Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 by Russ Fischer
I have no faith that this movie will actually get made, but this is an interesting story regardless. Even as Sony continues to try to adapt the relatively movie-friendly Uncharted game series, the company is trying again with something much more ambitious: an adaptation of the 2005 fantasy adventure game Shadow of the Colossus. Now attached to direct is Josh Trank, whose first feature was the early 2012 release Chronicle.
The game is often at the center of the debate over whether video games can be art (I fell into that conversation back in 2005, when I reviewed the game for G4) but for good reason. The game features a young male protagonist who is told that his dead love can be revived if only he kills a collection of giant beasts that reside across the countryside. He does so without question, and the player is left to eventually wonder if the kid is being played. Visually austere yet stunning, the game was a critical hit and has endured as one of the masterpieces of the PlayStation2 generation.
But will it make a good movie?
Shadow of the Colossus first went into development several years ago. It was 2009 when Justin Marks, the hot geek/genre screenwriter at the time, was hired to develop a script. In the years since the project hasn’t gone very far, as evidence by the fact that Sony is looking for a new writer. Deadline says that Sony and Trank are looking for writers to work on the adaptation now.
We have no detail on what direction the film will take, and whether it might be a live-action/CGI hybrid (as seems likely) or an all-animated film. Frankly, it really isn’t a commercial property and, despite the cachet the property has in the video game community, some pretty big changes would have to be made to turn it into the sort of four-quadrant pleasing film that it’ll have to be to justify the cost of rendering and killing giant beasts on film.
Shadow of the Colossus works tremendously well as a game, and has even been remastered in HD for play on current Sony hardware and modern TVs. (So, unlike some titles that came out as recently as the last hardware generation, it isn’t going away.) I’m good with the idea of changing the story and reinterpreting it — the questions it poses about why fantasy heroes do the things they do are very appropriate for film — but I fear that the particular changes that will be required to make a film a reality won’t be good ones.
Trank is attached to or developing other films, some at other studios: Fantastic Four at Fox, The Red Star at Warner Bros., and Venom also at Columbia/Sony. In other words: everyone wants him after Chronicle became a success. Question is, who’ll lock him down for real?