Movies based on video games have a pretty undisputed reputation of being less than successful. No one has really mastered the art of bringing an interactive medium to an inactive one — the new Tomb Raider is currently the highest-rated live-action video game movie on Rotten Tomatoes, and it clocked in at 50%. Director Brad Peyton of the upcoming Rampage was recently interviewed by IGN and asked about adapting the game to a movie and the so-called “video game curse”.
“My ultimate goal of this movie was to genuinely remind you, monsters are scary, but monster movies are meant to be fun,” said Peyton. “With these movies, the challenge is to constantly be unpredictable, and to constantly entertain. And I think the most entertaining stuff is the stuff that, you just cannot see what’s going to come next. So when Dwayne’s like, of course the wolf flies, that’s just a little sprinkling of where these creatures can go and what they can do. We really drilled down on the science.”
“There’s obviously a pressure to deliver on these things and to ground the movie and to deliver on spectacle and all that, but there also aren’t these expectations to what this character’s supposed to be or what this plot is supposed to be. I didn’t know about this quote-unquote ‘video game curse’ until about two weeks after I finished the movie,” Peyton told IGN. “A lot of times, [studios] attempt to adapt games that have massive followings. … When you attempt to adapt something that has an incredibly deep plotline or character or something along those lines, you’re beholden to delivering something. And it’s really a difficult challenge because as a gamer, I know, I play as the hero. That’s an immersive medium, and so, it’s really hard to go up against something that pre-exists.”
Peyton went on to explain his approach to adapting an established idea.
“The things that you really take away from a brand, in this sense, is not necessarily a story, because you can go play it, but you take away a tone, and a theme, and, you know, that’s what I look at,” he said. “What’s the tone, what’s the theme, what can I do here that’s new, that’s not repetitious to what already exists?”
We’ll see next month if he succeeded in that.
Summary: Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered alpha predators. As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.
Rampage, directed by Brad Peyton, stars Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, and Joe Manganiello. It will be released on April 20th.