Friday, November 17, 2023

More Thoughts on the Zelda Movie

Hyrule Castle in Age of Calamity render sequence

With last week's announcement of a Zelda movie I was left skeptical, probably like many other Zelda fans out there, who would prefer to see something like a Studio Ghibli movie or nothing at all. Now, a video by Zeltik gave me a new perspective on the matter, which turned my stance from a cautiously pessimistic view into a cautiously optimistic one.

It all starts with a tweet by Wes Ball, the director of the upcoming The Legend of Zelda film, which he made back in January 2010. You've probably seen this already, but here is what it states:

Since I could never even hope to have the chance to direct it... the next big mo-cap Avatar-like movie should be... THE LEGEND OF ZELDA.

So, not only was he both passionate and humble about the prospect of a Zelda movie about 14 years ago, he already had a vision for it: extensive use of motion capture.

And this makes a lot of sense, because with all the different tribes in Hyrule, like the Gorons, Zora, or the Rito, you don't want to put actors under silicone masks. Even with larger-than-life characters like Ganondorf you most likely want them to be computer animated.

There is a reason why many Zelda fans, including myself, would have preferred an animated movie, because in a live-action film many things could end up being very uncanny. But Nintendo has chosen a director, who became an expert in using motion capture and computer generated imagery, where we probably can expect the Zelda film to make heavy usage of CGI.

At the same time, by making this based on live-action, it has the chance to become really different from The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which is what you want for Zelda. The original The Legend of Zelda was the anti-thesis to Super Mario Bros. in gameplay and likewise you want the Zelda movie to be a very different experience from the Super Mario movie.

And while an anime production by Studio Ghibli or alike would have been beautiful, it's also a bit more niche and therefore wouldn't have the same impact as a big Hollywood production. This announced live-action Zelda movie, if done right, could become absolutely epic, something that amazes the audiences, like the Lord of the Rings movies once did. It could even fill this gap today, because Nintendo has proven that they don't want modern politics in their productions with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, while they still want all their characters to shine in a way.

As for the actors, it completely depends on the role. For Link and Zelda they really need some young, fresh faces. If you know the actors' names already, then they probably shouldn't be hired, where you certainly don't want Tom Holland and Anya Taylor-Joy to play Link and Zelda, for example. They are simply too established, which can take you out of the immersion, and they probably would be too old anyway. However, with the characters that get entirely motion captured, it probably doesn't matter as much. They could have Dave Bautista play a Goron or whatever...

As for the story, they should just make their own thing and not retell the story of a specific game. Those stories got all developed around gameplay anyway and therefore wouldn't be the best material for a movie. It should cover the basics, like the Triforce and such, but really explore its own interpretation of Hyrule, like every second Zelda game does. This would also keep things fresh for the fans. You should want to explore the movie Hyrule as much as you want to explore a new Hyrule in a new Zelda game. It should be a fresh experience, not a conversion of something that we already have seen.

But I'm already getting too hopeful here, so it's best to wait and see what they are cooking up. In any case, we can look forward to a big year for Zelda when the movie comes out... Just look at this year, it was supposed to be huge for Zelda with the release of Tears of the Kingdom and it certainly was, but Mario has been completely stealing the show after the release of his movie. They are throwing out new Mario games left and right, where the movie has driven sales according to Nintendo. And maybe it will have such a positive impact on Zelda as well (not that this is needed at the moment).


Lauta said...

One Thing that is important: the first scene with Link must show him sleeping.

Raul said...

I think the actors will definitely be Hollywood A-Listers tho i hope I'm wrong. If they went through the trouble of getting very recognizable faces for voice roles of all things...I'd be shocked if that's not the case for live action as well.