Video game movies are nothing new. From House of the Dead to Resident Evil, from flop to smash, movie adaptations of your favorite/hated title are remembered both for their disastrous execution and (rarely) for their entertaining qualities. And also for Milla Jovovich.
But then the LEGO Movie premiered, and while it drew more from the actual bricks/caltrops themselves than the many games spawned from the playsets its connection to video games cannot be denied. Further bringing video games to the conversation, Warner Bros has acquired the rights to make a Minecraft movie…and it is going to be awesome. Here’s why.
1. Minecraft is an Open-World Game
Much like LEGO, Minecraft has no set narrative. Its action is entirely player-driven and the environments are entirely shaped by the players’ wills (to a certain extent, depending on the server). While a few concepts are universal, Minecraft thrives on the sort of gameplay that gets gamers swapping stories around the Red Bull cooler.
This literally opens up a whole world of opportunities for the writer(s). Unbound by constraints such as the Umbrella Corporation or Commander Shepard, the Minecraft movie – much like the game – will take the form of whatever writers Warner Bros hires to do it. Its quality will also depend on whatever they create – much like the game. Will it be on the level of the Game of Thrones server that recreates Westeros down to the last brick? It at least has a chance to get that high.
2. The Lego Movie Will Inspire How Minecraft: the Movie is Created
Specifically, LEGO Movie did everything right. Written and directed by the commercially-successful Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs duo, voiced by more Hollywood stars than you can shake a stick at (Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell, and Jonah Hill to name about a fifth of them), talent was literally hurled at it.
Warner Bros, if they are smart, will not skimp on the budget for the Minecraft movie. They have a chance to attract great writers and directors (who are already interested) and offer live-action roles to actors perfect for them – whatever they might be. This one is slightly dependent on the writing, but if the movie isn’t lacking in that area then the table will be set. Warner Bros need only send out the invitations.
3. Minecraft is Being Made as a Live-Action Film
Number 2 mentioned this, and it’s a valid reason all on its own. A well-executed rendition of a fantasy world is nothing short of orgasmic for its fans. The Lord of the Rings films proved – at least to the Academy if not to all the fans – that taking a pre-existing IP and bringing it to life on the screen can yield incredible results.
The Minecraft movie will be no less subjected to the perils of a high-tech movie than the recent Star Trek flicks or Star Wars. If the use of CG is poor, the outrage will be swift and merciless. This is the gaming community, after all, and it isn’t exactly praised for its tolerance and acceptance of a vision other than its own (read: Mass Effect endings).
4. Minecraft Will (Probably) Get a Huge Budget
The Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs movies both earned over $200 million at the box office, more than double the budget. LEGO Movie obliterated its budget of $60 million by 6x. What will Minecraft get to start with? Warner Bros may not even know yet, but they can’t afford to pinch pennies here.
All the aforementioned movies were family-friendly take-your-kid films that happened to also deliver to those adults accompanying their spawn. LEGO Movie in particular received rave reviews from critics for its cleverness and wit. These facts contributed greatly to their success and ticket sales. Minecraft may not enjoy the same advantage.
As a live-action film, it may necessitate a greater spending limit to make sure that the previously-mentioned CG is up to snuff. While the style of Minecraft is simple on the TV and PC screen, its adaptation to the theater could up the graphical ante. A good execution here will no doubt require top-dollar CGI, and the brain muscle to make it happen, and those things ain’t cheap.
5. It’s Minecraft!
Minecraft is ridiculously popular. With over 100 million users and OVER 9000 copies of the game sold in the last hour as of writing this, it sits at the top of the hill with other massively multiplayer greats. To compare, Battlefield 4 barely has a 10th of that across its many platforms.
For this multitude which loves the game, seeing the Minecraft movie will be the highlight of their week/month/year/life (directly proportional to the amount of time they spend playing it). For Warner Bros, this represents a massive market ready to watch their latest production – as a start. It will no doubt attract further sales from those whose friends play, from those who want to see a movie that looks good (see points 2 and 3), and the average moviegoer with the nerve to try something new (how dare they).
This obviously depends on how Warner Bros and the film’s production staff handle the film. Whether it will even see the light of day is still a valid question – just ask the Mass Effect movie. However, the success of Minecraft is good ground upon which to build. And if the above points come to fruition, it’s a safe bet to say that the Minecraft will be excellent.