How would you adapt Mass Effect into a movie?

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Reverend, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    And thank goodness this thread isn't about "what's likely to happen" for a Mass Effect movie. Also, what's wrong with Salarians?
     
  2. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IF the film gets made, it won't be Bioware doing the making. They're a game developer, not a movie studio. The writers & producers of the games are likely to have only as much input into the movie as Legendary feel inclined to allow them. That's assuming they'll have any real input at all.

    No, it's about how one might go about adapting the first Mass Effect game into a film, possibly with the assumption that game 2 & 3 will be similarly adapted. A topic to which you have so far contributed nothing constructive.
     
  3. Angel4576

    Angel4576 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Legendary have already stated that the movie will feature a male Shepard, with the plot being adapted from the first game.
     
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I would make six different versions of the movie, three with a male shepard, three with a female shepard, one each pure renegade, one each pure paragon, and one each be more than a little ambiguous. This wouldn't be as hard to do as you'd think; under normal circumstances, your editors would only use the best takes from each scene to put the movie together in the editing room. In this case, you film the exact same scene at the exact same time with the male AND female lead and have the editors take the best takes from each version of the scene. Paragon Shepards would spare the Rachni, sacrifice Ashley, sleep with Kaiden (Liara for the male), argue Saren into killing himself, and rescue the Council. Renegade Shepards would kill the Rachni, sacrifice Kaiden, sleep with Ashley (or Liara for the female), talk Saren into lowering his guard so Garrus could snipe him to death, and tell the council "Fuck you, shoulda listened to me when I warned you" as the Geth board the Destiny Ascension and rip them to shreds. Middle-ground Shepards would spare the rachni, sacrifice whichever squad member they were more likely to sleep with (and therefore get no play at all in this movie), argue Saren into killing himself, and then tell the fleet to focus on Sovereign while sending one last message to the council saying "Forgive me, councilors, but the whole galaxy is at stake here!"

    Then I would do everything possible to make sure that you couldn't actually know which version of the movie you were going to see when you went to the theaters, and make sure that absolutely nobody has any idea that the film is actually put together in multiple versions.

    Then I would gleefully watch critics and moviegoers totally loose their shit as they begin to realize what's going on.:p
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  5. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Fascinating. So what you really want is some sort interactive medium where the viewer can choose their protagonist and guide their decisions? Like, oh, say, a video game? I think you misunderstand the meaning of the word "adaptation." ;)
     
  6. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The thing is that the movie doesn't need to go too deep down the Mass Effect rabbit-hole, just like the Star Wars text intro didn't impart too much information about that universe. The evil Empire is building a weapon capable of destroying planets, the freedom loving rebels are trying to stop them, that's all we knew when the action began. Everything else, including major elements of the Star Wars universe such as the Force and the Jedi, were handled as exposition. And the detailed stuff was left for the Expanded Universe.

    The audience doesn't need to know about the ruins on Mars, or the First Contact War, or how the Council functions. All they really need to know is that galactic civilisation is based on the technology of of a race called the Proteans that disappeared 50,000 years ago. Then the movie is free to move on to Shepard killing evil robots.


    I think the Cipher could probably be skipped, it's only real purpose was to hold up the story and that's not necessary in a 2-hour movie. Shepard's special affinity for the Protheans can instead come from the beacon on Eden Prime. The purpose for Saren going after the Rachni Queen is the same as in the game, to uncover the location of the Mu relay.

    I think the death of Ashley Alenko, the escape of Saren, and the refusal of Council support is enough of a trough in the story. Maybe Shepard is initially willing to acquiesce to the Council's order to return to the Citadel because he doesn't want to risk his crew in facing Sovereign alone. But the crew stand united in their willingness to sacrifice their lives to stop Sovereign, and that gives Shepard renewed hope, or some such pablum.


    As an aside, I had a dream last night that Steven Colbert did a sketch where he dressed up as an Asari. Just thought I'd spread that mental image around.
     
  7. Camren

    Camren Commodore Commodore

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    I would prefer a TV series. But a good movie can be made based on the first game. Hell you could probably make a trilogy out of the first game alone.

    I haven't given much thought to the structure, I'll read the OP a little later, but the main plot of the original game is pretty darn perfect as it is, I don't see the need for major revisions. There's always going to be quibbles about whether it would be right to have Shepard as the main character because Shep is defined by the players and the actions they take as the protagonist. But if it were up to me, I'd have a male paragon Shep. How many 'renegade' characters ever play the main hero? Not often, so Shep in this game would be a good guy but will take tough action where necessary. The plot would follow that of the game. Maybe have some more background to Shep included. I wouldn't omit any of the main characters. I would include them all but give most of the screen time to a select few. So my Kirk and Spock would be Shepard and Liara. They can hook up as well as Liara would be my Shep's preferred romantic interest although to be honest, I wouldn't place a huge amount of emphasis on the romance side. I think it's overplayed by the fans and won't work too well in a stand-alone movie. A proper romance can develop over a trilogy (e.g. Han and Leia), not squeezed into one movie.

