Would it Work: A Legend of Zelda Movie?
Posted on Tuesday June 22, 2010, 15:34 by David Scarborough in Infinite Lives
Everything appears to be adaptable in the eyes of the Hollywood executive looking for their next hot property. Be it board games with little metal terriers or dead-eyed theme park attractions - nothing is off limits. It then comes with ample surprise that the silver screen hasn’t firmly squashed video games’ creative mind-grapes to an expensive electronic gloop, yet.
Fanboy debate has extensively professed its yearning for all manner of game adaptations, and The Legend of Zelda franchise ranks highly among many as the pinnacle of pixelated potential. Yet, while we can all get swept away with the grandeur within the confines of 8-bits (and every console leap since 1986), the question rarely gets muttered: would it work?
The Legend of Zelda franchise constantly redefined what epic gameplay meant. Offering a setting that appears to burst at the seams with life, allowing many gamers (some for the first time) to fully explore a living breathing fantasy world at their leisure. It seems none more pertinent today to take a look at a possible game adaptation, following the recent unveiling of the latest entry in the franchise, Skyward Sword, at E3.
While the franchise has undergone the odd cosmetic nip and tuck to keep gamers attracted over the years (the cel-shaded look was a big turn-off for many), few would argue that the series reached its most influential and superlative with the Ocarina of Time on the N64.
Clearly the starting block for any adaptation and the example to use here, it seems logical that this simple fable of a boy discovering his destiny would make for an engaging story. Yet, for many, the story of Link wasn’t just what made this game so beloved.
Hyrule itself was one of the most immersive environments ever set foot in. Comparisons with Middle-earth may be justified, given the scope that this world possessed. It managed to mix a wealth of climates within an area that takes roughly the same amount of time to walk across as a trip down to the local Post Office.
The plains are filled with farmhouses; men embarking on their morning jog; strange merchants and peculiar malevolent witches constantly appear. The landscapes range from lava filled dungeons; huge temples of stone hugged by vines; water based structures, filled with creatures that can only be described as a crossbreed of an over-confident Na’vi with a Xenomorph head; and tall mountains hold house for a group of giant yellow rock-munching hicks. It’s fair to say that Hyrule has its share of startling visuals and eccentric hosts.
While the town and country around flitters abound with personality that many consequent titles have failed to emulate, our hero Link is a trickier prospect altogether. When it comes down to adapting the emerald coated hero, he might not be cut out for the big screen. Regardless of predilection for the different angles the franchise has taken, Link has always been a boy (from around 12 to late teens) who would later become the sword-swinging man we know. Yet, his costume comes off like a camp version of Robin Hood...well a campier version of Robin Hood. With pointy green hat, elf ears and, crucially, the fact that he doesn’t utter a word - like many of Nintendo’s A-Team, Link doesn’t possess much in the way of vocal chords – it hardly marks him for your archetypal protagonist. Clearly, he’s more Legolas than Aragorn. Yet, his simple selflessness and heroics have always remained endearing, making him a fan favourite across the decades.
He remains the main hurdle in any potential movie adaption of the Legend of Zelda series. If you followed him from young Kokiri to mighty Master Sword wielding champion - with a time jump of several years occurring in the game - you’d have a tough time balancing two equally important aspects of the story with a child and an adult actor.
But this could just be the fantastical romp that movie studios need. An adventure tale that has a hero entrusted with a great task (rescue Princess Zelda; restore the Triforce) and saving the world from certain doom courtesy of Ganondorf - that evil hook-nosed ginger meanie.
It has a colourful supporting cast, a huge expansive world and an astonishingly creative collection of creatures - any Del Toro would have a ball adapting this. Frankly, we’re surprised it hasn’t happened already. It has all the hallmarks of a classic fantasy adventure based on one of the defining gaming experiences of all time. And who wouldn’t want to see a superior sequel based on Majora’s Mask? Anyone?
So, tell us what you think. Can the Legend of Zelda be turned into a decent movie, or will it fall down the pit that no game adaptation has managed to successfully jump yet?
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Posted on Tuesday June 22, 2010, 18:41
Be fair, Prince of Persia was surprisingly un-crap.
And I suspect the answer is no, Zelda probably wouldn't work on film, it's always had the more animated fell of the main nintendo franchises, as opposed to a more realistic feel. It might work animated though.
Posted on Thursday June 24, 2010, 00:00
YES!!! A Zelda movie would definitely work! You would have to make Link actually talk but it would be a perfect film trilogy even. The first one should be primarily based on Ocarina of Time.
Posted on Thursday June 24, 2010, 21:41
I have my doubts, but my Zelda fan heart just wants anything moar Zelda. And hey, if it's rubbish I have something to complain about!
Posted on Saturday June 26, 2010, 00:20
Well, Prince of Persia wasn't the best film ever made, but it was certainly a couple of steps in the right direction.
