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The screenwriters for God of War tell you how it is going to be borrowing the familiar logline of "Kratos Begins"

Aug. 31, 2012by: Alejandro Stepenberg

God of War logo in gold

Another day, another bit of news about the development of a video game movie.  In this case we have some thoughts from the Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (PACIFIC RIM, FEAST, SAW IV), the screenwriters currently hard at work on GOD OF WAR.  For reasons unkown they were hired to do a new draft of the original adaptation by David Self (ROAD TO PERDITION), and recently took the time out of their busy work to elaborate about their perspective on the story, the thematic meat of the thing, and where it's going (complete with requisite Nolan BATMAN analogy).

Not that reference the way Nolan built up Batman is bad or anything - it worked because it's effective - it's just... well, it's what a lot of folks are doing these days.  But hey - if it worked for Channing Tatum and Peter Pan as a reference point, then by the beard of Zeus it can work for Kratos and GOD OF WAR too! Nah, enough of my snark. It makes sense.  There's just a hell of a lot of story to stuff in to a single film, and I don't honestly see how what is being described as a traditional three-act sctructure is going to cut it.  I'm ready to be surprised though, honest!

God of War Ascension pic

There is still no director attached - right now Melton and Dunstan are just working on cracking the story.  They've got some good ideas/perspective, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.  In the meantime, here are the screenwriters to tell you all about it:

"In the same way that Batman was grounded with Christopher Nolan's rendition, we were attempting to do that with Kratos so that when we meet him -- like they're doing in this newest game, which is sort of a prequel to the original -- we're seeing him before he became the Ghost of Sparta, when he was just a Spartan warrior and he had family and kids."

"In the game... there's that attack from the barbarians and Kratos has to call upon Ares to help him. Really, that's going to be our first act break. Before then, he's going to be mortal, and he's going to have his family. We're going to learn about him and understand how he operates. So it's potentially 30 minutes -- give or take -- of building up this character so that, when he does turn and becomes the Ghost of Sparta, we understand him as a human and we understand the journey that he's going to take. We're emotionally invested, so that it could go beyond just this one movie."

In regards to switching gears from low-budget horror to larger-than-life action, Dunstan and Melton couldn't be happier. 'There's almost an element of relief.  When it comes to God of War, we are first-time visitors, and we have a wealth of imagination that has built up from our appreciation for the sword-and-sandals films of our history... We know it doesn't have to be done for a million bucks in a garage. [Laughs] That helps, too. But also, with a bigger movie like God of War, you have to go quite a bit deeper into the character as opposed to a horror film, in which you generally need to get things going; people are concerned that the audience won't have patience, so it's go go go go go.'"

God of War war art

"With God of War, the studio's saying, 'We're going to spend $150 million to make this movie. We really need to understand this character and get behind him and feel his pain and feel his emotions so that, when he is in these giant set pieces, we're in there with him and we're feeling it.' That is a critique of some of these big action films is that they often get too big and just become noise; you're not invested in the character."

"There was a recent movie, which will remain nameless, that depicted the main character without any fear. When you do that, how are we supposed to be afraid through him? How are we supposed to gauge anything as a legitimate threat? It's become this dulling element. So with this, we take an intimidating presence such as Kratos, fighting and pursuing a bloodthirsty vengeance trail to the God of War. How do we make that genuinely scary? The man of action must prevail, but it's got to hurt to getting there."

Speaking of hurt, the writers also have big plans for Ares, who will become a more proactive villain in their adaptation. "In the game, you know, he's immortal, and he doesn't really do much besides raid Athens.  So we're trying to build him up a bit more, too, so that he can become a true villain."

God of War pandora temple

For the uninitiated amongst you, this art shows Pandora's Temple.  Not only does its design leave Jigsaw in the dust, but it is dragged around the desert by Kronos the f***ing TITANThat's how massive it is.

