But it was an assignment for my Broadcasting class...and, well i'll talk more about it later. Here it is!
Okay picture this: Have a cold opening, in other words, no titles, no music. Cut to an open field, around dusk, quiet. You see some smoke creep up from behind the camera as the camera pulls back. You start to hear something in the background, sharp metal on metal clangs, and the camera keeps pulling back. You start to see the source of the smoke, fire; eventually fire consumes the entire field of view, and then the clanging gets louder.
There is a huge medieval type battle going on in and around a small town, sort of like in the beginning of The Lord of the Rings, only no elves or giant evil creatures as far as you can tell. All men fighting, the clangs from before were from swords and various other weapons clashing. All this violence seems to be senseless, with no real defined sides. Still in the first minute of the film, by now we realize we are in a town. The fire is from the battle and trying to burn this town down. You start to see villagers fleeing, getting caught in the battle. Innocent people, men, women and children, are killed.
The camera concentrates on a woman carrying a baby, frightened by the surrounding action, desperately running from people fighting with swords and arrows, and dodging fire. She knows she has to escape this town, this battle. There is no way anyone who stays there will survive. So she escapes the town, but before she gets out, she is hit by a random arrow, the wound is fatal. Thinking of nothing but the baby in her arms, she flees the town and heads out into the vast field away from the blackness of the coming night and smoke, going as far as she can on what steam she has left, trying to make it to the nearest town. She does not make it, and she collapses onto the ground near a forest. On the ground she holds onto her baby with her last bits of strength as it starts to cry, the infant somehow knowing he is never going to see his mother again.
The camera goes to an overhead shot, slowly panning in on the dying mother and her wailing baby. The sound of footsteps comes from the rear speakers, and you see the shadow of a figure on the edges of the frame as camera moves in closer onto the baby. By now you can see that the mother and the baby have pointed ears. Fade out. Go to opening credits. After the credits, we cut back to a thirteen or fourteen year old blonde boy in green.
I have just described the opening sequence to The Legend of Zelda as I envision it. The Legend of Zelda is a famous video game first created for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. It was one of the first games to actually have a story, and almost all of them were highly acclaimed by critics and consumers. It has spawned several sequels since then, but in late 1998 Nintendo unveiled The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the N64. Ocarina of Time eventually sold 3.5 million units in the US. Considering this game came out while the N64 was less than a draw, this number can only express how good the game actually was. Also, many critics thought of it as the "best game ever created" (ign.com, 2004). At around fifty dollars per cartridge The Legend of Zelda has remained one of Nintendo’s highest selling franchises.
The only thing holding back this production is the history of video game based movies at the box office. From Super Mario Brothers to Resident Evil, video game movies have done less than well when it comes to ticket sales. But that is not how I would want to sell Zelda. I would want Zelda to be sold as an epic fairy tale, similar to the Lord of the Rings or Spider-Man, both of which have very nerdy fan bases, but went on to gross millions of dollars (they hold three of the slots on the top ten highest grossing films in the United States). Why would anyone want to make a video game movie when they could make an epic fairy tale?
It also does not end with the one movie in the top ten. The story around Princess Zelda and our young boy hero Link can be stretched for every dollar their worth, without cheapening the franchise. The most obvious connection to the film would have to be to have a video game come out simultaneous with the film. The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and Spider-Man have all done this successfully. Also, it would not be difficult for Nintendo to create a decent game that everyone will want to play and release it at the same time as the movie.
We would follow the Star Wars formula of hiring mostly young unknowns, with one to three well known actors playing major roles. Also, since there are many creatures in the game, it would be a good idea to hire some well known talent to do voice work, since it would be cheaper to hire a well known actor’s voice than their entire image. It would be important to find an extremely talented young actor to play the leading role of the character Link. Often kids have the most trouble delivering believable performances, so casting would be extremely important. Hiring a good casting director to handle this part of the business would be invaluable.
Speaking of the crew, behind the scenes talent is important too. Starting with the writing, the screenplay should be just as crowd pleasing as all of the games have been so far. One of the beauties of making a film based on an existing franchise is you can recycle art, there are already tons of concept art in existence for the video games, which should save a lot of time. The director of photography should be one of the best in the business, and should treat the project with the respect it deserves. A movie based on such a video game would need a lot of special effects work, and I believe ILM should be the company to handle the bulk of the special effects. The man who has done the music for all the video games is a man named Koji Kondo, and I believe he should create the soundtrack for the film. It should be produced by its creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, because he has produced all of the Zelda video games, and would know what is good for the story better than anyone. And the director, that would be me, because I believe I have enough respect for the franchise while at the same time I feel I could bring it all together better than anyone else.
This brings me to the financing part of the proposal. Right off the bat, this movie will be expensive. Special effects will bring the cost of the movie up to at least 100 million dollars if it is shot traditionally. However, I believe there are many places we have cut corners. Not hiring more than three well known actors has considerably cut costs. I believe the movie should be shot on digital video as opposed to film, which will remove the ridiculous cost of film stock. I suspect by the time this film comes out, most theaters will have at least one digital projection theater, and I think that the movie should be printed out onto as few film reels as possible. Another price cut would come in the form of my pay check; I love the Zelda franchise so much I would work for the lowest amount the Directors Guild of America would allow.
Even with all of these price cuts, the film would still be a rather high budget film. What happens if, while a success in theaters, it does not make enough money to satisfy the stock holders? This is where supplementary information comes in handy. The video game being the first example, also merchandising, and DVD sales are all examples of how, even if the movie does poorly at the box office, the venture could be profitable (Allen, 2003). Also, there is money to be made off this franchise from the inevitable sequels, spin offs, and books as well.
I believe the Legend of Zelda has a strong story and a very cinematic narrative. I believe millions of people would pay to see this movie. I would like to hope you agree. Thank you for your time.
1. Nintendo (1986-2004) Legend of Zelda Series, Nintendo, Japan
4. Allen, M. (2003) “Contemporary US Cinema,” Pearson Education Limited, Edinburg Gate, Harlow, Essex CM20 2JE
5. USA Today, OCT 26, 2004, “DVD box sets find a place on gift lists”
What'd you think?