As part of Gamercamp, Toronto’s Festival celebrating the artistry innovation & the power of play, Toronto Underground Cinema hosted 1UP Films After Dark. The FP by the Brother’s Trost (Brandon – known for cinematography on Crank 2 as well as the forth coming Ghost Rider sequel & Jason – last seen acting/directing Vs. which screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival) was the main centre piece in the film component of the three day event.
There’s no denying video game movies have a reputation for being bad due to their button bashed breeding. From a Dennis Hopper dinosaur in Super Mario Brothers to a Kylie Minogue Cammy cameo in Street Fighter the 90′s tried it’s darnedest to bash some real gold coins out of pixel bricks. While these hands free conversions sit fondly in the memory blocks of my mind, when you dust them off for a modern day outing it’s easy to see where they went wrong – you need more than ↓, ↘, → in your script to make things work.
The FP (the abbreviation Frazier Park – a mountain community in California) takes inspiration from a rather different coin-op lurking in your local arcade. In a similar brain wave to Disney adapting the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in to a motion picture, the Brother’s go for another unusual vessel for their movie. Dance Dance Revolution the tune syncing feet stomper is rechristened Beat Beat Revelation and takes on a far darker use than the bubble gum pop song body rhythm generator. Opening with rivals gangs taking to the machine to battle it out like a stripped down one on one version of Michael Jackson’s Bad music video. Leaders from each district step up, Zangief-esque, L Dubba E with his gold grills, mohawk & mutton chops toe taps against BTRO, sporting a silver starred bandanna & best moon boots since Napoleon Dynamite. When BTRO’s knees buckle & goes gamer over forever his brother JTRO vows never to place a foot back on the neon lit arrows. A year later the JTRO is tracked down reducing trees to logs by family friend & game commentator KCDC. He’s brought back to a changed town where the liquor store is now run by jump suit wearing L Dubba E, with the booze tap in town under his control the residents have taken to hard drugs to pass the day. JTRO sets about winning the girl & the champ title street cred back for his fallen brother. Trained in a secret prohibition underground HQ there are some really hilarious montage sequences as he gets his game back to ultimate combo caliber. The wardrobe is surprisingly important as the ludicrous concept and gang talk is visually punctuated with the most outlandish gems from a thrift store receiving hipster donations via Thunderdome. Over the top and awesome this is how a video game conversion should be.
Which console title would you like to see hit the big screen or movie made playable? While you take a moment to think about it check out what I witnessed on College street over the weekend. Say hello or shoot me a Hadouken on Twitter – @emaninTdot