'Tetris' movie: Pieces fall into place for live-action adaptation

January 8, 2015

 

Danger — falling blocks? Yep, the classic 1980s video game "Tetris" is headed to the big screen as a live-action sci-fi film, Threshold Entertainment and the Tetris Co. have announced.

 

Best known for adapting the ultra-violent fighting franchise "Mortal Kombat" into two movies during the 1990s, Threshold has some experience translating video games into motion pictures, although "Tetris" doesn't necessarily lend itself to narrative treatment.

 

The addictive strategy game, after all, doesn't have any characters — unless you count the blocky puzzle pieces known as tetrominoes — or a story to speak of. What it does offer is worldwide recognition: During the last 30 years, the game has sold hundreds of millions of products on more than 50 platforms across 185 countries.

 

That's good enough for Threshold, which has billed the would-be blockbuster (sorry) as a "sci-fi epic."

The company's chief executive, Larry Kasanoff, also told the Wall Street Journal, "This isn't a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page. We're not giving feet to the geometric shapes."

 

Kasanoff added, "Brands are the new stars of Hollywood," and he does have a point. Some of this year's highest-grossing films — "The Lego Movie," "Transformers: Age of Extinction," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" — were powered by well-known brands, and similar projects have been floated for Barbie dolls, Peeps candies and the non-narrative online game "Minecraft."

 

"Tetris" isn't the only game in town when it comes to 8-bit nostalgia: Adam Sandler will play an old-school joystick junkie trying to save the world from an alien attack in Sony's "Pixels," set to open July 24.

 

BY OLIVER GETTELL

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