If, like me, you grew up in the golden age of video games, playing 8-Bit classics such as Metroid, then undoubtedly you thought more than once "Man, this would me such an awesome movie!" Then the Super Mario Bros movie happened and pretty much but the kibosh on future Nintendo films. Fans have been clamoring for feature film versions of classic video games since and the attempts that Hollywood has made at creating good video game themed movies has been quite dismal.
Enter Rainfall films, the three man operation who was behind the epic Legend of Zelda trailer that IGN used as a prank for April Fools Day several years ago. Metroid: The Sky Calls is an eleven minute short that is based on the classic Nintendo franchise. Though it is based on the games series, the short itself does not take any story cues from the games. Instead it uses the established universe created by the franchise and tells a new story.
Nerd extraordinaire Jessica Chobot plays Samus as she investigates a strange signal that may lead her to discover what happened to the race of beings that raised her as a child. She does an outstanding job, I thought. A good portion of the film is CGI, with her role relegated mostly to head shots inside her helmet (think Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man) but I think she's got the stuff to carry the character for a feature film.
The film perfectly emulates the dark sci-fi of the 70's - especially films like Alien and 2001, while still perfectly encapsulating the look and feel of the Metroid universe. This was actually not a stretch because Metroid was in fact designed to emulate those films to begin with. There is a palpable sense of desolation and isolation.
Back in August, Nintendo expressed interest in expanding their brand beyond video games and possibly allowing their IP's to be used in official movies again (The Sky Calls is an unofficial fan film). If they are serious, then they should sit up and take notice. There is so much love and care that was put into this short. My only complaint is that it was not longer. I really got sucked into the micro-story and wanted to know more about what happened at the end.
Check out the film below and let me hear your thoughts on it!