Back in the olden days, it was movies based on cartoons that really threw people for a loop—stuff like TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, based mostly on the Saturday morning cartoon (and a bit on the comic) really made people question whether or not it would work. And it did… for the most part. Then it was movies based on video games, like SUPER MARIO BROS., MORTAL KOMBAT, and STREET FIGHTER. They started out bad and have slowly progressed into being a genre of flicks that are simply OK (HITMAN). Still weird, but it makes sense. Then shite like TRANSFORMERS and GI JOE reigned supreme, basing movies on cartoons that were originally based on toys. Those have more or less worked out, though the TRANSFORMERS bandwagon has started to spread itself pretty thin. But now there’s a new evil nemesis that keeps showing up in cinema that really needs to end: movies based on theme park rides and (worse yet) movies based on board games.
If we need to point fingers for starting and continuing this trend, it’s Disney. They took a gamble on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, based on the popular ride, and got a pretty damn popular movie out of it—one that made a shitload of money and have spawned three sequels off of it so far. And while the first one was good, the budgets continued to rise while the quality continued to fall. When that was a hit, they went forward with the family horror comedy THE HAUNTED MANSION, which had the potential to be awesome (cause the ride is awesome), but it ended up being a family-friendly pile of poop staring the once funny Eddie Murphy. If they handled it the same way as PIRATES, this could have been cool, but… it wasn’t.
This past week was the announcement that another Disney theme park ride was getting the PG-13 big-screen treatment with MATTERHORN (read that shit HERE), from the writer of THE RING and the TRANSFORMERS movies. And while I’ve always liked the ride, do we really need another f*cking movie based on a theme park ride? Shouldn’t this be the other way around—a successful movie spawns a ride around it. Now that makes sense. But this? All for the sake of having a snowy adventure where an 12 foot tall Yeti shows up in the middle of some sort of bobsled action sequence? MATTERHORN feels like a stretch, and I can already tell that an intergalactic shoot ‘em up called SPACE MOUNTAIN isn’t too far away.
But worse than movie’s based on theme park rides? How about movies based on motherf*ckin’ board games! This has to be the biggest stretch yet. This summer we get BATTLESHIP, based on the game where you stealthily try and sink your opponents’ battleship by guessing the coordinates to blow up. But this time... there are giant f*cking alien robots doing the blowing up. Say whaaaaa? Why not just call this thing TRANSFORMERS 4 and call it a day? Then there’s the long-awaited OUIJA movie, based on the Ouija Board, which will involve talking to spirits of the undead (or a whole movie based on the one scene in PARANORMAL ACTIVITY). And what may be the worse of the bunch? The Adam Sandler vehicle, of which he’s planning on writing and starring in, called CANDYLAND. And you guessed right—a big screen version of the popular board game. Popular for 4 year olds, so you know exactly what kind of f*ckin’ movie this will be, Sandler’s presence or not.
So what’s worse? Theme park movies or board game movies? In a way, they’re both equally awful. On one hand, theme parks generally have sets and a certain type of “look” that can be very theatrical (especially those Disney rides), it’s just the storyline they try and shoehorn in doesn’t always work. Then there are board games, which pretty much have a storyline (go on an adventure from point A to point B), but the only source of vision is a board with spaces to move and cards to flip over. What Hollywood says to folks when they green light these kind of flicks is, “choose your evil”—there’s no clear winner, they’re both awful, and yet… both types always make a ton of money.
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but these uninspired, unoriginal, and completely stupid/silly movies based on theme park rides and board games have got to go! Save for PIRATES, the formula doesn’t really work and I am dreading with every ounce of my body to see what a MATTERHORN big-screen adaption will look like. BATTLESHIP looks like 100% entertaining trash that should only exist under the veil of an Asylum movie and slapped with a completely different name because, let’s face it, there’s not giant alien robots doing the blowing up in that game. If Hollywood feels they can only make movies based on other mediums, I say bring on more video game movies---something like CALL OF DUTY, HALO, or even ALTERED BEAST and CASTLEVANIA could be awesome. But CANDYLAND? SPACE MOUNTAIN? OUIJA? What will be next, MONOPOLY? Or worse yet… SOLITAIRE!!!! Eff you Hollywood, eff you very much!