Minecraft: The Movie is coming. But while Minecraft can be almost all things to all people, is it the kind of game that lends itself to a big-budget movie version? Warner Bros. thinks so with a much-anticipated live-action film in the works.
Survival Mode. Creative Mode. Java Edition. Bedrock Edition. Ender Dragons. The Nether. Bed Wars. Mobs. Redstone. Crafting. These are just a few of the nearly limitless aspects or pieces of Minecraft, the best-selling videogame of all-time. The game itself is at the same time incredibly simple and incredibly complex offering users the chance to take the game in any direction they see fit. There’s a reason it appeals to such a wide range of people from young children (like mine) all the way to adults (like yours truly).
The Team Making Minecraft: The Movie
We have to go all the way back to 2014 when news of a Minecraft movie first started making the rounds. Minecraft: The Movie has had a number of different names attached. Originally, Warner Brothers approached Mojang, the game’s owner with Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Stranger Things) attached to direct and Jason Fuchs on the script. But that relationship didn’t last all that long.
Then in 2016, Steve Carrell was circling the movie with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator and star Rob McElhenney apparently on board as well. But those two fell through with McElhenney specifically saying that Warner Bros. disagreed with the direction he was taking with Minecraft: The Movie. He said his version would have focused on characters having “agency over their experience in this digital landscape.” McElhenney went on to work on his own video game-based show in Mythic Quest.
Most recently, and likely for good, Peter Sollett is set to direct Minecraft: The Movie and he also is penning the script. Sollett has done a bunch of television work in recent years, but is probably best known for directing 2008’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
Minecraft, the game, has a very distinct look and feel. It’s blocky with rather low end graphics which lend itself to a style all it’s own. Considering Minecraft: The Movie has already been labeled as a “live action” version of the game, one has to think we get some kind of fish-out-of-water scenario where the humans are dropped into the game. Think something maybe like Tron or Jumanji. But given that McElhenney left the project over a disagreement with this particular style, it’s tough to say how the movie takes shape.
Video games-turned-movies don’t have a particularly rich and critical pleasant history up until this point. In fact, almost every live-action movie that’s ever been developed from a video game has been pretty bad. Minecraft: The Movie might have the heaviest lift of them at all when it comes to merging “real life” with a game that is decidedly different from the realism we generally associate with modern video games. And maybe that’s why the “best” video game movie adaptations like Angry Birds stuck solely to animation or Pokemon Detective Pikachu brought only a few minor aspects of the game to the screen.
Frankly, it’s difficult to see how Minecraft: The Movie pulls this off and may speak to why there’s been so much creative and directorial turnover so far.
Minecraft: The Movie’s Release Date
Despite all the starts and stops around getting Minecraft: The Movie just up and off the ground, the studio had finally, set a release date for March 4, 2022. But that’s now been pushed back with The Batman taking its place in the release schedule.
The troubling part is Minecraft: The Movie didn’t get an updated time in the schedule. Its release is now “undated”. Does that mean it once again enters movie limbo? That’s tough to say. But when you consider the popularity of the game and the time spent already in development, I’d be shocked if it was mothballed completely. We wouldn’t want this thing ending up in the Nether.
I’m A Noob. What is Minecraft?
If you don’t already know what Minecraft is and you’re reading an article on Minecraft: The Movie, it’s probably because your kids play it. It’s one of the most popular video games of all time. So here’s what you need to know.
Minecraft is a sandbox video game that, in its original iteration, drops a character into a landscape and has them build, create, find resources, fight intruders (mobs), and ultimately survive. Sandbox style games refer to those in which creativity is often at the center of the gameplay rather than a specific quest or mission. As the game has grown and expanded different versions and add-ons have introduced more elements to the game. But at its core, Minecraft is a game that allows the user to explore, transform, or create in the world as they see fit.
Developed by Mojang, Minecraft eventually sold its intellectual property rights to Microsoft for a cool $2.5 billion (with a “b”). It’s the best-selling video game of all-time and for good reason. The game is nearly limitless with its world creating options, letting users essentially take the game in a number of directions.
And for those who maybe haven’t played the game, they probably will have seen the Minecraft style character before. This blocky style is a signature of the game and maybe what it’s best known for. Whether that style will show up in Minecraft: The Movie remains to be seen.