The secrets of the cancelled Secret of Monkey Island movie

Originally published at: The secrets of the cancelled Secret of Monkey Island movie | Boing Boing


Probably for the best, the 90s were not a good time for movies adapted from video games. I mean sure, it could’ve made money but be an actually good movie? I got doubts.


Actually glad it didn’t happen given what was written there.

Looks like it’d be a trainwreck equal to the disaster of the The Watch mangling of Terry Practhett’s work


Count me among those who are glad it wasn’t made into a movie. Forget the idiotic ideas like replacing Guybrush with a monkey as the protagonist, it just wouldn’t be the same without the gameplay elements (the dueling system remains one of the most innovative, elegant and satisfying mechanics I’ve ever seen).


Also half the fun was how it was a parody of the contemporary sierra online style games of the time. I’m not sure how that would carry over to another medium. That doesn’t necessarily mean you couldn’t have made a good movie out of the story but it would have lost a lot of context.


I agree with one comment on the linked article:

I still feel like a Monkey Island movie can be made.

Sure. Once the Pirates franchise is dead and buried, there may be appetite for B-grade pirate film production with C-list actors. Not too high a budget, and a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

This is the way.


I absolutely don’t understand the attitude (which seemed especially strong at the time) of “Hey, look at this great thing that everybody loves! Let’s make a movie of it by changing everything until it’s no longer even recognizable!” I’d argue that the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is largely because, while they made a few changes, they didn’t veer wildly away from the source material by, say, making Iron Man a robot actually made from iron, or Captain America a late 1970s motorcyclist with a shield made of plastic.


It’s just the old studio development proces, which is a mix of “how do we cut the productions budget” and “how do we make this more appealing for ‘the kids’” and “how do we cave to A-list directors and stars to get them on-board” and “let’s give the production suits the feeling like they’re creative geniuses”.

These days, studios like Marvel and Disney who already own successful IP know better than to mess with it too much. They can commit a bigger budget, they can try to appeal to wider audience than teenagers, and the studio execs know the value of the characters and universes as-is. The problems generally occur when a director like George Lucas or Zack Snyder s given carte blanche to “re-work” and “re-imagine” beloved media franchises or when an old-line studio buys a property and tries to jam it into a 2-hour feature (see the new and likely doomed Buck Rogers concept, example).

That’s not an argument for not taking risks, of course. You can do plenty of innovative things with an existing franchise.


Speaking of Spielberg mangling cartoons, what ever happened to the Tintin franchise?

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Yah, this is a really key point. The game was very much of its time and context. As a movie it would just be “pirate theme” and bear zero resemblance to the game because nothing in the game works as humor in a movie in 2021. It was basically satire of early adventure games themselves.

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Say what you will but the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise still holds the record for “greatest number of watchable movies based on an amusement park ride.”

(That record is “one.” One watchable movie.)


“Look behind you! A three-headed monkey!”
“My name is Guybrush, actually.”

Even his name wouldn’t work because it’s got the word guy in it, which itself was taken from the name of his sprite guy.brush from Deluxe Paint on the AMiGA. There’s so many references to video game lore you’d have to be a gamer to get some of it. With gaming culture being a much bigger and more widespread thing these days it might actually be a better time.

If it was made now as an animated movie and the voice cast from the game series recalled, doing in reverse what the Arkham franchise did by getting Batman TAS voice cast back to play the characters, you might have a better chance of making something true to the spirit of the original franchise. Assuming the script was sharp enough to carry it all. And you might have to recast Earl Boen as he’s quite advanced in years at this point and LeChuck is not an easy character to play.


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