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Grab the Popcorn: Mass Effect Movie En Route

For once, a game-to-movie deal based on a franchise with enough narrative substance to maybe, just maybe work.

Your casting choice?
Your casting choice?
Here's your big-game-franchise-being-turned-into-a-movie story of the day--but for once, it's a deal I actually want to be optimistic about. Variety's Cut Scene blog says EA has optioned Mass Effect film rights to Avi Arad, the prolific producer and former Marvel Comics movie guy who once embarked on a quest to put at least one film in theaters based on every single Marvel property ever conceived. (Seriously, look at the guy's credits on IMDB.) Arad was a key player on the X-Mens, Spider-Mans, and Iron Mans of the world, so on the Hollywood side I want to believe this project has at least a dim hope of not sucking.

More importantly, the Mass Effect fiction has the sort of breadth and depth to support lots of good stories, regardless of their medium. Most games take place inside a fictional space just big enough to contain their core narratives--but Mass Effect, the universe, is way bigger than Mass Effect, the game, as anyone who read the Revelation prequel novel can attest. It might have been easy to pass the game off as the-KOTOR-that-wasn't, with its numerous elements that cribbed straight from Star Wars. (Dark energy? Oh, you mean the Force!) But there was so much more going on in there, all the different alien species and cultures, the politics, the galactic strife. (Man, I could go for some galactic strife. Then again, I spent a lot of my time with Mass Effect thinking longingly about a Star Trek: The Next Generation-style weekly TV drama, so maybe you shouldn't pay any attention to what I say.)

Variety's Ben Fritz points out the malleability of Mass Effect's Commander Shepard, who you could make a man or woman with as many different possible appearances as the numerous face sliders allowed. But I was perfectly happy playing through with the stock male Cmdr. Shepard when I ran through Mass Effect; the producers could probably get by casting a square-jawed B-lister with a shaved head and call it a day on that front.

I wanted to make a tasteless joke about blue-alien sex scenes here, but I'll let you have fun with that in the comments.

Does the idea of a Mass Effect movie do anything for you? Would you want to see a theatrical adaptation of the game's plot, or a different storyline altogether? And do you think Seth Green should be in it?
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