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Remaking Peter Jackson
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 30, 2005   |   Episode 64 (Show Archive)  

   

Getting to the top of the Empire State Building is a little difficult, but once there your fur will have a nice orange glow that is unbeatable!
I'm not the type of person who rallies for Hollywood movies to make the jump to the game screen. I would say that the last twenty years of video games have proven without a shadow of a doubt that movies and games just don't mix ... no matter how perfect they might seem for each other. These days movie games aren't much better, they are either rushed to meet a theatrical deadline (Enter the Matrix) or fail to follow the movie's theme (Fight Club). At the end of the day most gamers will agree: games based on movies suck.

But thankfully there are exceptions to every rule and not all movie games are poorly constructed cash cows. Although few and far between, games like GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 and the Chronicles of Riddick for the Xbox prove that occasionally a development team can get it right, and in those cases, actually achieve a higher greatness than the movies of which they are based. These are the types of games that give us all hope that not every movie license is going to be a complete waste of time; these are the games that have kept us trying Star Wars games for years on end.

One director has managed to have surprisingly good luck when it comes to video game conversions, his name is Peter Jackson. While he may not be the household name Steven Spielberg or George Lucas are, Peter Jackson has managed to be a part of one of the

Wait, I thought this was the King Kong game, not some making-of documentary of Jurassic Park!
biggest movie series of all time. Thanks to a couple of different DVDs, all kinds toys and goodies and an extended run at the theater, the three Lord of the Rings movies have grossed several billion dollars and ended up sweeping the Oscars in 2004. And wouldn't you know it; they made for some darn good games, too.

At this year's E3 there was a lot of support for Jackson's upcoming game based on the movie King Kong. Based on the 1933 horror film of the same name, Jackson's King Kong will bring viewers an updated look at this giant ape with advanced special effects and Jack Black. The game comes with almost the same anticipation, as it's being developed by the people responsible for the cult favorite Beyond Good & Evil. The trailer at E3 not only captured the look of King Kong perfectly, but managed to give us a taste of the atmosphere. It's also becoming the media darling of 2005 with everybody from GameSpot to Entertainment Weekly gushing over it.


The beautiful Naomi Watts is not actually in Dead Alive or Bad Taste, but don't let that keep you from watching them!
But I don't think they should stop there, Peter Jackson has a long history of obscure horror films that deserve to be turned in to games, if for no other reason than to flash some much-needed attention their way. Oh sure, the Lord of the Rings earned over a billion dollars at the box office, but up until that Peter Jackson was having a problem even cracking $20 million. Most of

his movies made only a few million, if even that much - Heavenly Creatures: $3 million, Dead Alive: $250,000, etc. Now that Peter Jackson has finally found acceptance by moviegoers and critics alike, maybe it's time to revisit some of these movies in whatever fashion we can.

Take Bad Taste as just one of the many examples of classic Peter Jackson films. It's a movie released in 1987 with a shoestring budget about a virus that gets passed after a rabid animal attacks a scientist. What is lacks in money it more than makes up for in blood and violence. With its simple storytelling, massive amounts of blood, and unflinching violence, Bad Taste would be perfect for a game ... or even a series of games.

And the gore doesn't stop there; Dead Alive is so gross that the box actually states that it is the "goriest fright film of all time." And you don't have to take their word for it; I can assure you that this truly is one of the most disgusting 100 minutes your money can buy. But don't get it confused with all the other early Jackson films; just because it's gross doesn't mean it's anything like Bad Taste. Dead Alive (which is also known as Braindead in some parts of the world) is so much more than just a movie about a killer virus; it's a circus full of mutilation, over

So tell me, Peter, when the heck are you going to give us the proper Mighty Joe Young remake we've kind of wanted for 50 years?
the top cruelty, and deviant fun. And it even features an extraordinarily violent sequence which pits dozens of zombies against

a lawnmower. In other words, it's a whole new world of video game violence that is so over the top that politicians won't know what to say.

Unfortunately not every Peter Jackson film can be turned into a video game. Heavenly Creatures, the true story of two friends whose bond is so tight that they even commit murder together, would probably not make for a real interesting interactive experience. I suspect that Meet the Feebles, best described as a Muppets porno, would be hard to find a genre for. And I don't think anybody wants to see a game based on the Frighteners ... not even Michael J. Fox.

It's not often I actually want companies to develop games based on movies, but in this case I think they would make for amazing games while also managing to bring some much-needed attention to these movies. These days it's not uncommon for developers to go after older movie licenses - The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Dirty Harry - so why not shine that light on some movies that genuinely deserve the spotlight? Not like Jaws!
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