David O. Russell will destroy this film, it couldn’t possibly get any worse, right?

Wong.  Way back at the tippy top of this post I mentioned Thanksgiving and that’s when this turkey hit the fan. They have announced that Mark Wahlberg will be playing Nathan Drake. I will wait for your brain to stop bleeding from that information.  I will then repeat it because it only serves to strengthen you. Marky Mark is playing Nathan Drake. Head meet desk. Before you decided to call me a fanboy, crybaby, Simpson's Comic Book Guy, let me explain.

Exhibit A: The crapfest that was Max Payne.
Exhibit B: SNL’s Andy Samberg clearly has Mark Wahlberg’s acting style down pat and is clearly the best choice to play Mark Wahlberg in the Mark Wahlberg life story.

Mark Wahlberg Talks To Animals from Max Payne Interview

Exhibit C: The Happening. Now, I will give as much blame to M. Night on that film but Mark Wahlberg’s acting made Andy Samberg’s impression of Wahlberg a better performance than the ridiculous suckfest that was his performance in The Happening.
Ok, so the video below is an exaggeration of the scene in question, but before they start tinkering with the speed, you can get the idea of what caliber of acting we're talking about here.

The Happening at 33 1/2, 45, and 78 RPM

I give up, Hollywood. This is exactly the kind of crap that caused me to start Mongo Angry! Mongo Smash! and I just want to curl up into a ball and try to use enough bleach to scrub away the dirty that is my soul after hearing this news. This will ruin the series. And, after all, the new game, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is coming out next November and then two years later, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune will bow in theaters and be destined to the Walmart bargain bin before the first showing is even over. You win, Hollywood. I have nothing left. I have tried to defend you, but like a battered woman married to an alcoholic, I keep coming back, only to end up with another bruise, explained away as a household accident with inanimate objects. You’ve killed my soul and somehow I am to blame for it. Goodbye cruel world.

Oh wait, there’s more. There’s even talks to have Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci appear in the movie as Nate’s father and uncle. ZOMGWTFBBQ?!?! First off, that has to be some sort of joke. Second of all, those two characters aren’t even in the games... any of them!

In the words of Marky Mark, himself.  "What? No!" 

Shoot me now, and use very large bullets.  I'll be back next time with a legitimate D-bag awards post.

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