It looks like there's big trouble for the Gears of War movie. According to an L.A. Times blog, the film has had its budget slashed, its director (Len Wiseman) is reportedly turning his attention to another project and may not be involved at all when/if the film hits the production stage, and the film's producers are looking for new writers to handle a stripped down version of the story. The movie's official release date of 2010 is looking increasingly unlikely. Originally, the movie was planned as a sprawling, $100 Million epic, but the new Gears (if it happens) will be a more modest flick.
As the L.A. Times points out: Video game adaptations have a unique way of coming about. At the beginning stages, the projects tend to have a huge amount of "Heat." It's an easier sell in Hollywood to be able to show development people an established property with a built-in fan base than to take something totally untried and try to raise $100 million bucks on it. But the problem comes in when Hollywood actually tries to make the picture.
Video games are, almost always, based loosely on movies and movie genres (How many reviews have you read that called a game "cinematic?) so making a game movie is essentially like making a movie version of something already based on a movie, which may be too derivative even for the modern film industry. Some kinds of stories lend themselves to games and not movies (and vice-versa) so putting together a good movie based on a game presents perhaps insurmountable difficulties.
It's also hard to make a movie based on a video game because we like to play video games. You can't play a movie and no one has found a way yet to make a movie feel like a video game -- it might be impossible.
As history has shown us again and again, movies based on games suck, but Gears could be the exception. Personally, I enjoy "stripped down" movies more than epics -- District 9 was more to my liking than Avatar -- so I don't think that's bad news, necessarily, but I wonder if we'll ever see a Gears movie.
What do you think? Are you bummed or happy that Gears is having problems making it to a theater-near-you?
Source: L.A. Times