This is one of those articles to which I am pointed that raises a number of very mixed thoughts and emotions within me. I’m not sure whether to be excited or appalled. To be perfectly honest, my initial thought on the matter was something akin to, “Sweet! Finally, someone is paying homage to one of the classics in this over saturated video game/comic book character movie run!” However, since that initial thought, the pendulum of my thoughts swung to the other extreme before finally settling to a somewhat acceptable happy medium.
Let’s consider the pros and cons for a moment, shall we? The biggest con is that there is absolutely no plot or story line to the game AT ALL. I mean, how often is Hollywood actually left with a completely wide open slate, given a drawing board as empty as space (quite literally) and actually come up with a respectable story? True, it happens from time to time with incredible writers (Spielberg and Lucas come to mind), but of all the space movies out there, those are by far the exceptions.
On the flip side of the coin, though, the context of no story line can also be viewed as the greatest pro for the movie’s promise. If we do indeed have another Spielberg or Lucas on our hands – and I genuinely hope we do in Matthew Lopez – this could prove to be one of the most memorable big screen presentations ever for those classic gamers among us. With a palette as vast as the stars, the potential for this movie is huge.
What worries me most, though, is the fact that it is still an adaptation of a video game. One of the biggest draws to playing classic games like asteroids was the imaginative nature of the game. Nobody really questioned why that little triangular ship was stuck in the middle of the asteroid field wave after wave, but we loved it! With the liberties granted to a writer nowadays, will the ship even retain a semblance of its original triangular nature, or will some graphics designer come up with a new and “improved” version.
We all know how closely and accurately writers have been able to port our favorite comic book characters and video games to the big screen in recent years. I’m still crying over the fact that Bumblebee was a Camaro instead of a VW Beetle and Megatron was some Cybertronian jet instead of a Walther P38 on screen. Since when does creative liberty grant the right to change core elements of what makes a story what it is? When those underlying elements we find so attractive and memorable in books, comics or video games are changed, the attraction is no longer there.
Of course, things once again brings us full circle in our discussion of the current title. With no story to change, very few elements of Asteroids are even present to be accurately retained. Besides the title, the recognizable shape of the ship and the ginormous asteroids, everything else is pretty much fair game.
So, where do I stand after all the waffling? I really can’t say. I’m pleased that some attention is being paid to the originals (just nobody try to film Pong, please), but I only hope it doesn’t leave us with a sour taste after the fact. In short, let’s hope Universal can deliver.