Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Getting Into the Game: Nintendo To Make Animated Features?

It's official...

Nintendo plans to get into the realm of animated features...

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima spoke with Japanese newspaper Asahi News, mentioning that they intend to do these features themselves in-house, as much as they can, and then partner up with distributors to get them out to the world. They'll also be partially funded from the stake they recently sold in the Seattle Mariners baseball team.

He says... "I cannot definitely say this year, and we’re currently in talks. If funds flow in this year, I’m saying I’d like to put that money to use, and I’m not saying I’d like to use it five years in the future. I want to implement that before then."

What is first? He was cryptic on that, saying that the first will be a feature based on a Nintendo IP that's "popular with everyone", but did go as far as saying "But, I’m not saying it’s going to be Super Mario, I’m only saying we’ll put out something that everyone knows very well."

Honestly, I always wanted Nintendo-based animated films to break video game movies into the world of animation. I think animation is perfect for films based on video games, and may help that kind of film. Very few console video game-based movies have been successful or made quite a bit of money at the box office, and very few of them have been good. Perhaps Warcraft and Assassin's Creed could change this, maybe Uncharted if that gets off the ground.

These past few weeks we saw Ratchet & Clank go belly up. The film was made by Rainmaker Entertainment in cooperation with Blockade, and its production was a very rocky road. Creative differences with director Kevin Munroe lead to up-and-coming writer T.J. Fixman leaving the project, the film has been met with mostly bad reception. What I saw of it? Very been-there done-that, with very forced humor and dialogue. Worse, Focus/Gramercy put very little effort into even marketing the thing, and giving it - a film completed as far back as March 2015 - a terrible release date to boot...

Now the Rainmaker Sly Cooper movie, also set to be directed by Munroe, seems to be in limbo. I'll be shocked if it happens. I was so excited about this film and Sly Cooper, I really thought that they could've started a new thing for animated features, but it was not to be.

Maybe Nintendo, given their star power, can correct this. We all know why the notorious live-action Super Mario Bros. movie from 1993 tanked, though Nintendo was seemingly so scarred from this experience that they stayed away from movie adaptations all together. It's good to know that they are open to this kind of thing again, and I think animation suits worlds like the worlds of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid, and several others. I can imagine crowds and crowds coming to see a good-looking animated Mario or Zelda movie...

For now, I'll be cautious, for this could or could not happen, but I am all for it. Nintendo animated movies? Sign me up!

What say you?


  1. A potentially better Mario film? Sign me up!

  2. Hopefully this leads to an epic trilogy based on Legend of Zelda! I've been waiting for far too long to see that game on the big screen.

  3. If they do, I'm counted on them to have the smarts to do them hand-drawn. Just because the Pokémon games have gone into 3D graphics now doesn't mean that the anime (or it's movies) have suddenly stopped being in 2D style animation. I believe that's because Japan still respects the art of 2D animation, and they still see a place for it in their culture through anime, unlike the studios of our OWN culture today like Disney.

    I'm hoping Nintendo will still know that just because their video games have been 3D since the N64 doesn't mean that Japanese animation has to reflect that.