Written by: Sam Henry Miller
Unless you’ve been living under a Morph Ball the past week, you’ve likely heard the news of Lionsgate Studios’ decision to pick up Ellen Page as the protagonist for their 2016 adaptation of the iconic Nintendo series Metroid. Well, it’s a bold choice, to say the least; one that I am cautiously ambivalent about.
Page is no stranger to action films—Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) from X-Men: The Last Stand being one of her most iconic roles—but picturing her five-foot, frail brunette frame as the blonde Amazonian that is Samus Aran would be quite the movie-magic trick. That’s not to say this feat isn’t possible (it’s just reverse Hobbiting, essentially), and Page has already proven she has the voice for the character. Nevertheless, the news of Page’s casting has received its fair share of controversy.
Initially, many have decried the move as political correctness at its vainest. We have after all seen Perry White from the Superman series get progressively darker with each reboot (from Cooper, to Langella, to Fishburne). Fans may be surprised, however, to learn that Page’s interest in the character has little to do with her open homosexuality vis a vis Samus’s masculine demeanor and suit. In fact, Page admitted in a recent interview that she had grown up with the Metroid series and loved the idea of a hero with so much power in one fist. It’s a toss up, really; a skilled director/writer/producer salad could be all it takes to make the transformation work.
Again, I sympathize with both camps: people want an adaptation that’s as sincere to its source as possible, but on the other hand, in a film as opposed to a game, acting must be prioritized. And Page has already proven herself an adept thespian; some hair-dye and stilts could be all it takes to mend this gash. Then again, until/if she removes that helmet, it’ll be hard to say for sure.
As we all know by now, Ridley Scott has signed on as director claiming that there was something about the series’ dragon antagonist that enthralled him. At least we can be assured from Prometheus that Scott knows his aliens, and rumor has it that the flying beastie is tenuously set to be voiced by Brendan Fraser, who proved more than competent at extra-terrestrial vocalization in Escape from Planet Earth.
Alas, that’s all we really know about our Metroid movie thus far, save a brief IMDB plot description: “Samus returns to the Chozo homeland to help save their race from suicidal Space Pirates”—barely enough to go on, really.
Fans (myself included) have been looking forward to a film adaptation of the Metroid series for years, tantamount only to a Zelda film. So it’s perhaps safe to say that this film could make or break video-game-to-film endeavors for a very long time.
Finally, if you’re interested, I’ve acquired a link to the “unofficial” concept-art leak of Samus’s Varia Suit in all its cinematic glory. Enjoy.