Metal Gear Solid The Movie: What Could Have Been

Metal
Gear Solid The Movie: What Could Have Been
By

Louis Bedigian

Are we
missing out on what could have been the greatest video game movie ever made?

If you’ve
never heard Hideo Kojima say that he wanted to be a film director, you’d know it
just by playing his games. Each Metal Gear Solid title is like a movie come to
life. Kojima loves storytelling – he loves playing with camera angles and
lighting and all the things that filmmakers love to tinker with.

 
Solid
Snake is ready for his close-up.

When the
Metal Gear Solid movie was announced three years ago, it seemed that he would
finally get to put those talents to use on the big screen. Though nothing was
set in stone, it was presumed that Kojima would serve as executive producer.
Consequently, he wouldn’t get the hands-on control he had with his prized game
franchise, but he most certainly would have had a say in some of the film’s key
elements.

Sadly, the
world may never know the results of this big-screen endeavor, as recent reports
have indicated that the project has been shelved. 

Now we’re
all left to wonder: what could have come from a movie based on a game that plays
like a movie?

 
Who
wouldn’t love to see this thing in IMAX!?

Bar
Officially Raised

Kojima
doesn’t mess around; with each PlayStation, he raised the bar on in-game
cinematics, voice-overs, facial expressions, and virtual acting. The
cinematography of Metal Gear Solid 4 – including the impeccable editing,
movie-worthy camera angles, and the way each scene was lit and color corrected
to gritty perfection – is unlike anything else out there. All this from a game
that arrived only 10 years after the original.

Now stop and
think for a minute: what might happen if you were to give the man behind these
games an actual film camera? Or even an HD or digital camera like the RED?
Kojima would have fewer boundaries because, let’s face it, as gorgeous as our
current video games are, they’re still a few decades away from matching real
humans. He wouldn’t merely be capable of breaking new ground with video-game
flicks – he could have potentially changed the face of moviemaking as we know
it.

Death
Becomes Them

Metal Gear
Solid was the first action game to bring us a story where no one was sacred. Any
character could be evil, and any character could be killed. Though my
assumptions about Meryl proved to be false (in 1998 was I convinced her death
ending would be the one MGS would follow in future iterations), it’s doubtful
that her – or anyone else’s – safety would have been guaranteed on the big
screen. Even if Kojima chose to go back to the beginning, I can’t imagine a guy
like him – someone who loves to shake things up – would keep everything we know
about the series intact. There would be at least one major revelation, no
question. And if the story did extend beyond the video-game’s timeline, you can
be certain that more characters would perish – perhaps even Solid Snake himself.

 
Star
Wars: Clone Wars has nothing on these guys
.

Trailer
Fun for Everyone

One of the
cool things about Metal Gear Solid is that, in addition to offering dozens of
scenarios that could support the big-budget action-packed trailers that every
film studio demands, the series is unique enough – and has a large enough fan
base – to support a side campaign made specifically for the fans. In other
words, all the inside jokes and crazy antics that Kojima is known for including
in his game trailers could have been used to promote the film.

An Ending
with a Twist

However the
Metal Gear Solid film would have ended, you can bet it would have included some
kind of twist, if only in the form of a voice-over that immediately followed the
credits. Just think of all the subtle plot twists and/or sequel hints that could
have been thrown into the last little bits of dialogue. It would have been
amazing.

Given how
much Kojima loves to shift things around (making us believe one thing before
revealing the truth), I hope that if the film reports aren’t exaggerated that
they can at least be overturned. There would be many challenges for any studio
willing to take on this project. I could only predict the nightmare that the
director – even if it was Kojima himself – would go through, trying hard to
balance the game world with the non-interactive restrictions of cinema. Even an
experienced director like Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Batman
Begins
, Memento) would have his hands full.

 

But if
filmmakers would dig a little deeper, they’d see that Metal Gear Solid isn’t
merely a video game – it isn’t just another cash cow. The story may be a tad
convoluted (if not incomprehensible) at times, but the characters are excellent
and the villains are top-notch. At a time when every comic book is getting
turned into a movie, it’d be a real shame for Metal Gear Solid to get lost in
the shuffle.