Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Warner Bros. wants Affleck for "FPS: THE MOVIE"

THR reports that Warner Bros. and Joel Silver are courting Ben "Comeback Kid" Affleck to direct and star in the high-concept action feature "Line of Sight." The screenplay is a commandos-transporting-cargo-through-enemy-territory deal, but here's the gimmick: They want to do the whole thing in POV, "akin to a first-person shooter game." Gaming-industry vet F. Scott Frazier wrote the original script, but it's now being 'polished' by "Halo: Reach" writer Peter O'Brien.

This was probably innevitable, what with the penetration Call of Duty etc. have had in the media, but it doesn't stop it from being a not great idea. The "FPS sequence" in the "Doom" movie was a cute moment, but the equivalent of watching someone play CoD for 90 minutes on a big screen? No thanks.

"First person" filmmaking has been tried before, most notably for "Lady in The Lake" in 1947, but it's never really caught on as anything but a stylistic gimmick that tends to get a little old. Watching an entire movie over the barrel of Ben Affleck's rifle-barrel sounds like unmitigated torture... though not QUITE as torturous as the innevitable studio spin about how this perspective "brings action filmmaking up to date with the vibe of a New Generation." Blegh.

15 comments:

Adam said...

Never saw Doom, but the concept of a totally First Person Movie: regardless of what activities the person acting as the camera is engaging in sounds kind of interesting (and I play very few First Person games, Metroid Prime might be the only one that counts). 90 minutes sounds like overkill though. Perhaps a 15-20 minute short (with a steady cam, please dear Lord)?

Also why Ben Affleck? Hell why anyone of note? I think the effect would be much more interesting if the person didn't talk and instead you just took in everything on screen and let the characters around you emote and all that.

Jonathan Mentser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

So, does anyone else expect this to look kind of like an action version of the "Verne" scene from "Ernest Saves Christmas," or is it just me?

Enigma said...

The only good example of First Person filmmaking I can think of is ENTER THE VOID, and that movie isn't even first person in the same way as a FPS, since it's from the perspective of a ghost that floats around Tokyo. Very interesting, if flawed movie.

Pyrian said...

First-person perspective is great for interactive media and terrible for passive media, for the exact same reason: it puts the player/audience in the position of the main character they're playing as/(not) watching.

counterpoint said...

what if, instead, the movie was looking at Affleck's face while he does this stuff?

or, even better, in SECOND PERSON? you know, watching US

Carlsberg said...

what about cloverfield? that was pretty good.

Jonny Pratt said...

Could be worse. Could be third-person - staring at ben's arse, camera getting stuck on the scenery...

Chris Evans said...

How is this any different than a found footage movie like Cloverfield or Blare Witch?

KillerSlavikO said...

It can be interesting to see action scenes from first person point of view, but a whole movie?
I don't think it will work.

Sylocat said...

I'd love to see a techno-thriller where someone comes up with a Strange Days-esque justification for this technique. Like, eye-cams are becoming a new fad, and somehow it factors into a plot...

Lee Kalba said...

Or there was that episode of Tales from the Crypt, that was the POV of a corpse.
I have to agree with Pyrian.

@Chris Evans,
A "found footage" style kind of brakes the fourth wall and admits there's a camera there. It becomes like a documentary or a home movie.
The POV thing is trying to get you to accept that you're looking through this character's eyes, the main character, at that.
It's OK to forget that the camera guy is supposed to be a character, because the movie or scene isn't about that person. When it's POV, it can be jarring in a movie, because you can't see the person's face. I'm pretty sure it's because the way the brain works.
When you make an expression, your brain has a kind of cartoon image of what that expression should look like. When aren't in control of that character but still can't see that face, I think we start to lose empathy.
However, in prose, it still works not being able to see a character's face, since we are asked to imagine everything.

@Adam,
Why Afflek? Have you not heard of The Town?

The Offender said...

POV rarely works. It gets old fast most of the time. Last time I saw it done well was that one episode of MASH.

Ayrton said...

Even in video-game cut-scenes, uncontrollable 1st person view get tiresome really fast.

Chris Cesarano said...

but it's now being 'polished' by "Halo: Reach" writer Peter O'Brien.

I enjoyed Halo: Reach, but not at all for the writing. In fact, the writing is certainly the game's biggest flaw.

Also, wasn't there an independent film about a bunch of guys in a tank that already pulled this off?