That's right, the Gears of War movie is going back to the drawing board. The game's designer, Cliff Bleszinski, said the aim was to have the feature film version "more like District 9".
Meaning? Meaning they probably aren't going to try to make a US$100 million epic, but something on the cheap side of the fence.
Cheap isn't bad! Here are five more films besides District 9 that the movie's producer might want to keep in mind.
• A Better Tomorrow II:
At its heart, Gears of War is about a group of dudes scrounging around in the dirt, shooting guns and trying to stay alive. It doesn't have to be realistic, but make it real and gritty. Give them guns and put them in the dirt — not on some motion capture sound stage. Slow-motion and fake blood go a long way.
If a guy wearing an alien suit worked in Predator — a movie Gears draws inspiration from — then it'll work in the big screen version of Gears of War. No CGI Locust! Men in suits with puppet faces, please.
The Gears script the previous filmmaker was working from apparently was like something out of disaster flick 2012. Large scale isn't necessary! Large scale is expensive. Try to keep things confined, intimate and claustrophobic. You know, like Aliens — another movie Gears draws from.
• El Mariachi:
Filmed for around US$7,000 on the cheap, El Mariachi was the debut of director Robert Rodriguez. The $7,000 pricetag is somewhat misleading as Columbia Pictures had to sink another $200,000 into the movie to get it in shape for a theatrical release. Still! For Hollywood, that's chump change. Shoot the Gears of War movie on the cheap, non-union. Cliff Bleszinski has a backyard, no?
• The Evil Dead:
Large men, with guns. Yeah, you're not going to get the romantic comedy crowd so why even try? Go the other way, don't pull any punches and make something that lives up to the game's Lancer — a gun with a chainsaw in it.
It is important to note that Aliens was, for its time, a big budget production with a budget of $18 million. For comparison's sake, Predator cost $15 million to make. But even in today's money, something like $20 million in 1986 ballparks around $40 million today.
In the early 1990s, movies like Terminator 2 pushed movie budgets over the $100 million threshold. The first Terminator was a low budget film. A small, gritty Gears of War movie would not be a bad thing, not a bad thing at all.