With that in mind, I think there's a strong potential for a 'Dark Crystal' type of story with the Zelda franchise.
Posted on Saturday June 26, 2010, 18:13
As I was referring to any future adaptation, I didn't mention it but I certainly think that it could've made for a subversive '80s Henson-like effort (similar to Dark Crystal, as you pointed out). Brian Blessed for a Goron, I say!
Posted on Monday June 28, 2010, 10:41
Just watched that trailer, even if I have never played Zelda I would definately watch the film!! haha
Posted on Wednesday June 30, 2010, 19:41
I honestly think that the only way it would work well if it was a full CGI film (much like Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children). If it was made in that style I think it would be amazing. I love the Legend of Zelda games, The only reason I keep my Nintendo Wii is because I have all of the games which I can come back to whenever I want.
Posted on Friday July 2, 2010, 15:34
Agree with KMadden, Dark Crystal stylee would be the way to go. Labyrinth, N.E. Story and D.C. were all great films with depth, warmth and magic. With modern film-making techniques, how great could they make Zelda? Did anyone REALLY think LOTR trilogy was gonna be THAT good?
Posted on Thursday August 5, 2010, 07:30
i think it could work and definitely should be based on the Ocarina of time. Its a film, like LOTR, that needs to be set in its own world with its own rules. I think through animation it would work awesomely, but cant help but want to see it in live action, with a highly creative type director i.e. a del torro type.
But ti would take a LOTR investment and effort to make it work, nothing less, or it could turn out like dungeons and dragons.
I can see it as a great movie in my head, as i am sure many others do to, just needs care and imagination to bring it to the screen.
Posted on Thursday August 12, 2010, 15:13
Okay, look guys. There are things you have to understand.
One: If this was turned into a trilogy, one game couldn't fit into one movie. Its not possible. There's way too many things that goes on for that to happen. Think about it. It would have to be a saga of some sort. Think Star Wars. But they would come out each of the following years and be filmed as if it were one film. Think LOTR. Now, with that said, the first trilogy would all be based on one game: Orcarina of time. That game changed a lot to the gaming universe and is too big to just be one movie. You have all the dialogue and trips (which could be shortened) and the dungeons/temples to explore (which can be shortened but not by much) and they were all huge. And the second trilogy would have to be based on Majora's Mask, since it was a direct sequel to Ocarina. Majora's Mask would be the most difficult to put into a trilogy though, because you have to know the perfect points in which to cut it so the fans will come back for part 5 and 6.
Two: There will be things you would have to change in the movie from the game. Yes, Link will have to be able to talk. But if you think about it, Link always talked (HINT: The answers you could choose from on answering a question. DUH.) So, that's out of the question. Another thing is you would have to shoot the trips by shots. You can't film the whole thing because a: that's wasting film and b: it would take up too much time. Sure, each movie would be three hours long, but to see Link riding his horse from destination a to b would take up a little too much time when important dialogue could be put in. Those are two things. I would put more but I'm running out of space.
Three: The length of the films, as I mentioned earlier, would be very long. If you think about it, the people you come across or even just the important people talk A LOT. It takes up a lot of game time. I mean, hours to beat the game is about 30 to 40. You would have to cut out a lot of the small stuff and
Posted on Thursday August 12, 2010, 15:32
really cut the number of times the goddesses of the triforce is told. Plus, you would have to explore each of the dungeons/temples but not in an exaggerated way. Just show enough. That would take about 30 minutes. Make it exciting and build it up to each boss battle, which would last about 5 to 10 minutes. That would be ebough action/suspense/adventure and in between have the dialogue.
With all that said, Ocarina of Time would have to be divided like this:
1st film: Introduce Link and have him fight in the first three dungeons as a kid and end with him pulling out the master sword.
2nd film: Pick up where the 1st film left off and have him go to the Forest, Fire and Water Temples. End with him riding off toward Karkariko Village to meet with Sheik before entering the well as a boy.
3rd film: Pick up with him entering Karkariko and getting attacked by the shadowy force and go through Beneath the Well, Shadow Temple, Spirit Temple as a boy and adult and, of course, going to Ganon's Castle in the end.
4th film: Starts off with him riding in the Lost Woods (like the game) and introduce the new villain, have him go three days and get the Deku Mask and go through Windfall Temple.
5th film: Pick up after Windfall and have him get the Goron's Mask and go through Snowhead Temple, getting the Zora Mask and going through the Great Bay Temple (along with the Fortress).
6th film: Pick up after Great Bay and have him go to Stone Tower Temple then Stone Tower upside down, go back to Clock Tower and get onto the moon, face the four obstacles and, finally, face Majora's Mask.
I believe if everything goes that way, the movies will be perfect. I would have added more to this but, I need a blog so I won't have to keep coming back to add things.
