Reason 1: "The Characters"
It’s been a few years now, can we admit that the characters in the original Borderlands are shiit. When the first Borderlands came out, it’s clear that our four player characters were not intended to be fleshed out people but rather quip spewing machines that were taking advantage of the incredibly cheap ammo monopoly on the planet. They were simple, and they worked in their own way, but you would not consider them characters unless you would also bestow the same title upon parking ticket machines with frowny faces drawn on them.
That all changed in borderlands 2; despite having four entirely new main characters we couldn’t possibly just forget about their predecessors, so now they’re back with all new personalities. I say personality with inverted commas about 6 times bigger than the actual word here. Let’s go over each character’s
Roland is boring. He’s spectacularly boring. He’s fantastically boring. He’s as plain as the dirty eggshell colour swatch at Homebase, code B5207. He’s the one next to beige and slightly more popular than the Tuscan Sunset. Roland is a nice guy and as we all know, nice guys finish last, this was apparently true because Roland was the first of the four to get killed. Roland’s death was the same guttural impact as the trauma of realising that there’s a chip in your dirty eggshell paint on the living room wall.
Lilith reminds me of Spiderman 3 a little, she either shows that gearbox are brilliantly aware of Lilith’s character, or are insulting our intelligence more than the average Michael Bay film. Lilith is either supposed to be a dorky, hipster chick who’s trying too hard, or gearbox actually thinks that the phrase “Holy Badass” is anything other than offensively stupid.
Mordecai is an alcoholic Mexican stereotype, just guess what his preferred drink is… you guessed right, It’s lead based paint, because he apparently forgets the gender of his own bird.
Brick is a man named Brick, do I really have to say more?
So here are our four leads, one of them is reminiscent of emo Peter, another is a dead bro walking and the other two are as simplistic as video game characters get, it’s not looking great for the leads of our film if they sound like something out of 40s comic book.
I’m not saying there aren’t ways to make these characters interesting, maybe make Roland more relatable, give him and Lilith a bit of chemistry rather than… nothing at all. Make Lilith more of a comic relief, or maybe even a sad character, trying to be appreciated for more than her body and her powers but being completely and utterly inept at it. Mordecai can have a traumatic experience about a particularly embarrassing dinner party with the vicar or some crap, give him some context for his drinking problem. Brick can say ■■■■ and smile like the funny tree man from Protectors of the Planets or whatever that movie was called.
Some changes might add a bit of depth to these stereotypes and they’d help out the movie a lot. Here’s the crux of the matter though; Borderlands was not meant to have strong characters. Borderlands is a comedy game, and although I find that more laughable than any of the actual jokes, it’s obvious that gearbox did not want serious characters around this brand of humour. Let’s think of a few ways the Borderlands series tries to be funny:
- Weird, zany NPCs
- People exploding
- A company who names all of their guns out of euphemisms for dicks
- Insane enemies who spout weird, inane crap
- pop culture references
- Completely evolutionary nonviable wildlife
- Wacky sound effects
- And drunk, Mexican stereotypes
You think an actual fleshed out character would look anything but entirely tonally awkward put against this environment? You see the problem isn’t with these characters, it’s with the game that produced them. The fact is that these characters are designed like this because anything else would be entirely contradictory to the tone of the game; these characters work in a game, they will not work in a movie. A game has gameplay, which in most circumstances can excuse a shittily written story. A movie has to draw you in through characters and atmosphere while a game will have you invested for the simple reason that you are playing as the main character. You’re particularly rooting for a character to survive if you also happen to be controlling that character and their death also results in yours.
I could go on for hours, analysing all the characters in the game, but you get the point, Borderlands characters are ■■■■■■ and are designed that way for a reason.
So far, to make a good movie, we’d have to add depth to the characters and try to do it in a way that doesn’t contradict their surroundings overall tone.
Reason 2 "16 Bazillion Guns"
We’re all aware of the sheer variety of weapons that exists in Borderlands, consisting of 7 or 8 different manufacturers that each have about 4 different types of gun (pistols, launchers, SMGs etc…). The main variety comes here with the vast possible variants of weapon parts and accessories, each of which changing the gun slightly. You could call the sheer variety of different weapons a major selling feature of the series; unfortunately this translates about as well to a film as Chinese instruction manuals translate to English.
