Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Candyland: The Movie...Huh?!?!?!?

Okay, I have never, ever gotten the appeal of movies based on video games, though a serious gamer I ran into at a shoot once made a pretty solid argument that watching a good videogame-based movie was like watching a world-class player in action.

But no one will ever convince me that anything good comes of making movies based on board games. Especially a wuss-o-rama game like Candyland. And yet according to Variety, Kevin Lima — who directed the pitch-perfect Enchanted (2007) — is supposed to direct a live-action Candyland from a screenplay by Etan Cohen, who wrote Madagascar 2 and co-wrote Tropic Thunder (both 2008). I mean, seriously: Candyland is the race-around-the-board reduced to its lowest common denominator: You draw colored cards and advance to the next square of that color. No reading. No numbers. No strategy… oh, and no story. So how exactly is this going to make a movie?

I can only think of three previous board-game movies:

Mystery Date (1991): Actually, not based on the game at all — this movie just swiped the title of the 1960s game in which you got ready for a date, but didn't know who your date would turn out to be until you opened a plastic door with a picture behind it. The object of the game was not to be dressed for the prom and draw the guy with the skis. The movie's plot: Shy boy goes on date that spirals woildly out of control.

Dungeons & Dragons (2000): This hardly counts either, since the essence of D&D is role-playing, but there is a board version that was designed a s a kind of beginner's introduction. That said, the movie is just a faux-medieval fantasy adventure; its only real distinction is that gamers hated it as much as non-gamers. Which brings us to…

Clue (1985): The venerable mystery game — you know, who killed Colonel Miustard in the drawing room with the candlestickl? — was transformed into a camp comedy, but the movie did at least maintain a solid connection to the source. Much reviled despite a stellar comic cast that included Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Tim Curry and Madeline Kahn.

So there you have it, and I can't say it bodes well for Candyland.

What's your take, and did I miss any other board-game movies?


TroutAngler said...

I love the movie clue but I agree on the others they were awful.

achyfakey said...

I saw Clue in the theater. It wasn't particularly good, but it's at least endearing. It fun to catch it on TV, but I am not clamoring for a Criterion DVD edtion.

I'm hoping for Sorry!: The Movie...

donajo said...

Since when is Clue much reviled? I always thought it was a cult hit. I know more than one person who can quote the whole movie by heart. I have another group of friends who performed it as a play in college. I love it. It's one of the very few movies that I own.

Andy G. said...

Well, Candyland does sort of have a story. It's not really imperative to the game, but IIRC from my countless hours playing with kids as a counselor, you're trying to rescue the King and Queen and encounter a bunch of magical creatures along the way. The game even comes with a whole set-up story thing in the box which gives a little bit of detail on all the characters you encounter along the way. Still probably not gonna make a good movie, though.

And I did enjoy clue . . . it's harmless fun, and some great performances!

achyfakey said...


Clue was very much reviled when originally released. It was critically panned and didn't earn very much box office dough (less than $15 million I think).

But it made a comeback once it hit video and TV syndication. It's rep grew over time, and it gained the much higher reputation that is has now with many more people.

R M said...

There is one filmmaker who could do it:
Tetsuya Nakashima, director of Kamikaze Girls and my currently favorite film of all time Memories of Matsuko. Both films have bits that seem to be set in Camdyland.

I am still aching to see his newest film, Paco and the Magical Picture Book.

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Emma said...

That's a good review. But the balance between positive and negative is forcing me towards the idea of watching it out on television rather than buying a DVD of this movie.
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