Shadow of the Colossus, Sony Computer Entertainment

Make it right or the fans will squash you like bug.

April Fools passed by without much incident (or did I just miss the hoopla?)  but there’s been news of late that I wish was a joke, and some genuine welcome surprises. Unfortunately, this is is one of the former.

Sony Pictures is working on adapting seminal PS2 game Shadow of the Colossus into a movie, as confirmed by both The Hollywood Reporter’s Risky Biz Blog and Variety’s The Cut Scene blog . There’s no expected release date yet, and the project is in the earliest stages of development.

Here come the bad news: the attached screenwriter is Justin Marks, whose only released film to date he worked on is Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. The small ray of hope in this is that Hollywood really sees some potential in this guy and has already entrusted Marks with some real geek fantasy in-development projects like Voltron20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Masters of the Universe. I just hope Chun-Li is him getting started and that Shadow of the Colossus is the last possible adaptation he does, after steadily getting better at the craft.

The 2005 game from Sony Computer Entertainment centered on the solitary Wander, searching out Colossi – giant creatures held together by stone, earth and magic – that he had to bring down in order to save the life of a girl. There are no other humans to interact with and an expanse of barren land between the Colossi. To get a sense of the game, look around the ‘net and you’ll find  common themes used to describe it include epic, grand, mystical, adrenaline, accomplishment, cinematic, genre-breaking, game-as-art.

Shadow of the Colossus had a truly EPIC sense of scale and it does excite me to think about seeing an enormous mountain of a Colossus come to life in properly-done CG on some ginormous IMAX screen.  The camerawork in-game and even the soundtrack had a very cinematic quality about them so those are a natural translation to the big screen. But there was also no real spoken dialogue in it, save  Wander calling his horse Agro near, so already there is a conflict of narrative devices there. Look around for fans reactions to the movie news and you’ll see I’m not the only one quite unsettled here. 

Slashfilm reminds us that Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) once called the game “a masterpiece.” It’s my hope that a director like him who appreciates and understands the vision of the game will be able to whip the “film” into shape, save it from becoming just another “game movie” flop.

Tags: ps2