Extra Tidbit: I'm pretty sure that his "nameless movie" comment is a dig on THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, to which I say that he's right - it's hard to connect with a character who doesn't have fear. Fear is a part of our humanity. If only the film had spent a whole act and a half re-establishing that humanity through fear... oh, wait...
Source: IGN

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+11
9:28AM on 08/31/2012

This better be a hard R

Seriously, if you're going to adapt the most violent video game of all time and make it PG-13, don't even bother with this shit.
Seriously, if you're going to adapt the most violent video game of all time and make it PG-13, don't even bother with this shit.
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8:53AM on 08/31/2012
Joe Manganiello. That was the first name that came to me while thinking of who could play this guy. Joe is tall, built like a brick shit house and can act well enough to portray Krato. Just put him in a gym for 6 months and shave his head.
Joe Manganiello. That was the first name that came to me while thinking of who could play this guy. Joe is tall, built like a brick shit house and can act well enough to portray Krato. Just put him in a gym for 6 months and shave his head.
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+8
11:14AM on 08/31/2012
I agree, rated R or don't do it.
I agree, rated R or don't do it.
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5:38PM on 08/31/2012
How about this movie not get made? God Of War is my favorite videogame, by far. I don't think these guys can fit that much epic into a trilogy, let alone one movie. The games tell a great story. I'm just afraid these guys have already started abusing their creative licenses.
How about this movie not get made? God Of War is my favorite videogame, by far. I don't think these guys can fit that much epic into a trilogy, let alone one movie. The games tell a great story. I'm just afraid these guys have already started abusing their creative licenses.
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1:15PM on 08/31/2012
I'd rather it be a HBO or Starz TV show than a movie. This way you don't have to squeeze everything in 1.5-2 hours and ruin it for the gamers who love this story.
I'd rather it be a HBO or Starz TV show than a movie. This way you don't have to squeeze everything in 1.5-2 hours and ruin it for the gamers who love this story.
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+4
1:27PM on 08/31/2012

Apparently no one reads mythology anymore..

From the IGN article:

"As Dunstan recalled, he and Melton were hired to rework Self's screenplay, which he mentioned was actually pretty good. "The only problem with that is it was written before Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, 300 and Immortals, and those movies borrowed quite a bit from the God of War stories. It was just a little bit outdated, so we wanted to differentiate it from those other movies.""

Though it's flattering to say all those movies borrowed from GoW, all
From the IGN article:

"As Dunstan recalled, he and Melton were hired to rework Self's screenplay, which he mentioned was actually pretty good. "The only problem with that is it was written before Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, 300 and Immortals, and those movies borrowed quite a bit from the God of War stories. It was just a little bit outdated, so we wanted to differentiate it from those other movies.""

Though it's flattering to say all those movies borrowed from GoW, all those flicks played with mythology that's been around for a few thousand years.

The only way I can think of for this movie to be done right is to embrace the over-the-top fantasy pulp that it is. Kratos is a mean motherfucker. This is a chance to make a big-bidget, hard R grindhouse fantasy flick. You think the studio's gonna pony up $150 mil for that?
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12:28PM on 08/31/2012

This is tricky...

Kratos is a great character (and one of my favs) because he's so different from our normal protagonist. He is utterly without compassion, power hungry and kills for his own gain (even innocent people) but you're rooting for him because you want to see him get his revenge. He's like Walt but for video games and he gets deadlier much quicker. The thing is how do you make a series of films based on such a ruthless character for the audience to connect with? Yeah I know they'll spend 30 minutes on
Kratos is a great character (and one of my favs) because he's so different from our normal protagonist. He is utterly without compassion, power hungry and kills for his own gain (even innocent people) but you're rooting for him because you want to see him get his revenge. He's like Walt but for video games and he gets deadlier much quicker. The thing is how do you make a series of films based on such a ruthless character for the audience to connect with? Yeah I know they'll spend 30 minutes on exposition but how do you explain his decisions not to save people who can be saved and to just kill defenseless people as well as the ones who mean to harm him? The games don't really have much of an explanation except he's vengeful and cold-hearted. He's basically more of an enemy to mankind and gods than anything else.I just don't see an accurate depiction of this character translating to film. I think they will have to take out or water down his ruthlessness (even with an R rating) in order to get mass audiences to see it. And if that happens I don't know how I would feel about that because I'm such a big fan of his character.
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1:13PM on 08/31/2012
I hear ya.

