Only a Game

I can see the script now:

CAPTAIN: What’s the status of the fleet?

EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Hit pretty hard, captain. And we’re still no closer to finding the enemy. We’ve never seen opposition like this before …

CAPTAIN: B4? (Checks grid.) Damn. He sunk my battleship!

Yes, I’m serious. The film “Battleship,” based on the Milton Bradley game, is about to come to the big screen.

Talk about contemplating your naval.

Now, before I get too far in, I have to clarify: I’m not automatically against Hollywood adaptations. Some of the best films in history were taken from other works, including “Gone With The Wind,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Ben Hur.”  Heck, even “Star Wars” and “The Magnificent Seven” were slightly reworked from great Japanese films.

But lately, doesn’t it seem like they’vre been scraping the bottom of the barrel?

First, it was the never-ending sequels. “Rocky V.” “Nightmare on Elm Street 23.” “Star Wars III that is really Star Wars VI: Revenge of the Numerophobic.”

Then the marquees began to look like a TV Guide from the 1970s or ‘80s, blaring out the questionable virtues of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Garfield” and now the lowest blow of all, “The Smurfs.” (Sometimes nostalgia is best left buried, you know?)

But the strangest times are when Hollywood needs to ransack the toy cupboard. And for every clever, entertaining film like “Clue,” there seem to be a dozen like “Battleship” or “Candy Land.”

Yes, of course there’s a Candy Land movie coming out. Aren’t you just anticipating those 3-D animated gumdrops? And I hear the gingerbread sequence is mind-blowing …


Still, few things have more inertia than Hollywood in the grip of a bad idea. And even camera crews and sound-effect editors need to eat. So in the spirt of “If you can’t beat them, join them,” may I offer the following? Remember, I get 5 percent of the gross:

* “Slinky.” It was born in a mad scientist’s lab. Now it’s loose. And the soft whisper of its metal coils as it follows you downstairs may be the last thing you ever hear …

* “Monopoly.” Danny DeVito is Rich Uncle Pennybags, out to build an empire. But small things can change your life, and Pennybags is about to learn about love through the unlikely intervention of a thimble, a dog and an old shoe.

* “Risk.” Humanity’s planet is no longer its own, thanks to invaders from outer space. Now, from Irkutsk to Argentina, it is time for resistance to rise in one last desperate bid for freedom.

* “Simon.” The message of lights and tones came from beyond the stars. But can humanity’s greatest computer programmers unravel it before the visitors come and find only “unintelligent animals” on Earth?

Wait a minute. That last one sounds familiar.

All right, Mr. Spielberg. The jig is up. Come along.

Don’t toy with me now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *