FEATURE: Where’s Our ‘Metroid’ Film?
Imagine sitting in a darkened auditorium, nervously munching on popcorn as discordant notes play. At any moment, those on the screen are under threat by aliens and space pirates that could be lurking anywhere. Luckily, the main heroine has a suit, skills and science on her side. Why hasn’t Samus been portrayed on the big screen? Doesn’t she deserve her own film?
Nintendo hasn’t allowed any live action films based off their properties since the epic failure of their first release, Super Mario Bros., in 1993. Even with the tremendous success of their animated Pokemon films earning over half a billion dollars worldwide, no rumors of a live action film have ever been seen. However, in 2003, Nintendo did enter into a three year development period with director John Woo for a Metroid film. Still traumatized by their earlier failure, Nintendo insisted on being heavily involved in the production process to protect their property. The partnership fell through when Woo wanted to explore Samus’ background and personality. Nintendo had never determined any of that and refused to let an outsider come up with it. Since then, the Metroid Prime trilogy filled in many of the gaps and added more complexities to the story.
Many of the most successful live action franchises based off video games star women. The seven films of Resident Evil have made over 900 million dollars. The two Tomb Raider films, with Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, made almost half a billion and a new reboot is expected in the next few years. Samus would fit right in.
Metroid deals with aliens, space pirates and intrigue. These are all subjects that have been making a killing at the box office the past couple of years between The Martian, Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy and others. Plus, there’s the constant state of Star Wars frenzy that Disney is working to keep everyone in.
Samus was the original female heroine in video games. Nearly thirty years ago, females only existed as background decoration, a variant player or someone to be rescued. Samus was simply an alien killing suit until the credits rolled and revealed that inside the suit was a buxom blonde. The suit wasn’t even designed to hug her breasts as most female armor is depicted. It’s a great message to show that Samus is prized for her ability at her job first and her looks are simply a bonus.
For the 30th anniversary of Metroid, Nintendo will be releasing Metroid Prime: Federation Force for their new Nintendo NX system. It will be backwards compatible with every Nintendo device ever made as well as your phone and tablet. Nintendo has a lot to lose since earlier this year, it posted its first profit in four years. It also made a deal with Universal Studios for theme park attractions. However, the lessons from Disney and the Halo franchise show that expanding your properties to film and/or episodes help keep them relevant between updates or new releases.
At this point, the question shouldn’t be whether the world needs a live action Metroid movie but which genre should it be; thriller, horror, a mix of the two or something else entirely?