When it comes to the process of bringing the classic ’80s Bally Midway arcade game Rampage to the big screen, director Brad Peyton knew he needed to get three things right: the giant gorilla, the giant wolf, and the giant lizard (George, Ralph, and Lizzie, respectively). Everything else in the movie was built from the ground up and as Peyton tells IGN in a new interview, one of his main objectives with Rampage is to give audiences something they wouldn’t expect from this kind of movie.
“My ultimate goal of this movie was to genuinely remind you, monsters are scary, but monster movies are meant to be fun,” said Peyton. “With these movies, the challenge is to constantly be unpredictable, and to constantly entertain. And I think the most entertaining stuff is the stuff that, you just cannot see what’s going to come next. So when Dwayne’s like, of course the wolf flies, that’s just a little sprinkling of where these creatures can go and what they can do. We really drilled down on the science.”
Peyton is also aware of the lowly reputation video game movies have and is hoping to avoid what he calls the “video game curse” by applying a back-to-basics approach to Rampage. The director notes that building on Johnson’s star power (the two previously worked together on San Andreas) and constructing a larger story around the core elements of the arcade game will be enough for Rampage to transcend the video game movie label.
“There’s obviously a pressure to deliver on these things and to ground the movie and to deliver on spectacle and all that, but there also aren’t these expectations to what this character’s supposed to be or what this plot is supposed to be. I didn’t know about this quote-unquote ‘video game curse’ until about two weeks after I finished the movie,” Peyton said. “A lot of times, [studios] attempt to adapt games that have massive followings … When you attempt to adapt something that has an incredibly deep plotline or character or something along those lines, you’re beholden to delivering something. And it’s really a difficult challenge because as a gamer, I know, I play as the hero. That’s an immersive medium, and so, it’s really hard to go up against something that pre-exists.”
Of course, most video game adaptations don’t have the built-in star power that comes along with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and Rampage is hoping to challenge the Rock in a new way by having him out of his depth against giant monsters that make even supersized humans look small in comparison.
2018 is gearing up to be a big year for video game adaptations, with Tomb Raider also hoping to break the “video game curse” when it hits theaters this March. Will Rampage be another video game-themed success for Dwayne Johnson after the box office juggernaut Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle? We’ll just have to wait until the film’s April 20th release date to find out.
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