Monopoly, Action Man and… Hungry Hungry Hippos?!
Monopoly was all set to become the latest board-game to receive the film treatment a few years ago, with Ridley Scott of all people set to direct for Universal. The Monopoly film never materialised, however, presumably with the production going straight to jail, but it seems that now the property might have landed on a favourable chance-card and earned a reprieve.
Small indie production company Emmett/Furla Films have made a deal with board-game titans Hasbro to adapt several of their properties to the big screen. Monopoly, being arguably the biggest – or at least best known – board-game in the world is of course getting the silver-screen treatment, but joining Mr Monopoly (or Rich Uncle Pennybags, if you’re a traditionalist) will be Action Man (the greatest hero of them all!) and – bafflingly – Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Now, Monopoly could work as a film. We’re not sure how, but there’s plenty of scope for a story about somebody buying up an entire city, biting off more than he chew, etc. Plenty of opportunity for comment on the recent financial crises, and it could easily be played straight or light-hearted. Action Man, of course, lends itself easily to film. Quite what it has to seperate it from the GI Joe franchise, we’re not sure – especially given that Action Man himself began life as a licensed copy of the GI Joe figures. Still, action films are action films. We’re sure they’ll manage.
Then there’s that other one. Quite how a Hungry Hungry Hippos film could work is beyond us. Calling it a board-game isn’t really fair to board-games, given that there is zero skill or thought involved. It’s literally just power-mashing a small lever until your thumbs bleed. Some sort of animation about a family of starving hippos adventuring across the Serengeti for a new food source? Perhaps. Or perhaps the hippos are metaphorical, and the film will be a comment on our consumerist culture and our insatiable desire for more? Or perhaps it’ll be the animation thing.
We’re not against board-games becoming films – after Battleship, anything is possible – but some of these sound limited in their potential. With the right minds behind them, it’s entirely possible they could all work, but to stop them being cheap cash-ins, or derivative copies, Hasbro and Emmett/Furla Films are going to really need to work at it.