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Board Games to Movies: Are they just as fun?
by Michol Little

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Love a woman doing a man's job!

Love a woman doing a man's job!
With the movie BATTLESHIP recently released on May 18, 2012, I had that moment when you think "AH-HAH!" Here's a good segue into learning about the value we get from the board game, thrilling as it might be compared to the cinema extravaganza of the same plot and purpose. My thoughts are, the board game is interactive. You have to invest something other than just time to really feel satisfied, challenged and just plain entertained not to mention the thrill of beating the crap out of the other players and end on top with that "YOU WIN" type of euphoria. YEAH! Didn't you feel this way when you won a poker game? Or maybe the famous monopoly game when you owned all the hotels on Boardwalk? We have played board games and card games for centuries but we always invested more than sitting on our backside while we watched sometimes the most boring movie ever just because we loved the thrill of the name-sake game.

I thought it would be interesting to travel through the minefields of the winners and losers of games turned into movies to see if it is such a good idea to even invest millions of dollars in a movie we can't play; we just have to watch. Here's a thought. We now have 3D thrillers. More and more movies are considering release or re-release in 3D. It's the new fad at the moment. What if we could manipulate the movie with our hand held remotes so that when we wore individual glasses given to us as we paid our ticket that we could actually influence the move WE see through our special glasses while others could do the same thing! A techno nightmare for sure, but heck if we didn't day dream about possibilities of the future, how does anyone actually get there? We would live a life of the same-ole, same-ole because we didn't dream of something better.

So here we go. I'm going to list some famous board-games-to-movies thrillers and see how they fared with ticketholders. This is not in any order from best to worst or recent to oldest, just ones I've researched. If you have others to add to the list, please by all means send me a note and I'll keep the list up to date.

1. BATTLESHIP. I'll start with the most recent film this month. It is rated PG-13 and released by Battleship Delta Productions, staring Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, and Rihanna. We have
Scene from CLUE

Scene from CLUE
the love interest going; the good brother and the slacker brother as well as the daughter of the commander. Seems like the typical setup to appeal to adult men and women. The good guys battle the aliens so we have death and destruction on both sides but alas, the slacker brother pulls himself up by his big-boy boxers and saves the day using a 70 year old decommissioned antique battleship. Something I didn't expect: various movie ranking entities that track age as well as opinion have the under 18 women and the over 45 women giving this movie the highest credits! Who would have thunk? The movie was pretty much a loser in box office revenue since the published cost to film is $200 million give or take a few mil. GAME: The board game was originally a pencil and paper type with different names (same game-play) beginning in 1931. Milton Bradley in 1943 produced a pad and pencil game and later in 1967 revised the name and added plastic grid and game pieces which is the game we are familiar with. In 2008 Hasbro did an overhaul on the game boards and pieces to give us what is on the market today. The film reviews typically list Hasbro as the brand creator for the movie. What is the better pick? Board game? Or movie? Well, FORBES in discussing what a flop the movie was writes that the game is much more fun, not as long to get through, definitely not as loud! The general public for the movie when reviewing dozens of review sites seems to consider this movie a HUGE waste of time.

2. CLUE. A 1985 move released by Paramount Pictures is another game-to-movie revenue flop staring Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, and Christopher Lloyd. The production cost is approximately $15 million but grossed about $14 million. You can sit through 94 minutes of the whodunit movie but for me the game is 10 times more enjoyable in less time. You have a movie with 6 houseguests, a maid and a butler involved in the murder of 6 people with no one fessing up. Was it Colonel Mustard in the study with a gun? Or Miss Scarlet in the billiard room with a rope? The dialogue is quick and witty and the humor effervescent; the intrigue most think as fun as the board game. It was given a higher ranking than BATTLESHIP but most would say it is slapstick humor that takes a serious subject like "murder" and
High point of Dungeons and Dragons

High point of Dungeons and Dragons
turns it into a contest with comedy. GAME: The game dates back to 1991 notably published by Parker Bros. Who didn't play CLUE as a kid? It is best played with 4 players and to really make me feel old, my little grandkids have a blast playing the game. In the world of rankings and reviews, the game is in the middle upper range of approved games although I have to say, having a kids game about murder and mayhem is not something most would believe appropriate. Is the game "funner" than the movie? I think it's a dead heat. The movie is lame but the acting is excellent; the board game can generate lots of "hoops and hollers" as you get closer to nabbing the villain, and honestly I think a better film than BATTLESHIP on the enjoyment scale.
Another note on CLUE? I've discovered director Gore Verbinski (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) was slated to release with Universal Studios a remake of CLUE, but in late 2011 that was scuttled and now hangs in limbo based on the "flop" status of BATTLESHIP. More to come on that topic so stay tuned.

3. DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. There are two movies actually based on the board game which originally wasn't even with a board. It had dice and pads but the action took place in the minds of the players. The original movie was released in 2000 by Behavior Worldwide staring Jeremy Irons, Bruce Payne, Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans. The critic reviews in 2000 of D & D collectively believed it to be the worst of the worst board-game-to-movie releases. The overall rating averaged 3.5 by the general public whose best opinion was: Horrible!. Here is a quote from the Washington Post (Rita Kemply): "Stinketh like the breath of a dyspeptic dragon." Actually this was one of the better professional critic's opinions. As far as a story plot summary? Well, just too many details to list here, but the gist is an Empire is ruled by the mages (magic soothsayers of sorts) and the common peons had no say in their lives. In walks Empress Savina who wants to help the poor population but the evil mage Profion has other plans for her (like death!) There is the proverbial "scepter" owned by the Empress that has special powers to control the dragons. Now it gets more complicated with another magical tool called the Rod of Savrille known to have the power to control an elite group of

Red Dragons. We also have other characters who help Savina, namely two thieves and a dwarf. For the diehard D&D players and aficionados the plot and game play is an art to be learned so trying to give more detail in this review would take a book so I'm not going to bore you as much as the movie did. GAME: The game consists of players acting out various roles as they encounter battles and challenges. There are game book modules that set up the available characters to choose from. In 1971, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson developed "The Fantasy Game" which we now know is the first version of D & D. In 1974 the game was re-named Dungeons and Dragons. The game became the fettish of the day leading to the first D&D tournament in 1976. During the progressive popularity of the game, lawsuits were filed by the religious and indignant parents who felt this game encouraged witchcraft. Trivia: The same company producing D& D also in 1980 released the game TOP SECRET. A news story reports the Secret Service became aware of a possible security issue with the game and raided the production company finding notes on their letterhead about an assassination plot that they took seriously. Our poor Secret Service dept. again found they were in sinking sand when they realized it was a fictitious plot sequence planned for a future game upgrade!

OTHER games to movies you might consider if you have the interest:

SCRABBLE to movie: WORD WARS released in 2004

KILLER to movies: T.A.G. THE ASSASINATION GAME (1982) and GOTCHA (1985)

RISK: LORD OF THE RINGS to movie: LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY. (Here we have Tolken's books Lord of the Rings, a movie, and the original game RISK that was used as the game-play strategy for the new LORD OF THE RINGS Risk game by Hasbro.

What do we have to look forward to from Hasbro games? Brian Goldner, reported in Bloomberg Businessweek May 12, 2012, was quoted as saying Hasbro has planned additional movies from board games on tap for production. Movies being considered for release are based on the iconic baby game CANDYLAND to star Adam Sandler; movies based on RISK, Clue and Ouija Board are already in the works but as Goldner said, "I'm not sure Hungry Hungry Hippos is a movie," but he has listened to a pitch on the possibility! Can you even stand the thought???

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May 27, 2012 9:31 AM
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What about Twister starring Helen Hunt? I've never seen it but I assume it's about the game with the colored circles.
May 27, 2012 10:28 AM
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Ha! you would think, but Twister with Helen Hunt is about tornado chasers and a fun move to see too! If you think of others let me know and if I get enough I'll write an Episode #2 of this column. Thanks so much for reading and your comment

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An update of current gossip surrounding the good, bad and just horrible events while filming different movies. What went wrong, who did what and the answer to the burning question, "What is the point of this movie anyway?"

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Other columns by Michol Little:

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Children's Top Box Office of all Times!

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Michol Little
I've been writing about anything and everything all my life: fiction, research projects, speeches and term papers for anyone who needed help. I'm a single Mom with all kids out of the nest, and now have time to really enjoy my writing passion. While finishing my courses for my MBA, I developed a burning desire to actually publish some of my work in fiction as well as research white paper on most anything that interests me. I work for a national retail food brand as a construction project manager which is my DAY job; and hope to increase my exposure as an author and ghost writer as well as write articles and commentaries for various venues. .

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Michol Little by clicking here.

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