Have you ever been watching an action movie and thought that this mind numbing gunfight would be severely improved by the hero opening up his inventory and fiddling with his bloody weapon setup, making sure he’s wearing the best headband for bonus intimidation and switching his shoes for the +2 boots of bollock kicking?
The simple fact is that RPGs don’t want to be made into films; they just aren’t built that way. RPGs rely on the player having choice while films are an inherently non-interactive form of media, this sounds as fun as going round one of your dick friends’ house to play video games only to have them play the whole time and you get to “help” i.e. watch him piss about with his new dog tag sockets that give the best bonus to cheesy one liners.
This means that they’re going to have to reduce one of the most iconic boasts of the games into a hamfisted wink to the audience, if they include it at all.
Now I’m one of the believers that you can make a good movie out of anything, but the question we have to raise is whether a good movie can be made out of Borderlands while still keeping true to the name of the game. That question can be answered in a single word:
Jesus Christ son of God no
So we’d have to change the genre of the game and eschew it’s most unique selling point.
Reason 3: "Cell Shaded"
Borderlands is cell shaded, now I don’t know entirely what that means because I’m a stupid ■■■■ who writes off movies before they’ve even come out…
But that’s beside the point.
The point is the Borderlands games look like… Borderlands, it’s a pretty iconic art style that usually tends to make pretty scenery.
Unfortunately this is going to be a live action movie.
If you think it isn’t then you’re horribly naive.
“This ain’t no dumb kids Pixar movie, this is an R rated action blockbuster, we don’t make no ■■■■■■■ stupid kids movies out of cartoons here, we make proper movies for adults. Nobody wants to watch stupid dumb kids animated movies, no one above the age of 8 anyway. We don’t make no stupid ■■■■ kid movies, this isn’t ■■■■■■■ Frozen or any of that ■■■■■■■ crap, we make movies for real people. Adults are the ones with the money here.”
Obviously no one actually said that, but it’s what they were all thinking.
So it’s going to be live action.
Just look at the scenery in borderlands; it’s entirely alien and only looks good because it’s well done and deliberately separated from reality. I can just imagine all of this now, the animals are going to either be fake looking CGI or they’re going to be stilted, awkward looking animatronics. The environments are going to consist of deserts and possibly tundra sections, which they’re either going to shoot in real environments , which would cost a lot of money and would require some effort, or they’re just going to put up the greenscreen and add it all in post production. I know which my money’s on…
So it’s going to look nothing like Borderlands, maybe I can live with that (just for the fact that I can be sure I don’t have to look at Shade’s terrifying smile any more)
Reason 4: "Mad Mox: Dangerous Highway"
I hear a lot of people saying “If they go the whole Mad Max route, it could be good”
It makes me think, wasn’t Fury Road a great movie? Apparently the people at Lionsgate think so, because they obviously want to emulate a bit of Mad Max’s resounding success. That’s when they run into a problem:
“Won’t a movie that looks like Mad Max coming out a few years after Fury Road look like a ripoff cashgrab?”
To which the marketing department replied:
“Not if we say it’s based off an already existing series that’s been around for a few years. We can choose one with an already pretty large fanbase so we can get more people to see it. Maybe a video game, I hear video games are popular with the youngsters right now, a game with a lot of pop culture references so we can maybe cash in on the scary movie demographic .”
The two executives ask their 14 year old brothers what’s hip and happening in video games right now
The movie instantly gets put into development.
It’s all well and good saying the movie could be good if they make it like Fury Road, but that completely ignores why Fury Road was good at all. Mad Max and Borderlands have completely different tones. The original Mad Max involves a scene where a baby and it’s mother get brutally run down by motorbikes, the same scene in Borderlands would be accompanied by a comical squashing sound and have a quip from the villain about how the mother’s skull popped. They’re two completely different things, stop equating them like it makes sense because Mad Max looks a bit like Borderlands and Mad Max was actually good.
Ever notice how in Fury Road, the main characters never actually comment on how all of the villains looked like inbred monsters? Do you really think anything with the lack of restraint of the Borderlands series wouldn’t say some sort of stupid ■■■■■■■ one liner about how “White Darth Vader needs to go to the dentist”
You’d have to entirely change the tone of Borderlands to take the Mad Max route, at that point it stops being Borderlands. I keep repeating this point, but it raises a question: If you need to change virtually everything about a series to make an adaptation of it, why are you bothering in the first place?
It’s money isn’t it…