Not Yet, Snake! It's Not Over Yet! Four Reasons To Be Hopeful About The Metal Gear Solid Movie

'Metal Gear Solid' -- Four reasons the movie could be good

Video game fans are naturally suspicious of movie conversions because they’ve been burned more often than charcoal briquettes. Which is weird, because pattern recognition is meant to be a gaming skill. Columbia Pictures’ announcement that it's taking on the Metal Gear Solid license with Iron Man and The Amazing Spider-Man franchise producer Avi Arad has many gamers wary. The last attempt crashed and burned only two years ago, with Michael De Luca, producer of Oscar winner The Social Network, citing vague but fatal incompatibilities between video game companies and the big screen. But as the game's signature character Solid Snake once said: "Don't regret your past! Learn from it!"  With that in mind, here are four reasons the film adaptation might actually work this time.  

1. Licenses Are Big Money Now  

For a long time, the wide-scale sucking of video game movies wasn't a tragedy, it was a kind of karmic blowback. Movies licensed for games were stamped into soulless, cookie-cutter platformers with less character than a game of Hangman. Similarly little care was put into the games' development. In return, movie companies would buy a video game license, shred it, then spit a few random catch phrases from the game into a standard action movie script. In both cases it was because the adaptation meant a few extra dollars for whoever could be bothered to grab them.

'Metal Gear Solid' -- Four Reasons the move could work

 I've got a hold on...your dead ass.

But big money changes everything. The Resident Evil movies are making exponential profits, while comic-book heroes are now grabbing more cash than every one of their bank-robbing villains put together.  (Just ask Arad. ) Studios are scrambling to get onto bandwagon, because it’s really a bank truck with the back doors open. An epic storyline and a quarter-century of rabid fandom means Metal Gear Solid is perfect for conversion.

2. It's Already A Movie Plot

Metal Gear isn’t a Street Fighter, where scriptwriters had to pad the game's haiku-simple idea of two outlandishly dressed characters “punching each other in the head for 90 minutes," and then did such a bad job you’d swear they wrote the padding after receiving the punching.  The franchise is an established full-bore action story armed with politics, double-crosses, environmental messages and more character motivation than War and Peace. In essence, an elite agent comes out of retirement to infiltrate a terrorist facility. That’s a viable, if not entirely original, action-movie plot, and Metal Gear makes it smarter, more, um, solid.  A direct translation of the plot would actually work. Of course that won’t happen, but that isn’t a problem because.... 'Metal Gear Solid' --four reasons the movie adaptation could work

3. Movie-fication will Help

 Video games aren’t converted into movies, they’re flattened. An entire dimension of viewer participation is removed. Metal Gear’s most iconic moments affect the viewer in ways movies can only dream of — like Psycho Mantis breaking the fourth wall with music and controller-vibration, or the Sorrow’s attempt to end the game by convincing the player that it’s already over. This involvement will no doubt be lost in the game's translation to the cinema screen. That said, the language of action movies is about streamlining: ideally, everything should fit into a neat 90-minute package, unless you're Christopher Nolan. And that process inevitably requires the sanding down of a lot of important detail, Metal Gear maestro Hideo Kojima needs more streamlining than a supersonic jet. Still, he’s the unquestioned master of the series — to the point where the game franchise owner Konami seems unwilling to let him escape, constantly forcing him into sequels no matter how many times he publicly says “this is the last one.” (I genuinely think they’re using a real world Foxdie virus on him, set to trigger if he leaves. The next game’s going to include include Codec messages reading “Help me. They have my family!”)

Kojima crafts masterpieces of stealth action. He also crafts epic monologues that rival the Iliad and puts them on the same disc. This gave Metal Gear Solid a depth unseen in any “man-with-a-gun” game before or since. For Metal Gear Solid 2, released in 2001, Kojima gave gamers a main character so detested — Raiden — that an updated version of the game, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance was released the following year that included non-canonical extra missions so that button mashers could stop sulking and play as the revered Solid Snake. (Raiden is still apparently hated: The Substance version was included in the recent Metal Gear Solid HD Collection release.) By  the fourth installment, MGS was a day-long movie with set pieces you were allowed to stunt direct. Tightening the script could sharpen the story and attract a whole new audience.

'Metal Gear Solid' -- Four reasons the movie could be good4. The Special Effects Will Be Worth the Price of Admission

Perhaps it's apostasy to write this, but the special effects in a Metal Gear movie are bound to kick ass. They must. The Metal Gear itself is the most perfect villain in any series: a giant walking tank which can also nuke anything on the planet. Action stars spend entire careers searching for an enemy that perfect. One of the most stunning moments in Metal Gear Solid was when this office-block-sized monstrosity rose out of the ground in a cut-scene and you, with your mouth hanging open in the real world, stood still while it shot at you until you realized that the cut scene had ended and this techno-leviathan was about to smoke your tiny ass. IMAX-ing the movie alone will justify ticket sales.

