CBS Films' announcement that it had hired Sinister director Scott Derrickson to direct a feature adaptation of the Deus Ex: Human Revolution video game is exciting news. Human Revolution was one of the greatest games of 2011. It's a supreme science-fiction thriller and ideal movie fodder that features a highly adaptable cybernetically augmented protagonist named Adam Jensen who may be the ultimate action hero. But this is much more than a movie announcement. It could be the dawn of a new age in video-game movies.
Yes, this will be CBS Films first attempt at a video-game movie and Derrickson's previous sci-fi/horror credits are the much-maligned 2008 remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still and Hellraiser: Inferno, the first film in that franchise to go straight to video. But, hey, even though I'm Irish and don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I do prefer to look at the bright side. So here are five reasons to be thankful Human Revolution is being adapted for the big screen.
1. Amazing Settings
The dystopian world of Human Revolution makes Blade Runner look like Disneyland: A dying Detroit shot through with the shining towers of the cybernetics industry (a perfect metaphor for cyborg augmentation itself); the incredible twin-level city of Hengsha, the world-altering Arctic environmental station of Panchaea. Each location could support a movie (and three concept art books).
2. The Tension of Transhumanity
The central theme and conflict of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is Adam Jensen’s ambivalence about his augmentation. His most famous line is “I didn’t ask for this,” when waking up every morning to face the mirror he broke in horror at his own appearance. But hey, since there's no turning back, he makes the most of his technological gifts, becoming a super-cyborg assassin who exacts revenge against the murderous evildoers who altered his body and kidnapped his girlfriend. (The most exciting parts of the game are unlocking and choosing new implanted abilities.) And frankly, it’s hard to empathize with Jensen's nano-angst since his flesh has been replaced with bulletproof skin and the ability to pose so hard it kills all enemies in a ten meter radius. It's called the Typhoon defense system, and it's the most lethal Tim Tebow touchdown celebration in history.
3. A Well-Developed Story
For a long time games didn’t have plots, they had excuses for mass-murder. Even when there was a narrative beyond “Press X to fire” it was written in fairly broad strokes, because that’s the only kind of stroke you can make with tanks and flamethrowers. This is why a lot of video-game movies haven't worked. The writers didn't know how to turn their sparse plot lines into features.
But Deus Ex: Human Revolution features a fully realized world. In addition to the primary plot, which has enough twists and turns to easily propel a tentpole picture, there are a number of fully fleshed backstories to be found in the dozens of optional e-mails and hidden reports that players can discover over the course of the game. Never mind the global intrigue and the murderous cybernetics company — at one point in the game you can uncover the petty machinations of your bigoted cyborg-hating apartment manager.
- Arts & Entertainment