Posted on Thursday August 12, 2010, 17:50
Whoops... I think its supposed to be Woodfall Temple, not Windfall.
Posted on Thursday August 19, 2010, 15:44
[Would it Work: A Legend of Zelda Movie?]
Posted on Thursday August 19, 2010, 17:03
A film based on ocarina of time would just be cheesy and embarressing but to play the game to play it is just brilliant the game is brilliant. I don't want to watch I wan't to play!
Posted on Thursday August 19, 2010, 18:17
No. No, no and no it will not work. Hero rescues princess from evil guy and restores mystical object? Well, it's never been done before...
What fanboys always seem to forget is that studios dont make movies for them, they ALSO make movies for people who have never ever played a Zelda game - they want THEM to see it too. So, all this nonsense about Ocarinas and stone temples is not going to work and will only ostracise people. For it to work you've got to do something totally new and probably start at the very beginning. Even then, unless a highly-skilled writer came on board it's liable to fall down for the same reason that every other game-movie adaptation has (Mortal Kombat was "fun" though), interactivity. Nobody enjoys watching other people play games and so you end up with an experience akin to watching FMV, waiting to have a go yourself.
Posted on Friday August 20, 2010, 14:11
Have any films based on games worked? And, no, I don't mean the films where they take the lead from the game and make a movie around that character. (See Tomb Raider).
Not that the other way around ever works either.
Also, Serolf (comment 11) - honestly, that idea sounds horrible. Sort of like --- er --- watching someone else play a video game.
Posted on Tuesday August 24, 2010, 16:42
New thought; maybe a direct crossover won't work. There's just too much, way too much in Zelda to turn it into a straight movie. So you would have to take the bits you want and them only. This would alienate the fan base (fanboys/girls) but hey, you know what? you think the studio making this are making it for them? If they were, and it pissed most of the fans off (and there are a thousand things that they can piss each and every one of them off with just by not including, or by including wrongly) then they would lose quite a few millions. It really ain't gonna happen I don't think. The only way would be an animated version so the CGI costs needed to do it justice can be circumnavigated. As I said before, Dark Crystal and the like managed to make a wonderful and entrancing movie (or was that just cos I was ickle?) and there's no reason someone can't do the same using a lot of Links' story. Do the first one and see who bites?
Posted on Tuesday August 24, 2010, 16:43
how did they let post17 on here? are they Link-linked items of clothing? Nike Air Links?
Posted on Wednesday August 25, 2010, 02:02
I agree it COULD work but only if it's in the hands of a writer who understands both the world of Hyrule & how to write good dialogue & story. & again the right director.
Animated would be cool, but I think if it was CGI it would remind me too much of the games. A hand-drawn anime would work really well I think - imagine if Miyazaki made a Zelda film?! That could be pretty out there...if he hit the same tone as Princess Mononoke.
Wishings aside, the only way it could ever work (as mentioned above) is to forget about making a direct game-to-film copy. Forget about the need to explore all the different worlds even. & fighting all the bosses. In terms of a film that stuff is just not so relevant. Focus on what forms Link as a character, & the Princess, & build a story around that. There will be elements in all the games that would be worth plundering, but what it really needs is a massive injection of dialogue & story. Not episodes, a STORY, nothing too complicated, just a beginning, middle & end...with the possibility of a sequel I'm sure.
Does anyone remember the Legend of Zelda cartoon series??? I remember enjoying it when I was younger.
Posted on Sunday December 5, 2010, 03:28
I would like to add that there WAS a fan made feature film based on the game Ocarina of Time. As it was amature, the acting wasnt that great, however it is 106mins running and it was shown in cinemas for private showings in big cities around the world, however Nintendo put a stop to that in November 2009 saying that they had to stop showings on the 1st Januarary 2010.
It is not availible anymore for download either, however there are some sites (none that I will name) that still allow you to download the movie. If your interested, try searching for torrents.... (not that i'm promoting piracy).
Posted on Thursday May 12, 2011, 17:08
I would love to see a Zelda movie. I'd like to see ridley scott return to the fantasy genre. His production designs are always amazing. He could make you feel like you were in Hyrule. The key to making it a success is a commitment to its large scale, character focus and solid story. Other than that, they could produce a quality feature length anime.
Posted on Tuesday November 8, 2011, 19:56
For me, the only directors I'd accept doing a Zelda movie are Ridley Scott, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish. Everyone knows that Ridley Scott is one of the masters of fantasy and his version of the Legend of Zelda could either paint an image of high definition sword action with epic sets, or an incredibly gritty and bloody adventure that might go along the same lines as Alien; either way I think he'd make a decent version of it.
Edgar Wright would do it for me mainly because of his work on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (an awesome film). The combination of video game graphics and real-life will be right up his alley and I think that most of us will agree that he'll do a pretty good job about it.
