Dead Island the movie, another Resident Evil?
Dead Island looks like the next videogame to make it to a film, and with some urgency too. Lionsgate leapt after the rights when the trailer for the game was released online, the trailer which you can also see right here, not just because of the stylish trailer but because of the hype that the it received once it was released.
However I'm not so convinced by the trailer. For a videogame I am, but for a film I'm not. I can't see how this is really going to be any different from any other zombie film so far. Sure an introductory, non-game play trailer has lots of people talking, but that doesn't make a film.
The story for Dead Island is simple; a family on holiday on a paradise island are suddenly fighting off the un-dead. You can see the trailer that has caused all the fuss right here and it will no doubt engage you as much as it has everyone else, and me for that matter.
The trailer, which Deadline directed me to, is fantastic; I don't think any of us can deny it. Emotionally stirring, well put together with the contrasting score, the different timeframes playing out to a crucial, central point in the story. It's very cinematically done.
However that's the three minute trailer, and what does it tell us about a potential film? Family are holidaying on an island that is overrun by zombies. Some of the family die, the lead character has to fight to on for survival and team up with other characters.
Then there's the other trailers I've seen, and while the game does look gorgeous, it's just Resident Evil in another setting. There are different mutations of zombies that get bigger and stronger (levels and bosses) and you use everything you can to stay alive, I can't see what the big difference is that really got the studio thinking there was a film in here, or even a franchise opportunity.
Oh, the sales. That and the fact that it isn't that far removed from Resident Evil, and look how that's done for itself. Here's why Lionsgate went after it, from the Dead Island blog:
...the wrenching trailer captured worldwide fan attention and unanimous critical praise upon its debut, receiving over one million hits in its first 24 hours online, and nearly 10 million views by two days after its debut. Wired Magazine, College Humor and G4TV all called it the best video game trailer of all time, with G4TV adding "The Dead Island trailer is the best trailer I have ever seen in my life. The best video game trailer. The best movie trailer. The best anything trailer." The trailer went on to win the Golden Lion in Cannes at the International Festival of Creativity, the advertising industry's highest honor, and it was featured by Adweek on their annual list of the World's Best Commercials.
Now that's a sale. Meanwhile the videogame studio are being as clever as Hollywood:
In addition to the award-winning trailer and video game, the Dead Island intellectual property will be simultaneously developed by Deep Silver into forthcoming graphic novels, novels and other extensions.
A book is already being written and the first twenty five pages are online for reading, but this isn't going to be the inspiration for the film, according to the blog it will be the trailer:
Like the trailer that will serve as its primary creative inspiration, the film Dead Island will be an innovation of the zombie genre because of its focus on human emotion, family ties and non-linear storytelling. Said Drake of the property's acquisition, "Like the hundreds of journalists and millions of fans who were so passionate and vocal about the Dead Island trailer, we too were awestruck...This is exactly the type of property we're looking to adapt at Lionsgate - it's sophisticated, edgy, and a true elevation of a genre that we know and love. It also has built in brand recognition around the world, and franchise potential."
So it's a story about a family fighting for survival through a zombie outbreak on a holiday island and not all of them make it. I'm still waiting for the hook, perhaps it's the non-linear part, or the fact that it's on a holiday resort, perhaps that's it. Fantasy Zombie Island.
No, I'm not sold. The game looks great and I think the graphic novels will build a better story around it, but from the game trailer alone I'm confused as to what a film of it will bring that we haven't had yet.
Three producers are on board so far, Sean Daniel, Stefan Sonnenfeld and Sarah Perlman. Daniel is credited with producing The Mummy and Tombstone, both of which were produced well, but don't be taking any creative inspiration from them and applying it to Dead Island the film, for the writer and director are yet to be found and they will decide what Dead Island the film becomes.