Borderlands is a pretty fun video game, and could make for a fairly decent movie since it has a flashy setting and doesn’t take itself too seriously. For those unfamiliar with Gearbox’s games, they take place on a planet called Pandora, which holds a powerful alien vault that holds untold power for those who can discover it. This story then grows into a rebellion tale where you join up with a group of ragtag outsiders to take down Smilin’ Jack and the evil Hyperion Corporation. All of it takes place within a post-apocalyptic style, futuristic Western, and it’s definitely worth your time (and you’ll dump a lot of time into this game trying to complete all the missions).
Lionsgate hopes that fun will translate to the big screen, and according to Variety the studio has picked up the property to develop a film adaptation. That would be great news except Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad are the producers behind it. For those who don’t know, Avi Arad is who you can thank for driving the Spider-Man franchise into the ground. But maybe he’ll figure it out with Borderlands.
Lionsgate, for its part, is at least saying the right things. In a joint statement, Co-Chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger said, “The ‘Borderlands’ games don’t pull any punches, and we’ll make the movie with the same in-your-face attitude that has made the series a blockbuster mega-franchise.”
But the games are very Rated-R, and I assume Lionsgate are closely eyeing Mad Max: Fury Road to see how to capture that same kind of R-rated, bonkers blockbuster success (Borderlands owes a very big debt to the Mad Max movies). The studio also needs a new franchise since Hunger Games wraps up this year, and Borderlands is a name that might earn fans curiosity.
If Borderlands moves forward, hopefully they capture the same sense of irreverent comedy that makes the first one more than just a standard FPS. They don’t need to copy the plot or even the characters, but the “rebels versus an evil corporation” is a good story mold, and then they just need to include darkly comic characters and not be afraid to go wacky. Homogenization will be the death of a movie like this, and the more stylized and humorous they can make it, the better it will be. If it’s just another post-apocalyptic action flick, you can add it to the heap of failed video game adaptation.