There's No Longer An Excuse for Bad Video Game Movies

There's No Longer An Excuse for Bad Video Game Movies

The producer of The LEGO Movie says he'd love to work on a Nintendo film, and if toys can have good movies, so can games.

We already know Nintendo has big plans for its franchises in the coming years, and that those plans will supposedly strengthen the company's properties outside of their respective games. Specifically, we should see movies, TV shows, and even a theme park based on Nintendo's characters and worlds.

But as of right now, we know little about what kind of plot or setting Nintendo has in mind for a "Nintendo movie." Are we looking at a single movie based around multiple franchises, something like Super Smash Bros? Or are we looking at a cluster of movies within a single property, like Mario or The Legend of Zelda?

At this point, we don't know. What we do know is that when Nintendo gets around to writing, casting, and producing its movie(s), it'll have little excuse for giving us something boring, mediocre, or outright bad. 1993's Super Mario Bros film was a lifetime ago, and the people interested in making Nintendo movies today know better than to dismiss Mario as a little dude who doesn't do much except jump on mushrooms gone bad.

Specifically, Roy Lee, the producer of The LEGO Movie (as well as How to Train Your Dragon and upcoming films based around Minecraft, Adventure Time, and Five Nights at Freddy's), mentioned how a Nintendo-based film would be his "dream project" at a recent DICE 2016 panel. " I think Zelda, Mario, and the whole universe of characters would be perfect for a Lego Movie type of [film]," he said. "I don't have the rights to it, but I would love to. That would be my Holy Grail."

If you've yet to watch The LEGO Movie, treat yourself and your loved ones (if applicable) to a movie night. The 2014 action / comedy film starring Will Ferrell, Chris Pratt, and a whole lot of LEGO stop-motion magic, is funny, smart, and touching. It has great songs and some pretty amazing acting from a group of characters who are literally made of plastic. It also has double-decker couches.

All that from a film that exists to hock toys to kids, however you look at it. The LEGO Movie is a prime example of how a "movie-length commercial" can be well-worth pouring your attention into, and can be treated as something beyond a cynical advertisement that blinks "Buy Our Stuff!" for an hour and a half.

In other words, keen interest from top Hollywood talent indicates a Nintendo-based movie could potentially be, in a word, excellent. Would said movie still be selling games and toys? Of course. But The LEGO Movie is a reminder of how quality entertainment and advertising aren't mutually exclusive.

And while Lee might not be involved in any Nintendo movie projects, the company wouldn't have to dig far to find good writers, directors, and producers willing to respect the franchises that continue to capture their imaginations. Hey -- Duncan Jones, the writer and director for 2009's Moon, is a big fan of video games. Just saying.

Though it pays to be optimistic about a Nintendo movie, it's still important to remember that scripting and planning is just a fraction of the movie-making process. Even the first Mario movie had some good game-accurate ideas that got mangled somewhere in between conception and printing. It's one thing to have big ideas for what a Nintendo movie ought to be like. It's another thing to realize those ideas through to the last day of shooting and editing.

Let's-a hope for the best.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve,, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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