Adapt This Now: Metal Gear Solid

metal-gear-solid

Not every great story has yet been turned into a TV series or movie. Adapt This Now is a series where we highlight some of our favorite tales that Hollywood has yet to adapt — books, comics, videogames, etc. — and suggest that they get on that pronto.

The should-be source material: Hideo Kojima’s 1998 video game masterpiece Metal Gear Solid.

The story in a nutshell: A squad of deadly mercenaries takes over an Alaskan nuclear weapons disposal facility so they can hijack a walking nuclear battle tank. Solid Snake, a highly-skilled soldier and ex-member of an elite military unit, is dragged out of retirement by his former commanding officer so he can stop the terrorists and save the world.

Why Hollywood needs to adapt this ASAP: Because there’s nothing else quite like Metal Gear Solid.

This is my favorite game of all time. I’ve played it through to completion more than a dozen times. I know it backwards and forwards. I had never seen or played anything like it when it first came out. I say all of that because my first reaction when thinking about “Why Hollywood needs to adapt this ASAP” is little more than “BECAUSE I’VE WANTED A MOVIE VERSION FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES!”

In all honesty, though, I really do think Metal Gear Solid is ripe for adaptation. Kojima is unquestionably one of gaming’s auteurs (for better or worse, depending on your opinion of his work), and he’s made some of the biggest steps toward pushing games to feel like movies (again, for better or worse). A lot of Metal Gear Solid is presented via extended, non-interactive cut scenes, so it’s not like this would be a difficult film to visualize how it would look as a cinematic experience, unlike, say Super Mario Bros. or even The Legend of Zelda.

And for all of its gameplay that focuses on sneaking and shooting and hiding in cardboard boxes, Metal Gear Solid is a game that sets out primarily to tell a story … and a human story at that. Ultimately, this is a story that wants to examine the concept of legacy and destiny via genetics. Are we capable of being better than our fathers? Do our genetics determine our path in life? Our choices? Are we more than what our biology programs us to be? Sure, he takes down a giant walking nuclear battle tank and fights henchmen with telekinetic/telepathic powers, but Solid Snake is ultimately just a man struggling to find a reason to seek redemption when he often feels like the only thing he’s good at (or perhaps even capable of) is killing.

Yes, that thematic core often gets vastly overshadowed by the melodrama and over-the-top presentation, but it’s certainly enough for any capable screenwriter to build off and proof that there’s more lurking under the hood of the narrative than just Lee Van Cleef-esque gunslingers and cyborg ninjas. (As if we really needed more than that from a movie, but I digress.)

I think the movie industry is finally ready to make a good videogame movie, and Metal Gear Solid is the perfect game to help make that leap. Now that Hollywood has finally figured out how to make a truly great comic-book adaptation, making videogame movies feels like the natural next step. It helps that MGS feels a lot like a comic book, what with its colorful characters boasting outlandish codenames, powers, origins and skills. Plus that whole walking nuclear battletank thing.

There’s every chance that, should this get made (and there is actual talk of it being made), it’ll turn out like the Resident Evil movies and only peripherally resemble the material it’s based on. But, if done correctly, this could be a truly wild and thoroughly entertaining adaptation. Here’s hoping.

Suggested cast:

Solid Snake — Chris Hemsworth

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Liquid Snake — Chris Hemsworth (spoilers!)

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Meryl — Emma Stone

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Hal “Otacon” Emmerich — Sean Maher

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Col. Roy Campbell — Powers Boothe (even if, or perhaps especially because, he already played this type of role comedically in MacGruber)

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Dr. Naomi Hunter — Rebecca Hall

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Mei Ling — Bingbing Li

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Revolver Ocelot — Jeff Bridges

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Vulcan Raven — Dwayne Johnson

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Sniper Wolf — Famke Janssen

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Psycho Mantis — Doug Jones

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Grey Fox — Scott Adkins

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  • John Keener

    I love this idea. You should write it.

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