Sure, that's no guarantee that the boys in Hollywood won't screw it up, but let's hope Columbia, Konami and Arad heed the wisdom of Solid Snake:  "This isn't a training exercise. Our lives are riding on this. There are no heroes or heroines. If you lose, you're worm food."

Luke McKinney loves the real world, but only because it has movies and video games in it. He responds to every tweet.

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  • lance young says:

    I'm very skeptical of this being pulled off in a convincing fashion. With comics I can see it. Theirs something A movie can incorporate that the comic can't and vice versa. In short between those two platforms it's a two way street. Video game movies have in general a poor track record.
    Resident Evil is commercially the most viable but it's so far removed from the game they could almost get away with calling it something else. Resident Evil just like Metal Gear has an already rich backdrop to feed off of but sadly it's just not enough for me and a lot of other purist when we see how these "game" films turn out.

    Now to be fair it's not the fan boys their trying to convince to go see this. That's a given,but despite the story already being laid out to go off of,well it's a very heavy,complex plate they're going to have to pick and choose from. There’s so much of the story that will get passed over or altered to drasticly for me to even think it will be half way decent. I hope I’m wrong I really do but I just can't see this be faithful enough to the material.
    The game itself already surpasses what a movie could offer. Realisticly to stream line this for a wider audience we have to look the bigger picture of the game and simply gloss over or entirely skip the finer details.

    1. It's a movie about a walking nuclear battle tank.
    (Okay I’m confident that if nothing else the movie will incorporate this. That much I’m sure of)

    2. Snake is injected with Fox Die by a woman scientist because he killed her brother years earlier,which later is revealed she wasn't actually this mans sister but he killed her family and then took her in with pity as her own. (Fox Die is an integral part of the story but i would bet they'll change this up dramaticly)

    3. Snake is a clone of a man who was considered the worlds greatest soldier. To top it off so is his twin brother who just so happens to be the main antagonist of the game. ( Will they really have the same actor playing two characters (Double impact style) or will they (as I'm guessing) alter this to where it's two different characters with similar DNA that look different.)

    4. Theirs a lot of great villians within the game but I doubt where going to see them all. The Red Ninja,Ocelot,Liquid,Decoy Octopus,Raven,Sniper Wolf,Psycho Mantis. I'm guessing they'll incorporate 3 of them and 2 are dead give aways.

    5. Are we for sure this is a Metal Gear Solid movie or is it a Metal Gear movie?

    Like I said I hope this movie is awesome and does the game justice. Time will tell.

    • Bruno says:

      If the movie really covers the story of the games and they start by the freaking THIRD game (Metal Gear Solid, PSX), I won't even watch it.

      Seriously, everything that happens in MGS happens because of, at least, the events of Metal Gear 2. Okay, it's an MSX game, but it still got a great storyline that would be perfect for a movie (of course, taking out a few unnecessary things).

      But I think I can't do anything about it. They'll either begin with MGS already (crap) or create something new like Resident Evil (even worse).

  • yarrrrr says:

    k i'll add my 2 cents from random thoughts in my head. This article should be called 4 reasons why you hope the film will be good. You don't seem to include any of the actual heads working on this film in your ariticle in any meaningful way.

    I'm a big fan of film and metal gear. throughout my time spent playing metal gear, i was also taking film courses. As a fan I'd like to feel the way I did when I was playing the games while watching the film but at the same time I know the only way this is going to work is if I get a creative rendition of the film's concepts and ideology. If anything, I'd be happy to see a director with a vision really do what he wants with the source material but it would seem realistically any of the directors that would be able to do this game any justice probably didn't grow up with it and wouldn't have any connection to it or feel any personal responsibility to get it right.

    Then you have to think about which game they plan on adapting? The whole cloning thing is silly enough by today's standards and even kojima has admitted it was a mistake to take that route.

    Chances are they are going to approach this from the comic book to film perspective. Videogames have been related as the comic books of today so why not? This film will probably have about as much depth as the x-men films. If anything, so long as it has the quality of the first two and it doesn't devolve into the mess that ensued then we can at least appreciate it as a solid interpretation of an incredible body of work. Just don't let Kojima make it. I'm confident if he were making this it would be the equivalent of Mamoru Oshii's Avalon mixed with Tetsuo and Versus thrown in for good measure.. Hmph,On second thought that actually sounds pretty cool.

  • Landon H. says:

    By the way, that photo with the caption "Solid Snake: good at grabbing" is actually Naked Snake, aka Big Boss

  • Joey says:

    Here's an idea: Make a Metal Gear (MSX) movie. It's a stretch, but it could work.

    • Bruno says:

      In my opinion they could even make a movie that 'mix' Metal Gear 1 and 2. It's possible. And then, AFTER that, they could make an MGS movie. That would be awesome.

      Beginning with MGS is just wrong. The Gray Fox/Big Boss storyline makes no sense if you don't know what happened before.

      • Thundy says:

        Well, they could start with MGS3 since it's chronically the first of the saga. After that comes Portable ops, Peace Walker and the newest one; Ground Zeroes. They all are set before time of Metal Gear, if I'm correct.