    What I wouldn't want to see is a faithfully adapted movie based on ME3. Seeing the Star Brat on the silver screen and his bullshit explanation of the Reapers would piss me right off.
     
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No.

    It would be a science fiction movie that you could go to see six different times and have a slightly different experience every time. Much like players who go back for a second or third playthrough multiple times because they wonder "What would happen if I...?"

    You can't have viewers controlling the decisions of characters in a movie, that just doesn't work. However, you CAN replicate the end result: that you can experience the events of Mass Effect a thousand different ways, that even if you've seen the movie before you can't be totally sure you know what's going to happen because you don't necessarily know which version you're seeing, or even if you do, the last time you went you saw the paragon version and you don't know what to expect from the renegade.

    Like the game, the experience of the movie would be a film that you can't see just once. I might even be a real dick about it and fix it so that the DVD release only puts a single version on each disk so that you actually have to buy six different DVDs to get every single version.:devil:

    FYI, filmmakers have been doing stuff like this -- albeit on a much smaller scale -- for years. For example "Clue" actually has three different endings that were totally randomized in the theatrical release, so even if you'd seen the movie already you could go to the theater a week later and be totally surprised who the killer actually was. I'm basically proposing the same thing, but doing it for the entire movie, not just the ending.
     
  9. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The thing with Star Wars was that it was a very archetypal morality play with black and white definitions of good and evil. Plus the imagery was deeply iconic, tapping into cultural memes on a lot of different levels. So not really any need for background because it was largely irrelevant.

    Mass Effect has a lot more shades of grey (or red & blue? ;) ) Plus, as I said you don't want to burden the characters with too much exposition and you especially don't want the audience asking questions like "what's that bird looking alien thing?", "What are protheans?" and "what the hell is the mass effect anyhow?" when they should be getting drawn into the story and getting to know that characters.

    While, as I said something like the LotR prologue would be a bit too much, it is a good example of how to explain and set-up a fantasy world with a very complex history without really going into that much detail at all. 'Serenity' is another good example. The 'Verse was pretty quickly and clearly sketched out including the Alliance, the War of Unification and even the reavers. Simon & River and the antagonist were introduced, the tone was set and the stage set all in a matter of minutes.

    Conversely, to give an example of how to do it wrong: 'The Golden Compass'. Having not read the books (nor I might add had I read LotR before seeing the film) I was totally lost for at least the first 20 minutes. No idea what was going on, what this energy they kept talking about was and why everyone had rodents chasing after them everywhere.

    The other thing about a prologue is that it should do more than dump exposition, it should set the tone for the whole film. With LotR is was all huge epic fantasy stuff with elves and orcs and a bit tall bloke with a super-mace before the film could wind it all back and spend the first 40 minutes of the film proper in Hobbiton. With Hellboy you got the sense that dark & mysterious in a pulpy kind of way, paranormal yet oddly grounded and somewhat quirky. All the Indiana Jones and Bond films had similar openings that weren't so much about explaining the who-what-where-why as setting the tone and getting things off to an exciting start so again, they could wind it back and take the time to build the actual plot of the film.

    Starting it off with the Mars discovery--and I'm only talking like 5 or 6 shots and 3 minutes of screen time with little if any dialogue--should get across that sense of wonder and grandeur that you won't really get again until the Citadel reveal (at least 20-30 minutes in) and near the end on Ilos. You really don't want the film to start with Shepard being briefed by Anderson and Nihlus.

    Yeah, I suppose the vision could gradually sort itself out over the course of the film, as if it were actively rewriting his cognitive pathways (I say as if I even know what that means!) so his brain can make sense of the transmission.

    I just don't think it'd be sufficient. Just ignoring orders to return to base--which in the game Shepard is more than willing because he's led to believe the fleet is mobilising to confront Saren--seems way too cheep. Loosing Ashlenko would be a blow, but it wouldn't leave Shepard and a low ebb. No I think he needs to have his ship taken from him, forcing him to take it back and risk everything. It's the all or nothing gamble. He hasn't just ignored an order, he's risked not only his life, career but that of those around him.

    More the the point, Shepard's whole crew (plus Anderson) have willingly gone along with it because they believe in Shepard. When you get right down to it, the characteristic that most defines Shepard (*any* Shepard) is leadership. The ability to inspire others to do more than they thought they could. This is the point when that faith is truly tested.

