Hollywood's latest retro craze is board games, what with Ridley Scott directing an alternate dimension Monopoly movie and Peter Berg helming a Battleship flick about aliens. But what if other directors made game movies? What if Joss Whedon directed POGs?
We don't know what's weirder - the fact that board games are the new hot target of Hollywood nostalgia-whoring, or that these upcoming game movies are tapping science fiction tropes for inspiration. What if this trend continues to snowball in the years to come? Join io9 as we ponder a creatively bankrupt future in which some of our favorite auteurs have put a scifi spin on otherwise plotless childhood games.
5.) Darren Aronofsky's Pac-Man
Genre: Paranormal noir
Plot: Guillaume Homme-Pac is a mentally-ill pensioner who lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He is a recluse and only leaves the apartment to purchase anti-psychotic medication which he hoards using a number of forged prescriptions. He consumes near toxic amounts of these pills nightly, for every evening he is visited by four mysterious ghosts - Arnaud, Patrice, Benoît, and Clyde - who chase Monsieur Homme-Pac through the diseased labyrinths of his own mind. Although the medication keeps the apparitions at bay, it is eroding Homme-Pac's health and sanity.
Monsieur Homme-Pac's ex-wife Josette lives down the hallway from him. She still loves and cares for Guillaume, but his delusions placed an insurmountable strain on their marriage. Madame Homme-Pac is never seen without her trademark vermilion Givenchy beret. Josette supplies her husband with the prescriptions, but she hates herself for doing so. Unbeknownst to Guillaume, she too is haunted by four ghosts - Inès, Paulette, Babette, and Sue.
Guillaume Homme-Pac: Jean Reno
Josette Homme-Pac: Sophie Marceau
[JOSETTE knocks on the GUILLAUME'S DOOR. He answers, smoking a Gitanes Blondes. Cue Clint Mansell ambient track.]
JOSETTE: I heard you last night. I heard you yelling again. About the maze, the blue walls. I heard it all.
GUILLAUME: [impassively] Why were you up at that hour?
JOSETTE: [ pauses and looks away] You woke me. I brought you this.
[She foists a brown grocery bag into GUILLAUME'S hands. It is filled with fruit. He picks up a box of Super Pretzels that is oddly on top. He eyeballs it, face blank.]
JOSETTE: They were on sale.
GUILLAUME: Food will not make them go away.
JOSETTE: When will they go away?
GUILLAUME: When I drill a hole in my head. When I spiral into nothing. When someone trips on the plug.
[He slams the door.]
4.) J.J. Abrams' Candy Land
Genre: Time-travel espionage thriller
Plot: On the day of her high school graduation, Threnody Crisco receives a letter from her father, who died before she was born. It turns out he is still alive and the king of the Kan-Di, a time-traveling race of hyper-evolved homo sapiens who have been stranded in the past. Even worse, he and his royal court are being vivisected in Compound 47, a high-tech prison secretly owned by Japanese confectionery conglomerate Tagruato.The corporation is experimenting on the Kan-Di and attempting to reverse-engineering Threnody's father's chrono-jumping beacon, "The Red Gumdrop."
In addition to saving her dad, Threnody must defeat her duplicitous uncle Lord Cassius Lucreze (who exiled King Kan-Di to the past) and her mother, the supercilious Queen Frostine. Little does Threnody know that Lord Lucreze has been plotting against her for years. Her boyfriend, University of Michigan frosh Gus Glopert, is actually a shape-shifting assassin and Lucreze's #2, General Glopius.
Threnody Crisco: Keri Russell
King Kan-Di: Lance Reddick
Lord Cassius Lucreze: Nestor Carbonell
Queen Frostine: Maggie Q
The Grand Matriarch Filbert: Simon Pegg
Gus Glopert/General Glopius: Ian Somerhalder/Terry O'Quinn
Magic Overalls (voice): Carlton Cuse
3.) Werner Herzog's Tic-Tac-Toe
Genre: Post-apocalyptic rumination among the ruins
Plot: In an unfathomable future, only two beings exist: X and O, immortal god-kings driven insane by technology and solitude. They divide the ruined world between, partitioning the globe into nations of which they are the sole citizens. X and O are deathless, and this pointless war game is the only pastime they know. They have forgotten their names, family, and scruples. Like Cain and Abel, they only know the barbarity that is the pith of civilization.
X and O continue this Manichean frivolity until the sun supernovas. Only then will Earth finally become a proper Hell, baptized by fire.
O: Brad Dourif
X: Dolph Lundgren (with the digitally superimposed face of Klaus Kinski)
Grizzly bear: Nicolas Cage
[X and O stare into each other's eyes. They stand in burnt chaparral.]
[A GRIZZLY BEAR ambles by. It dies of significance.]
[THE SUN supernovas.]
2.) Paul Verhoeven's Snakes and Ladders
Genre: Erotic bio-horror
Plot: In a dystopian Detroit, a strange phenomenon occurs every night. Strange golden ladders materialize on the street, beckoning men to climb up. Those who have lived virtuously are rewarded with a naked gambol with a three-breasted woman; those men who have committed injustices encounter a hungry three-headed hydra, who vomits their bones onto the boulevards below. Detectives Quaid Hauser and Malone Nomi must end the creature's deadly feast. But whereas Detective Hauser seeks to crack the beast's seemingly arbitrary moral code - indeed, she condemns decent men for their childhood rascalities - the cybernetic Detective Nomi has but one imperative: bug hunt.
Detective Quaid Hauser: Kurtwood Smith
Detective Malone Nomi: Casper Van Dien
Three-Breasted Woman: Gina Gershon
Victim No. 4: Jake Busey
1.) Joss Whedon's POGs
Genre: Slumber party space odyssey
Plot: Earth is under the thrall of the so-called "POG Tribunal," which consists of three despotic demon races: the Ankylosaurus-like "Pineapples," the mottled, vampiric "Oranges," and the "Guavas," who look like exactly like humans but smell vaguely of fruit punch. The POGs have barricaded our planet behind a impenetrable force field and are mind-wiping all survivors for use as domestics. Earth has only one hope to break this barricade: the starship Slammer, which is piloted by a trio of brassy sorceresses known as the Furies. The Furies are perpetually accompanied by their janitor, Ralston, who suffers from psychosomatic erectile dysfunction.
Maxi Fleetfoot: Charisma Carpenter
Mag Sammich: Eliza Dushku
Lt. Zeena Spandau: Summer Glau
Ralston: Alan Tudyk
[Interior of the Slammer. RALSTON has some down time and is enjoying his favorite hobby: macramé]
RALSTON: The sooner I macramé this ski cap, the sooner my ears will be warm. Mmmm, macraméy.
[MAG SAMMICH, MAXI FLEETFOOT, and ZEENA SPANDAU stride in.]
MAG: Get the fuck out of here, Ralston. The Herkies need the conference room.
["The Herkies," of course, is the Furies' pet term for themselves, as they compare their gang of space vigilantes to the 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Herculoids.]
RALSTON: Sigh. Now it is time for me to be alone. In space. Appropriate.
[RALSTON shambles off. He falls asleep in an air lock and asphyxiates whilst clutching a pair of gym shorts he purloined from Zeena's boudoir.]