Here's how producer Larry Kasanoff broke it to Empire magazine: "The story we conceived is so big. This isn’t us splitting the last one of our eight movies in two to wring blood out of the stone. It’s just a big story. We want the story to be a surprise, but it’s a big science-fiction movie.
"We’re not going to have blocks with feet running around the movie, but it’s great that people think so. It sets the bar rather low! I came up with the idea as I was thinking about Tetris and the theme of creating order out of chaos."
He concluded: "I guarantee you it’s not what you think.”
Kasanoff might be familiar to some of you as the producer of the Mortal Kombat: Conquest TV series, and as the director of straight-to-DVD animated epic Foodfight!...
Frankly, it doesn't matter how good an idea Larry Kasanoff has come up with. It still begs the question: why did he have to come up with it at all? What sort of misguided lunacy thinks a science fiction move based upon Tetris - an abstract puzzle game, with - at most - a vague Soviet aesthetic, is the way to go?
Doing a film about the creation of Tetris I get. Everyone's got a story, and I dare say you could eke out a three-act structure from the life of Alexey Pajitnov. He grew up in the USSR, then moved to the States when his game became an international hit.
Pajitnov was a scientist who loved puzzles. He never planned for Tetris to become the phenomenon it did, as "The First Game From Behind The Iron Curtain". It was just something he did for fun - and got left behind as his game became mired in one of the most complex legal battles ever fought in the history of the games industry.
Find the order out of chaos through-line in that.
I'm slightly annoyed with myself that I have an immediate gut reaction to the news of Tetris being a sci-fi trilogy - that I am, essentially, damning the movie before it even gets released, or made. But I suppose what irritates me is not the idea as such, but the thinking behind it. I just don't get it.
I mean, there are plenty of games - admittedly not all of them with the weight carried by the Tetris brand - which would make better movies. And why a sci-fi movie?! Why a trilogy? It just smacks of an executive using something wholly inappropriate to scratch an itch. Like somebody swatting at a flea bite with an original copy of the Magna Carta.
I think what really bugs me is not merely the sheer lunacy of thinking something like Tetris could be an epic trilogy, or the ill-considered thought that goes into planning it as a trilogy before the first one even comes out, or the attempt to inappropriately appropriate something so beloved for what feels like such a misguided end.
No. It's more the fact that it seems to demonstrate such wholly blinkered, narrow thinking.
Because Tetris is a video game, of course it has to be a sci-fi movie. Even though there was nothing about the game itself which suggested science-fiction.
It feels representative of how much those outside of gaming don't get it. How we are still, somehow, in our own walled-off paddock. Even though Tetris - out of all the games in the history of gaming - might have the biggest crossover potential. Even my mother played Tetris. Yet I'm pretty certain she's never watched a sci-fi movie in her life. It feels like it's dragging gaming - once again - back to that place it has always struggled to escape from, a place where it's viewed with suspicion by Them. The Not-Us-es.
Tetris is, potentially, the least geeky game ever - and yet its big screen debut (if it gets made, that is - this is Hollywood we're talking about) is going to be treated in a geeky way. There's a brilliant, clever, inspiring, life-affirming Tetris movie to be made... but I'm pretty sure it's not a three-part sci-fi epic.
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