It’s Mass Effect: The Movie!

Hollywood moves in trends. They don’t tend to be good trends, mind you, but it’s the nature of the business. One of those trends, in recent years, has been an inevitable one: the appearance of video games on the big screen. Some have done alright, such as the moderately successful Silent Hill and the incredibly terrible but widely successful Resident Evil—but even these have tended to alienate audiences of the series themselves. The majority of video game movies tend to be of the Uwe Boll variety—a fate worse than death for anyone with more than two brain cells.

Now Bioware is set to join the ranks of video game-to-big screen movies with a Hollywood adaptation of their popular Mass Effect series. It’s no secret that Bioware’s been boasting about such high hopes for many months now, but now it’s official. Legendary Pictures has picked up the rights to the movie, which they intend to work with Warner Bros. to produce.

While I long to see another of those rare, well-made sci-fi adventures on the big screen, though, I fear Mass Effect may not be the thing to do it.

Mass Effect, the game, is based heavily on user decisions. Good. Bad. Neutral. It’s your choice. It’s sort of hard (I.E. impossible) to bring that to the big screen. Unless we somehow manage to make some sort of clicker-based-hell choose-your-own-adventure movie, and god would that be a horrible day.

The story is intricate and marvelously done, and the universe breathes with its own sense of life, but that comes with its own problems for Hollywood. It is sci-fi in a big way, and fraught with interstellar politics. Star Wars managed such themes, and so did Star Trek (for you silly Trekkies out there), but how many other successful sci-fi movies have managed that? Serenity was amazing, but it was a theatrical flop. Most people tend to go into those sort of movies (if they go at all) with an aura of “snore.”

Plus, there’s going to be a lot of CGI necessary to pull this off. A lot of movies these days have begun using it, and it’s a staple of sci-fi films, but there’s a difference between using it and using it well. A lot of things could go wrong, and they frequently do.

With dedication, I could see something good coming of this, but Mass Effect fans, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

~ by Chris G. on May 28, 2010.

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