Space Invaders is headed for the silver screen. The Wrap reports that Warner Brothers has acquired the film rights to Taito’s classic shoot-em-up arcade game, with Akiva Goldsman on board as a producer. The cast, crew, and release date information have yet to be released.
Video game-to-movie translations aren’t uncommon, but unlike, say, Tomb Raider and Super Mario Bros, Space Invaders doesn’t really have much in the way of a narrative. It doesn’t have any real characters to speak of either, unless we include the iconic block-based ships. And that’s stretching it.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has taken a plotless game and turned it into a movie. Universal Pictures somehow managed to create a story around the classic board game Battleship in 2012. It wasn’t exactly a success, though: Battleship only managed to gross $65 Million domestically. International box office numbers helped a little, but it still barely made up it’s $209 Million production budget. It was also a critical flop, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 34%.
Warner Brothers may have a little more success with Space Invaders, though, if they take the comedic route. Battleship was unwisely designed as a serious sci-fi epic, and the trailers suggested as much. If they take a family-friendly, goofball route ala Men in Black or Independence Day, then there’s a chance they could have a winner on their hands.
There’s a lot a naysaying going around Internet commenting boards about this planned Space Invaders film, and it’s hard to blame the doubters. Video game movies in the past haven’t been exactly great, and most of them have had the benefit of (at the very least) a loose narrative to base the plot around. Even games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat had their own built-in mythology before becoming (terrible) movies. Space Invaders has none to speak of.
It’s okay to be a little hopeful, though, even though being as such may not be the “popular” stance. Though “plotless” usually equals “bad” when it comes to any kind of film adaptation, it also means that whoever works on the script for Space Invaders has an empty canvas to fill. A talented, creative screenwriter has the ability to really make something interesting out of this ordeal. Just look at what Phil Lord and Christopher Miller did with The Lego Movie.
If Space Invaders does prove to be a success, then we should expect more classic game-to-movie translations. There are tons of pre 8-bit properties up for for exploitation. Fingers crossed for a fantasy epic based off of Adventure.
Photo Source: “Home made Space Invader” by Xavier Caballe via Flikr.