Oh geez. I really didn’t want to do this... but with a slew of new announcements hitting this week, I feel like I have to. Folks, there’s going to be a Borderlands movie, and I am deeply unexcited about it.
Don’t get me wrong--I love Borderlands! The looter-shooter series is an excellent blend of fast gunplay and RPG mechanics, and it’s fantastic to play with friends. Let’s be honest, though: it’s not turning a lot of heads in the plot department. And that’s fine! It doesn’t have to! It wants to be a fun multiplayer shooter, and it is. A somewhat lackluster storyline doesn’t detract from that. Strip away the gameplay aspect and turn it into a movie, though, and... well, that might be a bit of a problem.
You know what, though? Maybe I’m being unfair. After all, Borderlands 2 had a strong story, right? Yeah! Handsome Jack was a memorable villain, it was full of snappy, funny dialogue, and it built on the setting’s lore in interesting ways. Maybe there’s enough story there for a movie after all. And even if not, it could at least make for a fun, mindless action film, especially with the right person directing. Let’s see who’s attached...
Eli Roth. Eli Roth, huh? Eli Roth? He’s directing this. The Hostelguy. Eli “torture porn” Roth. I... hm. That’s an interesting pick! When I think “wacky action-comedy” my mind does not immediately fly to the dude who made Cabin Fever. Now, admittedly, he also made The House With A Clock in Its Walls,which--to my understanding--did not feature the grisly maiming and murder of its leads. So that’s good! A step in the right direction! But I do think the fact that “cannibalistic Psychos” are a common enemy type in the Borderlands franchise probably warrants consideration when you’re handing the project off to the guy who made The Green Inferno.Okay, not a lot of faith in the direction--but what about the cast? Who will be playing the beloved characters of this popular franchise?
Wait, that can’t be right. Am I seeing... Kevin Hart as Roland? I’m not overly familiar with Mr. Hart’s work, I’ll admit, but that seems like an, uh, interesting choice. From what I’ve seen of him, Hart seems like a very energetic, comedic actor, which is not the direction I’d have gone for Roland, who is largely the straight man for the original crew of Vault Hunters. To be clear, I don’t have anything against Hart--I’ve enjoyed the roles I’ve seen him in--I just don’t think a character like Roland necessarily plays to his strengths.
Cate Blanchett as Lilith is... fine. I like Blanchett well enough. I don’t think she’d have been my first pick, but I’m sure she’ll do okay.
Alright, now, this one irks me: Jack Black as Claptrap. Why? Again, I’m not trying to call Black’s talent as an actor into question; he certainly has the chops for the role. But... Claptrap already has a voice! He has two voices, in fact! Were David Eddings and Jim Foronda both passed over for this? It’s going to be a CGI robot on screen regardless! Why not just, you know, use the guy who already voices him?
Looks like there’s only one more major cast announcement so far. Surely it can’t be as bad as the others. I’ll just take a quick peek and--
Oh no. No. You have to be kidding me.
Jamie Lee Curtis as Patricia Tannis.
I don’t even know what to say about this one. This is one of my favorite actresses, but she’s all wrong for Tannis! More than that, though, I kind of just don’t want her to be involved in what sounds, so far, like a trainwreck of a movie.
We’ve still got a few characters that have yet to be cast--in particular, Mordecai and Brick. I guess all we can do now is cross our fingers and hope they turn out better.
More articles and reviews by Ethan McIntyre can be found at rollwithit.blog.