Joe Cornish, despite being on my list, is a bit of a wild card. His film Hannah had well orchestrated fight scenes with a nicely developing understory that melded together with the story line to form a very good ending. This type of film making could either work well for this movie or backfire massively. The underlying humanity could be easily changed to match the films circumstances. For example, they could run a secondary storyline about how Link coped with being thrown into this adveture; might work, might not.
Regardless of which director picks it up, I just hope that it doesn't turn out like Stormbreaker.
Posted on Saturday December 31, 2011, 00:05
I personally like the idea of a Zelda movie. But theres things I would do and wouldn't do that would anger alot of people. I would take a leaf out of the marvel adaption route; loosley based on certain stories but not carbon copies, with Zelda you couldn't do it. So I say create the world a strong, believable fantasy script that is grounded and not too over the top and wacky, it always kills these types of films and make it very focused on the character of Link. A zelda adventure is Link's Adventure first and foremost it is about him, he is the hero he has the experiences that are most affecting. It's this kind of central Link focused story that I'd like to see. Obviously the supporting cast would have to be excellent aswell of course but you'd need to focus on Link, Zelda and Ganon as they're the main 3 people. Link and Zelda need that unconditional love that doesn't have to be pinned down to a romantic thing. It needs to be about Link standing up to this immensley powerful man and defending his friends. I think it could be argued that the main theme behind the legend of zelda is friendship and thats what needs to be highlighted. That kind of make a stand for your friends and protect them. Link is selfless and he is strong. It's that point I would want to see the film makers focus on. Everything after that falls in to place. Giant sweeping plains, vistas, lakes. Huge Castles a beautiful score by Koji Kondo using his classic zelda themes all on the big screen. It could be amazing if the lore of the world of Hyrule is stuck to and the tale is well told you can strip down the film to what it needs. A hero, his querky companion, the princess, the enemy and a reason for the fight to take place and then you just make your hero don a green tunic with a very camp hat, wield master sword and hylian shield into battle against Ganondorf the Evil King!
Posted on Sunday March 25, 2012, 17:50
...possibly. I think you would have to split one game up though in to 2 maybe 3 movies to get the full story and side stories. There is probably loads of scripts out there that are possibly good enough. Giving Link a voice though would be interesting.
Lets say it was done with the Ocarina of Time the first film could be when links just a boy and with Navi introducing her self and all that and the break down of the quest what he has to do and he meets Ganondorf on that dark night at the gates of the castle and end with Zelda leaving him in the temple of time.
Second film 7 years in the future when he is older wiser, the world has gone to sh*t and Zelda is no where to be found so he dose all the quests and necessary steps to find her where she is and the deterioration of the world and his first fight with Ganondorf and end with his escape, Link now understands what he must do to save Zelda
Third film Well the last big quest to save Zelda and end with the happy ending we all want, and maybe! end with a cliff hanger to go to the Majora's mask... maybe!
Just an idea
Posted on Sunday March 25, 2012, 18:05
Maybe write a book first of a really good screen play and see how that goes.
Posted on Tuesday May 15, 2012, 04:39
im 50/50 on it because it has a good storyline but it depends on the game its going to copy or if they're going to come up their own storyline like the mario bros movie witch in my opinion was horrible but zelda has an storyline that they can copy or they come up their own storyline so they can think outside of the box and mix up the timeline even more because mario bros never had a storyline except mario sun shine witch is my favorite in the series but we're not aloud to hear link speak only grunt and scream (thats what she dose) he never talked except in the cartoon so its half & half
Posted on Wednesday May 16, 2012, 09:11
My god, I've been planning this of so long. YES it will work. And I plan to get my ideas where they can be viewed in the future. It would definitely have to be very realistic. I've always hated that they keep making new Zelda games, and keep sucking at it. The zelda story deserves to be realistic, not cartoony. Anyhow, as for story, it shouldn't be based on any of the games, there's too much let down there... No, it should have aspects of games for people to remember and point too, but it should have a new story, as if one is making a new addition to the game series. But i do say we should stay around Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, seeing as they're the two most memorable and lovable games in the series. I even have a whole story of my own planned out. And to be honest, it's driving me crazy that I don't have the means to make this movie right now. I'm up late in bed on this friggin blog thing just cause I can't stop thinking about it... I may or may not have a bit of a problem. haha
Posted on Saturday May 26, 2012, 21:26
hay look at this these guys are making a Legend of Zelda movie!!!
Posted on Saturday August 10, 2013, 04:01
It would be hard to make the movie to what fans, such as myself, would expect, which means expectations would be very high. They’d have to get the right people for the parts not only for their acting but for the looks as well. Plus making it after the game they’d have to make it not to cheesy. But if the right producer made this movie, it would be absolutely amazing. (Note: This is just my opinion.)