        • Vorax says:

          Here's the thing though, the majority of the people that played MGS didn't play the MSX games, what with the MSX never seeing a release in America, where MGS had it's greatest success.
          But, to make two, or even one movie on the MSX games is stupid.
          In the "Previous Missions" section of MGS, it summarized both games in around 20 pages.
          That could easily be a narrated intro, and it would even be better if the narration left out some of the story, and rely on Snake's codec conversations about Big Boss and Grey Fox.
          It is more personal than a movie or two would be, instead of watching something happen, you listen to Snake and his feelings about what happened.
          It also makes Big Boss far more mysterious, more of an unknown entity, which makes it even more mystifying as to why Liquid wants his body.

  • Frantz D. says:

    If the movie is total CGI... I'll definitely watch...I'm skeptical of a live-action, although it would be interesting to see them pull it off. There are certain elements that the movie MUST have that the game has. For instance...I refused to watch Transformers if it didn't incorporate the iconic transforming sound that the cartoon was known for. There are many elements that might get cut out of the movie that I enjoyed while playing the Metal Gear games such as the exclamation and question mark that suddenly appeared someones head and the sound that was made when you were spotted...That feeling of flight/flight cannot be translated to the big screen...or can it??? I'm pretty sure Hideo Kojima will make for certain that this doesn't tarnish his career

  • Frantz D. says:

    And... You can't forget about the CODEC moments... some of those were the Highlights and laughs of the games!!! how will that work!?

  • ronpage says:

    I say that only the Wachowski's are truly capable of pulling this off...

    • kourt says:

      Agree with the wachowski thing, they did an excelent job with Matrix, that is, for me, the only story as deep as the Metal gear games...

  • SPANKii says:

    I think Bryan Singer could possibly do these if he wants the film to be suspenseful with action. He's had experience with films containing military plots and such that included characters with awing abilities. But that's just my opinion. I hope they get the right team to tackle this project.

    Imagine Snake being dropped down from high above soaring in the sky with the rough winds gusting against him. He pulls his parachute because he notices a clearing. Silent in the night sky Snake drops into a forest. In the clearing there is a jeep and a soldier lighting up his cigarette. Snake jumps out of the forest and takes the soldier out. During that time since he jumped out of the plane he's getting instructions and details about the mission over the CODEC, and there is an awesome score being played in the background by Hanz Zimmer during that whole scene that gives a sense of thrills and adventure like in some of his tracks in "The Rock".

    I'm even laughing at the thought of Hugh Jackman playing Snake. Honestly if there is any chance that this movie is going to be successful they should start off with Metal Gear where Snake defeats Big Boss then ease it into Solid so that future projects can be made. Make it where the audience wants to know more about the story. If audience likes the first film then blow it up for the next 1 or 2 films. Also they shouldn't be afraid to follow some of the plots in the their games because the story is really great. They just going to have to eliminate some stuff that isn't meant for the big screen.

    Jumping MooMoo's With Crazy Legs. - Haha

  • Mike TCG says:

    I waiting this movie! Great snake( see in " NY 1997" by J- Carpenter?), great story, with action unbevielable..But who play snake on cinema screen? Does hollywood choice? No! Fan choice, for me it's Norman Reedus from Walking D-

  • Frank Jaegar says:

    Minutiae: "blasphemy," not "apostasy."

  • Guppie says:

    I'm hopeful, but scared as well. Resident Evil is doing so well because it's long running, which I don't know how 🙁 It's been so butchered from the actual game story other than a few characters, with small parts, that make you go, "Ohey! I remember them!" and the basic storyline of Umbrella.
    One of the reasons the first go at making a MGS movie failed was, they weren't going to have David Hayter as Solid Snake (who he voices), and a lot of game fans were upset about it.
    They could go with a pre-MGS game storyline, as like above, how the Foxdie was created.
    In anyway this pans out, I just hope they do the game justice, and hopefully it's not a Raiden story :3

  • Darc Jester says:

    Loved the games i want to know when the movie is going to come out and whos going to be in it? who are the characters being played by?

  • alex says:

    oh man that dude destroyed the amazing spiderman. I wanted to walk out watching that movie but I am a bit of a cheap skate. I'll watch it but I have no expectations.

  • Sancho says:

    Don't care I'll see it twice in 3D and pay double for it.

  • If they want to play it safe, they should go with Snakeeater. Its story is the most palatable for the general public(and what a beautiful story it is!), and like Thundy says, it's where the whole Metal Gear storyline begins.

    Then again, a story set between the timeline "cracks" of the current games would give them considerable more flexibility without having to break the current canon AND generate interest in their existing Metal Gear games. (Who is this Big Boss they keep talking about?) They could do flashbacks from previous games IN LIVE ACTION(that would be EPIC!), although I imagine they should either be very brief and used sparingly.

  • Emily says:

    Where I come from we never get any of this sort of thing. Need to search around all over the internet for such up to date pieces. I ‘m thankful for your commitment. How do I find your other articles?!