This one comes straight from some fresh circle of corporate-synergy hell: Universal Pictures and Hasbro are teaming up for at least four big-budget feature films about board games. (“At least”!) The first mega-ad is either going to be a Michael Bay-produced popcorn flick about Ouija boards, or a Monopoly movie potentially directed by Ridley Scott. I get that American Gangster‘s Oscars snub probably has Scott in a pretty bad headspace right now, but c’mon!
Oh, and the outrages don’t end there. These people also have the nerve to trash on a bona fide cult classic, and quite likely the only good movie which will ever be adapted from a board game: “Universal and Hasbro said they were unconcerned that a 1985 Cluefilm (starring Tim Curry, pictured) disappointed at the box office. ‘Because Clue was once donebadly, the right way of doing Clue would be fantastic,’ [Universal chairman Marc] Shmugersaid.” Badly? Is Shmuger out of his board-game-playin’ mind?
Besides, the other Hasbro products included in the Universal deal — Candy Land, Battleship, Magic: theGathering, and Stretch Armstrong, which is totally not a board game but whatever — aren’t even very good choices for this abysmal genre. A fleet of war boats getting sunk one by one by incredibly slow trial and error? Snooze. A bunch of sugar-crazed kids trekking back and forth between a computer-generated Gramma Nutt, Mr. Mint, and Plumpy? Pass.
If Hollywood is really dead set on making blockbusters out of board games, the least they could do is explore some other options. Perhaps a war epic based on Risk or Stratego, or a fast-paced chase caper from Sorry!? (Hidden advantage: The name of the movie doubles as an apology for making it.) Then again, I’m obviously biased on this subject. Anyone who doesn’t reflexively hate the idea of a board-game movie want to pitch some better examples of the form? Universal Pictures is listening!