For years, fans of Nintendo’s beloved game franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Star Fox have longed for film adaptations. Nintendo’s knack for storytelling, creating likable characters, and building fantastical worlds filled with adventure and intrigue seems like a natural fit for cinematic adaptations. But that longing was always depicted as being for naught since the folks who run the Japanese gaming giant have been adamant about not wanting to surrender control of their characters to outsiders like Hollywood directors, writers, and producers.
You might notice I didn’t mention Nintendo’s most notable character up there: Super Mario. Well, that’s because he serves as a prime example of exactly why Nintendo has been so guarded with its properties in the last 20 years. Back in 1993, Nintendo allowed Hollywood to dabble with its most cherished mascot and the results were disastrous. Super Mario Bros. didn’t make back its budget, and it was ravaged by critics. While the film’s stars- Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper- all came out in the years that followed to describe what a mistake that film was, Mario creator and Nintendo ambassador Shigeru Miyamoto took a more diplomatic approach to describing what he thought was wrong with the film.
Miyamoto once told Edge Magazine that “[In] the end, it was a very fun project that they put a lot of effort into. The one thing that I still have some regrets about is that the movie may have tried to get a little too close to what the Mario Bros. video games were. And in that sense, it became a movie that was about a video game, rather than being an entertaining movie in and of itself.”
Unsurprisingly, Nintendo put any and all talk of future adaptations of their properties on ice from that point on. But now here are, in 2015, and it looks like Miyamoto is thawing on the idea of bringing its characters to the big screen.
Miyamoto sat down with Fortune Magazine recently, and had this to say on the matter:
“Weâ€™ve had, over the years, a number of people who have come to us and said ‘Why donâ€™t we make a movie togetherâ€”or we make a movie and you make a game and weâ€™ll release them at the same time?'” Miyamoto said. “Iâ€™ve always felt video games, being an interactive medium, and movies, being a passive medium, mean the two are quite different.”
But he then added this tantalizing tidbit:
“As we look more broadly at what is Nintendoâ€™s role as an entertainment company, weâ€™re starting to think more and more about how movies can fit in with thatâ€”and weâ€™ll potentially be looking at things like movies in the future.”
For years, folks have dreamt of a Legend of Zelda film done on the scale of Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings trilogy, or a Metroid film that could send them on an intergalactic sci-fi adventure. One would have to think that Nintendo would demand a large amount of creative control, based on their track record of being very protective of their properties and the fact that they were burned by Mario Bros, but it’s now not beyond the realm of possibility that these things could happen.
Which possibility excites you the most? Which Nintendo franchise do you think is most deserving a proper film adaptation? Does the thought of a Zelda film send you into a frenzy? Or an animated Super Mario Bros feature? Or do you think the Big N’s games should just stay in their original medium and not risk tarnishing their legacies? Discuss.