Before anything else, let me make it clear that I am a HUGE Metroid fan. I’ve played, and completed (not just “finished”, COMPLETED), every game since Super Metroid except Other M (could never find a copy of it, and it’s pretty bad apparently). As such, my opinions on a Metroid film will be through the lens of someone who’s extremely invested in the franchise. Being a fan of the series does mean that I might be very critical against things that I may perceive as “going against” established tropes of the franchise. That said, let’s take a look at this attempt in adapting Metroid into a film.
Rainfall films and director Sam Balcomb recently released a Metroid fan film entitled: “Metroid: The Sky Calls”.
We’ve established that I’m a fan of the series, right? Because this film gets SO MANY THINGS wrong about Metroid.
First of all, I find it offensive that they chose to cast Jessica Chobot as Samus Aran. I don’t know if it’s the director’s or Jessica’s fault, but she acts TERRIBLY in this film; her line delivery is so stilted and unconvincing. Which leads me to my second point: Samus Aran should be confident and display emotions through methods other than speaking.
All through-out the series (except Other M which was not internally developed by Nintendo so that explains the contrast) Samus rarely spoke, displayed emotions through body language, and most importantly: never showed fear. Take for example the final battles in both Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. In both games, Samus is reduced to a vulnerable position where her life is in danger only to be ASSISTED (key phrase for my point) by the Baby Metroid (in Super) and the SA-X (in Fusion). She was assisted in both of these instances, but she later took charge of the situation and fought, and won, these battles solo (because in both cases the Baby Metroid and SA-X die after coming to Samus’s “rescue”). The point I am trying to make is, even in the most dire of situations Samus never showed fear, or at least always displayed bravado despite the odds. In the film, Samus constantly displays fear and worse yet looked lost and didn’t know what to do. This goes entirely against her character. Hell, even in the manga where it depicts Samus’s early life before and just after training with the Chozo, she’s still more confident that what is shown in this film! In Zero Mission 3/4ths of the way through the game, you lose everything, including her armor! Yet, even in that situation she never panicked. In the film, she has a permanent look of loss during the entire runtime of the movie. In the climax, she runs out of missile ammunition and just stands there waiting for death to take her, only to be saved through no action that she herself did. The film is an insult to Samus’s established character.
Having said that, the film has some redeeming qualities. The cinematography is pretty damn good. It borrows the style of films such as the Alien franchise (the good ones at least) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (though to clarify, Metroid is NOT a space opera, it should take place in a mysterious location ala Aliens). The shots they used in filming the movie, are frankly beautiful considering the limited budget this project probably has.
This movie is, quite frankly, a failure as a Metroid adaptation, but it IS a good proof of concept. If given the proper budget, actors, and writers I could see this being a possible successful adaptation. That said though, I am of the opinion that you can’t make a Metroid movie. Given some of the reasons I’ve stated this movie fails, it makes it really difficult to adapt the franchise into a film.
Hollywood is welcome to prove me wrong. Get a studio, and proper staff to make this into a feature length film, it MAY be possible to convince me otherwise.