Heil Mecha Hitler! 5 Reasons To Be Excited About Roger Avary's 'Wolfenstein' Movie
Samuel Hadida is taking on the Wolfenstein video-game franchise. Considering that his Resident Evil movies made more than $500 million, that’s big news. If you didn’t spend the early '90s introducing Nazis to bullets, Wolfenstein 3D is the grandaddy of all great first person shooters. It came out a year before the similarly influential Doom was released by the same company (id Software). The parallels will hopefully end there. With Oscar-winning Pulp Fiction co-screenwriter Roger Avary slated to write and direct the Wolfenstein movie, it should be a helluva lot more watchable than the 2005 Doom adaptation that starred Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (and almost spelled doom for his acting career) .
Reports of a Wolfenstein adaptation have been kicking around since 2002 when trade reports of video-game movies being developed were more plentiful than TSA pat-downs. Like so many of those projects, however, the film did not materialize. In 2007, news of Avary's involvement with the film broke, although his arrest and subsequent imprisonment on vehicular manslaughter charges the following year put both the project and its director out of the public eye. But now they’re back, and there is reason to hope. Five of them, actually.
1. The Players
The press release for the latest incarnation of Wolfenstein promised a blend between Inglourious Basterds and Captain America, and that’s not just an intern throwing out the only Nazi movies he could remember. Avary's collaboration with Quentin Tarantino won the pair Oscars for their Pulp Fiction script. He also directed the neo-noir bank-heist classic Killing Zoe. If you’ve got a hero whose only personality trait is “shooting people," which Castle Wolfenstein does, Avary is the right man to give the guy character and dialogue.
He also has a long history of working with Samuel Hadida, who produced Killing Zoe. They worked together on Silent Hill and Rules of Attraction as well. Hadida’s video-game credentials also include producing three of the Resident Evil movies, the most profitable video game movie franchise out there, as well as one with fairly high production values. Which means Castle Wolfenstein won’t be another Uwe Boll-style low budget insult.
2. The Plot
Many saw the Doom movie as a disaster because it messed with the plot. It's a fair charge because Doom, the video game, is essentially “Doomguy versus the demons of hell” and Doom, the movie, had neither. The script was fun, and had a great twist, but calling it The Rock And A Gun would have been more accurate. It would also have been a better plot than most of his other movies.
The plot of Wolfenstein has always been “B. J. Blazkowicz shoots Nazis”. Even his name sounds like an explosion. The simplicity of the game should actually benefit the movie. Although a Hollywood Reporter story indicated that the movie will feature both an American and a British operative, Avary can be as innovative and provocative as he likes with the plot and still easily integrate it with the fundamentals of the franchise.
3. The Nazis
As villains, Nazis are almost as tired as zombies. They've been trudging around the cinema screens for even longer, and are popular for the same reason: you can do anything to them without fear of political repercussion. (Especially when you combine them, as in Dead Snow.)
The 2001 game reboot, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, rejuvenated the franchise with the awesome idea of the SS Paranormal Division, an enhancement expanded upon in the 2009 sequel Wolfenstein that reportedly will figure into Avary's film. That's right, psychic Nazis! This explained the undead mutants of earlier games and allowed the introduction of all kinds of new monsters and events. It's also an aspect of the game that should have special effects coordinators salivating.
4. No Baggage
Wolfenstein is the perfect video game franchise for a Hollywood scriptwriter. The game is famous, but it doesn't have a complicated canon to get in the way of the storytelling. The franchise has also never suffered from the sequelitis that has, for instance, bedeviled Resident Evil. There's no massive cast, no reality-flouting retroactive continuity and no convoluted twists and turns. Instead, you've got a good guy, bad guys, explosions, and...
The greatest game villain of all time, and we’ll get to see it come to life on the big screen via big-budget, special-effects. Mecha Hitler is Castle Wolfenstein's secret weapon. In addition to being an armored cyborg and probably a clone, it (he?) is a viral advertising bonanza.
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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