Friday, 3 July 2015

What can we expect from a Monopoly film?

Hasbro's continues to push into the cinema industry and has made yet another advance, as it looks like production on their Monopoly film with be starting this year. Ridley Scott has left the project however, and Andrew Niccol, who wrote The Truman Show and Gattaca, has come in to write the script. The Guardian had shared some plot points, saying “a boy from Baltic Avenue [Whitechapel Road in the UK version] who uses both Chance and Community in a quest to make his fortune, taking him on a fun, adventure-filled journey”.

I won't deny the awesomeness that was The Lego Movie. That film wrote itself, as the nature of Lego is to mould your own worlds. Monopoly, however, though a great game, has its limitations when it comes to adaption. For a start, the game is very location-centric, which it great for franchise tie-ins and tourist resorts trying to cash in on souvenirs, but as the movie is going to be based on the US version, some of the places may mean nothing to people outside of America. Although this would be inevitable through any adaption of Monopoly's many varieties, it will be interesting to see how they will work around this.

Then there's the whole point of the game. It is a game about screwing over other people so that you can become the richest and win. "Chance" may come into the game occasionally, but it is a shrewd game that thoroughly spits on the idea of "community" (although the aim of the game originally is to show how bad a economic monopoly is). In a post-credit crunch world, where the greed of capitalism is unsavoury to some, and where whole countries are struggling to stay afloat, will people really want a film that is blatantly about greed? Of course, you know they'll change the premise of the film, it'll be about social mobility, chasing the "American Dream", and not forgetting the people who have helped you along the way. This will be the most contentious issue for me, because you'll be changing the nature of the game. Do people really want to be told that what's most desirable is to be the richest? Will it turn into the Entourage of board game movies?

The only other thing I'm wondering is if they'll get the tone of the game right. In my experience, Monopoly was wasted on me as a child - my siblings and I couldn't be bothered to build houses and would often steal money from the bank to pay the rent. In fact, I've played it more as an adult, and I've found it to be an aggressive and argumentative game that can go on for hours. While I'm not expecting a six hour long epic detailing the rise and fall of a mortgage lender, it would be weird to see at least one version of the game without at least one person begging to trade their properties for rent money.

In short, expect a young lad winning first prize in a beauty contest and bribing his way out of jail.

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