The industries of gaming and cinema have been shook by the news that New Line has resorted to a remake of Rampage. Yes, the arcade classic where you could play as either Godzilla, King Kong or a giant Wolfman (although no names were used for obvious copyright reasons) and run around destroying various cities whilst avoiding or eating the army, before destroying some more cities, is coming to a multiplex near you. Not that there’s anything wrong with a game that finds a winning format and sticks to it (eat the pills whilst avoiding or eating the ghosts, rescue the princess whilst avoiding the inedible barrels, etc.), and bashing down building after building can be pretty damn fun, but don’t films sometimes have storylines? Hell, even games do nowadays, although these are often either painfully clichéd or dragged out over hours of gaming at the expense of gameplay.
Rampage’s flimsy premise was that the monsters were originally humans, mutated by an ‘experimental vitamin’. Perhaps the adaptation could be a rekindling of body horror, and the delicate link between psyche and physical body will be probed to new depths that’ll give David Cronenberg the willies? Or provide a profound social commentary on how rejecting our physical others sows disastrous seed of hate? Maybe in revealing the monstrous effects of a government’s attempts to play God the follies of western civilisation will be laid bare?
Of course, a film doesn’t need to adapt a video game to achieve any of this. But is there a certain poetry in cinema reclaiming its monsters? Could the film shrewdly provoke us to consider the convergence of the once separate worlds of gaming and cinema?
Oh the many options available to such a project. I feel bad for assuming it was just an excuse to blow shit up.