    Plus, just calling Normandy and telling them they've been grounded would make Udina and the council look *really* stupid. Not the nominal level of tunnel vision stupidity they already display, but full on pants-on-head, pencils up their nostrils retardedness. In the game Udina is canny enough to wait until the Normandy is back and Shepard ashore before mentioning that the ship is in lockdown. He wouldn't have done that unless he knew full well how Shep would have reacted.
     
  10. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I happen to be starting another playthrough of ME1 right now (FemShep Sentinel, should be fun!) and I really think the opening is perfect as-is. Brief text scrawl, flying out through the solar system towards the Charon relay as Joker narrates and we follow Shepard from behind to the bridge, the jump, banter with Nihlus/Joker/Alenko, quick conversations with Presley, Jenkins and Chakwas, and then the briefing then drop onto Eden Prime.

    First-time players of the game didn't know anything about the universe either or what the titular Mass Effect was, and that wasn't a problem in terms of the gradual intro.

    I think Ashley Alenko's death and Saren's escape would be a suitably low ebb if you play up Shep's relationship with her from the beginning, right from the opening bridge scene as a best friend and longtime companion even.
     
  11. Reverend

    Reverend Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The intro works fine for a game because it's immersive. But directly translate that onto the screen and you have a series of exposition dump conversations that have little to nothing to do with the plot. You just can't do it that way and expect the audience to keep up (see:'Golden Compass'.)

    Also keep in mind that the game slowly immerses you in the word, drip feeding background information here and there and even provides a whole codex of information for further details. A movie doesn't have the luxury of time to do it that way (nor of course is the codex an option. ;) )

    Actually, let's take a look for ourselves: -
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sEBa5DOriY[/yt]

    So we go from an out of context conversation about Shepard, to a text crawl, to a nice building musically supported crescendo showing off the Normandy and out main character which, to be fair you probably just spent upwards of 5 minutes creating (not so if this were a movie.)

    Next, after Nihlus's introduction it's established that he's not part of the crew but an observer from something called the council. There is implicit distrust regarding this arrangement. Then we get a conversation about how mysterious our assignment is. Spectres are mentioned twice.

    After a brief audio only introduction to Anderson, we're told to meet him down in the comm room. What follows are two optional conversations (I actually had a hard time finding a video clip that actually includes them!) that tells us about Turians, the First Contact War, Spectres, Normandy's function as a stealth ship, Spectres, some vague background about Anderson, more paranoia about the mission, Spectres, the council, Spectres, Shepard's background, Spectres, C-Sec, Spectres, Spectres, Spec--seriously, you could make a drinking game out of how often Spectres are mention in the first 10 minutes!

    So yeah, we haven't even gotten to the comm room yet and already we're half way up to speed on the ME universe. Speaking of which, our conversation with first Nihlus then Anderson covers Eden Prime, humanity's rapid expansion, the fact their newcomers to the galaxy and the true nature of our mission (that mystery lasted all of 3 minutes!) Then things really ramp up and we're told about protheans their technology & sudden mysterious extinction, mass relays, the citadel, the beacon, the Mars archive, the attican traverse, the terminus systems...oh and hey, spectres! ;)

    Cut to plot twist #1 and our first glimpse of a reaper then we're off to Eden Prime....

    Now don't get me wrong, it's a good intro that sets the tone very well and introduces the main character as well as Joker & Alenko, capturing their nascent personalities quite well. However, half it's purpose is to intoduce the player to the conversation wheel and movement controls (BTW, I really wish ME3 had done this.) As and interactive experience a game player is more inclined to go at their own pace as they get to grips with everything around them. Try doing this in a movie and all you'll get is a bunch of talking heads and a very bored audience.
     
  12. Infern0

    Infern0 Captain Captain

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    Agree 100%.

    Mass Effect is an example of video games SURPASSING cinema, in my humble opinion.

    Any movie version of it would just make me want to go play the game instead of watching an on rails, live version of it
     
  13. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well when it comes to fitting the plot of the first game into a movie this was a nice breakdown of it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8UQWoiT8QM

    And as for Mass Effect 2

    I vote for keeping the surviving characters from the previous game seeing as their going to be back in next film anyway and adding any necessary new characters from Mass Effect 2.
     
  14. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's been said about ME2, but I think it's true of the whole trilogy. If there has to be an adaptation, I think the pacing is better suited for the small screen.
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    More likely an animated series. Even for a TV series, the special effects budget needed to make the thing even halfway watchable would be a daunting proposition at best.
     
  16. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hire all the 24 writers and tell them they have to write a scifi.