Hollywood’s Need for Speed

Hollywood just can’t stay away from the world of video games. Yesterday the first official trailer for Need for Speed hit the internet. The movie is an adaptation of EA’s racing franchise and stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul in the lead role. While a behind-the-scenes look was shown at this year’s E3, I don’t ever consider a movie official until a trailer has been released. Now that a Need for Speed movie is official, and set to release on March 14, 2014, it’s become the topic of debate among gamers.

This is far from Hollywood’s first attempt to bring video games to the big screen, however this is the first major video game movie since 2010’s Prince of Persia. (Not counting last year’s Resident Evil: Retribution). With the Ratchet and Clank movie still two years away, and an Assassin’s Creed movie still in negotiation, Need for Speed will be the first video-game-film in four years (again, not counting the Resident Evil films). With Aaron Paul behind the wheel, this film (much like Prince of Persia) has the best chance of being the first decent video-game-movie.

The trailer itself, while being just over 90 seconds long, features plenty of car chases, explosions and dramatic moments. It prominently features a silver and blue mustang (which may or may not be a callback to the BMW from Most Wanted). The biggest flaw is that the trailer takes itself way too seriously (leading some viewers to dub it “The Fast and the Serious”). It’s too early to tell if the movie will focus more on car chases, or on an actual story. Hopefully the action-story ratio will favour the former, after all Need for Speed is not a franchise known for its plot. The trailer indicates that the film will likely draw more from recent installments like Most Wanted than from older games such as Need for Speed: Underground. This is a good thing as street-racing definitely narrows a film’s potential. Unavoidably, Need for Speed will invite a lot of comparisons to the Fast and the Furious movies.

Please hold all of your Jesse Pinkman jokes. Photo by: Jorge Figueroa

The movie has potential, mostly because it has less hurdles to overcome than other video-game adaptations. The biggest issue with just about every video-game movie is that it has to stick to the source material or risk alienating fans of the video games. It’s difficult to imagine how a Need for Speed movie could run into this problem. The only thing required out of a Need for Speed movie is fancy cars, racing, and cop chases; all of which are in the trailer. Given the vague nature of the source material, the movie will be easier to market than other adaptations (just consider the success of the Fast and the Furious franchise).

Finally, if there’s one thing to be hopeful for it’s Aaron Paul. Fresh off of the massive success of Breaking Bad, his casting alone is sure to draw in an audience. While it’s unlikely win him any Oscars, given Paul’s Emmy winning performances on Breaking Bad it’s highly likely that he will carry the movie. The biggest concern is the film has a budget of $75 million (small by today’s standards), which is less than half of Prince of Persia’s budget. While money isn’t everything (look no further than John Carter) with an action movie like this, there’s a fear that with a limited budget will result in limited action. There’s plenty of hope for this film to succeed even on a smaller budget, but it’s one thing to be aware of.

When Need for Speed races into theatres next year, it will end a four-year absence (still not counting Resident Evil). Regardless of how well or poorly the film does in the box office, for better or for worse audiences won’t have to wait another four years for a video game movie.


About Sam Hale

Autistic, young adult and lots on my mind.

Posted on September 26, 2013, in News and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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