News: Having glutted itself on the back catalogues of Marvel and DC, video games are now very much under the baleful glare of Hollywood’s rapacious eye for source material, with Deus Ex the latest gaming IP to get
butchered adapted for the big screen.
It seems that Hollywood filmmakers have exhausted the rich seam that was adapting every comic book franchise known to man, and now next in line for the treatment are video games, as, following hot on the heels of news of an Assassin’s Creed movie and the casting of Tom Hardy as Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher, it’s been revealed that a Deus Ex film is in the works.
CBS Films have announced that they will be adapting Square Enix’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the big screen, with Scott Derrickson, director of Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, signed up to helm the project. He’ll be working again with Sinister’s screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, who’ll be on scripting duties.
“Deus Ex is a phenomenal cyberpunk game with soul and intelligence,” Derrickson opined. “By combining amazing action and tension with big, philosophical ideas, Deus Ex is smart, ballsy, and will make one hell of a movie. Cargill and I can’t wait to bring it to the big screen.”
Having never seen Mr. Derrickson’s cinematic ouevre, I’m in no place to judge whether he’s a good/bad/idiotic choice for the project, though the very phrase “smart, ballsy, and will make one hell of a movie” is testing out my gag reflex even as I type. But considering the entire USP of the Deus Ex series is the fact that every level and encounter can be approached in a myriad variety of ways would appear to make it exactly the sort of game that would least benefit from being adapted into a fixed and probably “action-packed” narrative. Maybe there will be dozens of different director cuts on the Blu-ray to reflect the numerous ways each scene could have played out if the protagonist went for stealth, sabotage, sniping and so on.
It’s not as if Deus Ex’s cyberpunk universe is particularly original or clever, at least not in the context of the genre across other media. It’s hard not to empathise with Alan Moore – someone who knows a thing or two about Hollywood mutilating creative works from other mediums – that cinematic corporations continue to labour under the mistaken belief that just because a story is told in another visual medium – be it comic books or video games – it can be effortlessly translated across to the big screen without losing exactly the qualities of expression in its original medium that made it work in the first place.
So please Hollywood, enough of this laziness. Go out and find talented screenwriters and directors that can create original stories designed to take advantage of the unique qualities of cinema itself. Leave video games to be what they’re best at – interactive entertainment.