What Happened to John Woo's Metroid Movie?

A match made in heaven or development hell?

For decades, Hollywood producers have hunted down the IP mines to accommodate this groundbreaking video game, barely noticing the proper canary swarm. The 2000s, in particular, were the graveyard of once-promising franchises, including some of the most recognizable titles such as Doom and Silent Hill, and who could forget Uwe Ball's terrifying reign? Once upon a time, the notorious director had ties to just about every game, from Metal Gear Solid to Warcraft. For a while, it was rumored (denied by Boll) that his idea for Nintendo's flagship Metroid included Jessica Simpson. With that prospect in mind, a wild choice suddenly seemed logical: John Woo's Metroid. This was almost realistic in the mid-2000s, but failed before the cameras started rolling (slow motion, with pigeons). Would John Woo play an interstellar bounty hunter better than Pantheon of Boll? Yes, but it's a long way from "better" to "good".

What Is 'Metroid' About?

Theoretically, Metroid should stick to the film format like Metroid. The original NES game premiered the same year as the movie Alien, and the franchise has long drawn inspiration from the revered sci-fi horror franchise. title "Metroid" refers not to the main character, the robot Samus Allan, but to a parasitic alien who grabs unsuspecting victims like a face-hugger. One of the villains is named Ridley, named after Alien director Ridley Scott. Finally, and most importantly, that robot Samus - so players thought back in 1986 - took off his helmet to reveal a woman! Inspired by Ellen Ripley, Samus was one of the first playable women in the game and remains an icon to this day. However, as Metroid components cross over to these Western roots, themselves grounded in the sci-fi tradition, the franchise takes on a bizarre pallor that becomes increasingly difficult to adapt. Metroids may be floating alien parasites, but in cosmic terms the word "Metroid" means "ultimate warrior" and was designated by an intelligent bird-like alien called Chozo, in her home world by space The dragon raised Samus after its destruction. A space dragon named Ridley.

This sounds like something the writers left out in the rejected Star Trek spec script. Worse, it might not even be true. For nearly forty years, any account of Metroid's story has been pieced together from a variety of conflicting sources. Where canonicity doesn't unify games, comics, and instruction manuals, each piece is created by someone who necessarily prioritizes gameplay. And "man" is specific in this case, because if men know how to write about women, why is Samus a silent protagonist? Why, were fans shocked when she started speaking in the game Metroid: Other M? Was Samus really raised by birds? Is she a taciturn 6-foot-3 fighter like in the original game, or a submissive, whining waif like Other M? How is Woo supposed to take all of this and turn it into something coherent, let alone good?

The History of John Woo's 'Metroid'

In 2004, he picked up the rights to the Metroid film, and mildly assessed his situation, saying, "We're very lucky that there's so much material to draw on for this movie, because there are so many iterations Game over the years." That's an understatement, and Woo is a director responsible for some of the most overblown movies in history. Long before The Matrix and John Wick, the legendary Hong Kong filmmaker behind Hitman and Ruthless gave the world a flair for guns. Ironically, his video game journey started at Sega, This helped him form Tiger Hill Productions in 2003. While their 2007 game Stranglehold featured John Woo's name and Chow Yun-fat's beauty, the director quit the game two years earlier, resulting in the cancellation of nearly a dozen games, including the John Carpenter game And some kind of ninja MMO.

With no one at the helm, producer Brad Foxhoven succeeded Tiger Hill as president, but Stranglehold took precedence over the Metroid films. Rights expired in 2007, and three years of development went into the vault. Foxhoven told the story in an interview with IGN that the understandable disappointment in his recollections didn't match the unfortunate film he seemed to be working on. It's certainly a good time to capitalize on the success of Metroid, which made a comeback in the early 2000s with Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion, and there seems to be more to come. To write the script, Tiger Hill hired David Greenwalt, a Whedonverse alumnus who played Buffy and Angel. The thinking at the time was that a character like Samus needed a writer with experience writing strong women, and apparently there wasn't a writer with experience writing strong women.

The Challenges of Adapting 'Metroid'

The problem did not start with any individual vision, rather than complications arising from battling an ill-defined Metroid universe. What would dialogue sound like for a character who spends most of his time alone? What motivated this so-called bounty hunter (a mistranslated job title still exists)? Is it money? Tiger Hill asked these questions, and it was the first time Nintendo was hearing them. What works in the game doesn't necessarily work in the movie, and vice versa. This is also Hollywood, where blockbusters are built on a single, stale template that writers and audiences internalize, commissioning certain creative avenues that may be inappropriate, unpopular, or downright illegal. Describing his attitude toward Samus, Foxhoven told IGN, "We want to see her struggle, her humility, the difficulty of being forced to rise up against the madness." . There was a similar insecurity about the geeky things about the comic book adaptations that plagued the era. Granted, all action heroes should strive, but what if Metroid wasn't just an action movie? What if the drama of Samus's xenocide journey could be conveyed in ways other than backstory and humility, all of which never had a place in the game itself? John Wick is good at drawing the audience into the heat of an action scene despite the indestructible protagonist, something John Woo practically invented! (By tapping into an even older Chinese filmmaking tradition).

If John Woo had directed the Metroid script described by Foxhoven, it might have looked a bit like Appleseed: Ex Machina, an animated film that sees a blond soldier in the future kick a slide and shoot a gun. The cyberpunk Samus, Deunan Knute, is often influenced by Hollywood screenwriter clichés when it comes to film adaptations, but the Woo-crafted moves in Ex Machina are stylish and bombastic. It's actually close to the acrobatics Samus achieved in later games like Metroid Fear, which elevated the already beefy alien killer into a goddess of the battlefield. She runs along Kraid's belly, dodges his spikes, parries giant insects, and lands in anime-like action poses.

What Would John Woo's Metroid Have Looked Like?

Metroid Fear, released in 2021, did a lot to unify the scattered universe, turning the Birdmen into a warlike, megalomaniac clan, and even indoctrinating The title is profound. Not all Metroid games feature Metroid, and this is just one of many examples of how a story-thin game designed in the 80s limited everything that came after. The events of Horror saw Samus, through constant contact and even infection, continually spread into her alien environment, taking on the properties of a parasite - in effect, turning herself into a Metroid. This isn't another story about a space warrior seeking revenge for the scourge of her home world. It's about a woman who hunts aliens by trade and has to admit she's an alien. She's been an alien, genetically closer to birds than humans, and thus eerily silent. Her only friend in the galaxy? Baby Metroid. It may have taken 40 years, but there's finally an entry into the Metroid saga, and it's pretty remarkable.

It's no longer foolish to believe that an adaptation might take Dread's shiny developments and combine them with Prime's visuals and Super's classic soundscape. After all, the miners made a fortune with Castlevania — the other half of Metroid — and Nintendo went back to filmmaking afterward. Long, mushroom-like absences. Unfortunately, while Hollywood has grown more comfortable with deep veins that geeks love, it's also alienated older directors, who retreat to prestige TV. Metroid is already a long shot in the movies and will never be the next HBO flagship after The Last of Us. In fact, Nintendo is emulating the Marvel/Star Wars approach with the Super Mario Bros. movies, making both directorial debuts. However, the popular explanation is that early-career filmmakers are more likely to be pushed over by producers in favor of a meta-franchise direction. John Woo would make a John Woo movie and, frankly, Uwe Ball would make a Uwe Ball movie. It's more likely today that a well-known Metroid movie will be made, or even be successful, but there's no guarantee it'll be human.

Next Post Previous Post
No Comment
Add Comment
comment url