I'd love them to be ballsy and go all out R with this, letting us see Kratos as the anti-hero he really is. But this being a supposed $150 million flick... eh, I'll believe it when I see it.
I hear ya.

I'd love them to be ballsy and go all out R with this, letting us see Kratos as the anti-hero he really is. But this being a supposed $150 million flick... eh, I'll believe it when I see it.
+3
9:16AM on 08/31/2012
I would start the story in the middle, with Kratos already on his revenge spree. Fill in the rest as the story goes. Not that their plan can't work, but I'm tired of this prequel-itis plaguing big-budget Hollywood where all these stories have to star,t not at the beginning, but just before it.

Anyway, I hope this is good.
I would start the story in the middle, with Kratos already on his revenge spree. Fill in the rest as the story goes. Not that their plan can't work, but I'm tired of this prequel-itis plaguing big-budget Hollywood where all these stories have to star,t not at the beginning, but just before it.

Anyway, I hope this is good.
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9:59AM on 08/31/2012
It can't be a prequel if there aren't already movies about his story out. I get what you mean though, since the video games are out, but I think I am fine with them starting there - it lets everyone who hasn't played the game inside the origins
It can't be a prequel if there aren't already movies about his story out. I get what you mean though, since the video games are out, but I think I am fine with them starting there - it lets everyone who hasn't played the game inside the origins
10:29AM on 08/31/2012
I just like how the first GoW handled presenting the origin. And I feel that can work for the film too. A project like this is going to have a lot of changes before it makes it into theaters so who knows what we end up with. I expect it to be mediocre at best, despite my hopes for a good flick.
I just like how the first GoW handled presenting the origin. And I feel that can work for the film too. A project like this is going to have a lot of changes before it makes it into theaters so who knows what we end up with. I expect it to be mediocre at best, despite my hopes for a good flick.
5:47PM on 08/31/2012
GOW would be a very tough movie to make and not have it go the way of "Clash of the Titans". I dont see this one turning out so good. Here's to hoping I'm wrong....GOW III is the best game ever.....
GOW would be a very tough movie to make and not have it go the way of "Clash of the Titans". I dont see this one turning out so good. Here's to hoping I'm wrong....GOW III is the best game ever.....
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8:34AM on 09/02/2012

WTF, they are grounding this?

Oh hey, lets make a GoW movie but we can't have Kratos be a badass, let's make him Human and vulnerable. This movie needs to be based on the worst game in the series and has to be grounded. You want to see epic battles against the gods? Too bad, you will see him fight humans and get beat up until the third act. You want epic action scenes? Too bad we will give you a lot of CGI slow motion shots. You LOVE the RE movies? Good! We love to fuck up stuff just as much as Paul WS Anderson. This will
Oh hey, lets make a GoW movie but we can't have Kratos be a badass, let's make him Human and vulnerable. This movie needs to be based on the worst game in the series and has to be grounded. You want to see epic battles against the gods? Too bad, you will see him fight humans and get beat up until the third act. You want epic action scenes? Too bad we will give you a lot of CGI slow motion shots. You LOVE the RE movies? Good! We love to fuck up stuff just as much as Paul WS Anderson. This will not be a GoW movie, this will be Clash of The Titans minus the Titans. We should throw in vampires and werewolves too because those are hot and not over used yet. Also be prepared for Zombies!!!
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2:39PM on 08/31/2012
i agree with everyone that this needs to be a r-rated. I want to see blood, tits and the chains of olympus ripping throats.
i agree with everyone that this needs to be a r-rated. I want to see blood, tits and the chains of olympus ripping throats.
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11:52AM on 08/31/2012
Im in so far. I would love to see the casting get started. I really like DarkElfa's suggestion of Joe Manganiello, though i think 6 months in the gym is an overestimation. 6 months in the gym for Luke Goss and maybe he could fill out and play the role as well.
Either way, lets get to swinging some Blades of Chaos!!
Im in so far. I would love to see the casting get started. I really like DarkElfa's suggestion of Joe Manganiello, though i think 6 months in the gym is an overestimation. 6 months in the gym for Luke Goss and maybe he could fill out and play the role as well.
Either way, lets get to swinging some Blades of Chaos!!
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