Hollywood is known, and some would say loathed, for the “me too” attitude studios adopt in order to ride the coat tails of money-making trends. When Transformers made a bazillion dollars a few years ago, studios scrambled to secure the rights to every imaginable toy, board game, and absolutely anything that children were interested in during the early 1990s. We now have two Transformers movies, a G.I. Joe movie, we’re getting Candyland and Battleship movies, and of course Ridley Scott’s (I seriously have to do a double take every time I read this) Monopoly. I could go into a lengthy discussion illustrating the differences between giant weapon-wielding robots that transform into jets and tanks and a boring (that’s right, I said it) board game designed to teach children the thrilling world of property management, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume I’m preaching to the choir. Instead I’m here to reveal to you the plot behind this whopper of a bad idea straight from the mouth of story writer Frank Beddor. You really need to follow the jump for this.
Before we get into the meat of the story, there are some things I want you to notice about Beddor’s comments. First, they are written as though he is joking, as though his plot is the satire of an alternate reality in which it’s acceptable to make a movie out of a slow-paced board game that usually ends in frustration or disinterest. Second, the film will be essentially one long pun, incorporating imagery from the board game that Beddor believes (falsely) will elicit fondness and wonderment from audiences. Third, it is Jumanji. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here (in its entirety) is the plot of Ridley Scott’s Monopoly from the L.A. Times Blog:
“I created a comedic, lovable loser who lives in Manhattan and works at a real estate company and he’s not very good at his job but he’s great at playing Monopoly. And the world record for playing is 70 straight days – over 1,600 hours – and he wanted to try to convince his friends to help him break that world record. They think he is crazy. They kid him about this girl and they’re playing the game and there’s this big fight. And he’s holding a Chance card and after they’ve left he says, ‘Damn, I wanted to use that Chance card,’ and he throws it down. He falls asleep and then he wakes up in the morning and he’s holding the Chance card, and he thinks, ‘That’s odd.’”
“He’s all groggy and he goes down to buy some coffee and he reaches into his pocket and all he has is Monopoly money. All this Monopoly money pours out. He’s confused and embarrassed and the girl reaches across the counter and says, ‘That’s OK.’ And she gives him change in Monopoly money. He walks outside and he’s in this very vibrant place, Monopoly City, and he’s just come out of a Chance Shop. As it goes on, he takes on the evil Parker Brothers in the game of Monolopy. He has to defeat them. It tries to incorporate all the iconic imageries — a sports car pulls up, there’s someone on a horse, someone pushing a wheelbarrow — and rich Uncle Pennybags, you’re going to see him as the maître d’ at the restaurant and he’s the buggy driver and the local eccentric and the doorman at the opera. There’s all these sight gags.”
If you read that and at no point expressed disbelief that this is actually real, pat yourself on the back. There’s not one original, fresh, or non-suicide motivating idea in the entire description, and worst of all it made Ridley Scott (still can’t believe it) say, “I must direct this movie”. This is where film making is headed, folks. We’re headed for a world where fantastic auteurs churn out absolute garbage and do so with pride. I hate this movie.