If its one thing nerds and the like love, its seeing their favorite video games adapted to the silver screen. Well, let me be more specific. If its one thing nerds and the like love, its seeing their favorite video games adapted to the silver screen and then ripping into the adaptations for being horrible and inaccurate. For the most part, gaming and movie enthusiasts usually just like the anticipation of a video game movie. They like like to hype it up in their brains and convince themselves its not going to be another Alone in the Dark. Ultimately, the hype is always more thrilling than the end product and fans get disappointed. If its one company that has taken full advantage of this philosophy, its Nintendo. There have been rumors of film adaptations for almost every Nintendo franchise since the invention of the internet forum and, no matter how official or unofficial the rumors may be, its hard to think Nintendo isn't propagating the hype. There are two titles from Nintendo's library that have generated the most speculation and excitement as they're both apparently so close to being developed. One is the Metroid series, and the other is, of course, The Legend of Zelda. In my opinion, I think a Metroid movie has an actual chance of not only being made, but being a satisfying scifi epic. However, I think it will be a cold day in hell before we have a Zelda adaptation and here's why:
1. Ganondorf is an allegorical Arab.
In 2006, a movie called 300 went under a lot of scrutiny for portraying the antagonists, the army of Persians, as a monstrous, deformed, vile, despicable force to the Spartans' white, buff, morally adjusted, proud good guys. In this "post 9/11 world," movie makers need to tread lightly on the subject of race, especially when dealing with any middle eastern peoples. Any medium that shows Arabs, Middle Eastern Jews, Egyptians, Iranians, Iraqis, or any Africans in a negative light are immediately jumped on by critics crying racism. How justified these critics are in their claims is really up to each individual case but most movies in this situation end up with a great deal of infamy.
For some reason, The Legend of Zelda series has been able to fly under the radar from this scrutiny, despite being one of the most celebrated video games ever. To put it simply, The Zelda series often chronicles the white and pure, elf-like Hyrulian race and their struggle with Ganondorf, a king of the olive-skinned, desert dwelling, nomadic, somewhat outcast Gerudo tribe. The two engage in a holy war to secure the power of the gods and find power from a sacred land. If this isn't a parallel for the Crusades, I don't know what is. Now, I'm not calling Nintendo racist, I just fear that one day, the right Republican or crazy person will get their hands on Ocarina of Time and have a field day with it. With that being a very possible threat, why would Nintendo risk bringing its story to the massive, movie-going audience?
The catch 22 is that changing this story to be more "racially sensitive" would completely alienate what The Legend of Zelda is, and ultimately make a disappointing movie. An alternative would be writing a script where our hero, Link, is pitted against Ganondorf's demon form, Ganon, and nix any evidence of his Gerudo origins whatsoever. The downside is Ganondorf is such a popular character, fans would probably start a riot at the notion of their favorite villain not being faithfully included.
So, you have these two conflicting sides, the oversensitive critics and the overly faithful fanboys. As long as both sides exist, Nintendo isn't going to be able to make a majority happy. Unless they retcon Ganondorf so that he isn't a brown person, they aren't going to touch a movie deal with a ten foot pole.
2. Loyalty to the source material is next to Godliness.
Movie adaptations are risky business. When you sign on to write or direct or produce a movie that's based on a movie, book, comic, video game, etc..., you accept and acknowledge that your work is going to piss a lot of people off. This is mostly due to the fact that movies appeal to larger and different demographics than other entertainment mediums and have to adhere to the many rather than the few. As a result, major plot points from source material are changed to be more "believable" or "acceptable" to a mass audience. Fans of the original material often get disgruntled with these changes in translation.
Video games turned movies are a unique example of this phenomenon. The issue is the concepts and plots of video games are usually so ridiculous, so fantastic, that its a challenge to convert them to film without sacrificing a good deal of what makes the story so relatable. For some reason, the human brain can accept a Nazi killing vampire in a video game but in a movie? Not so much. Unfortunately, after a film does what it has to to adapt a video game to film, people who played the game hate it and people who didn't play the game like it (unless Uwe Boll directed, in which nobody likes it.)
Nintendo has dealt with this once before with The Super Mario Brothers movie. Hollywood took a ridiculous game with a vague plot and tried to have it all make sense for movie-goers. The finished product ended up being a bizarre, post apocalyptic comedy where people evolved from dinosaurs and Goombas were eight feet tall and Mario could certainly not ride Yoshi. Fans cried foul and the movie is now known for being notoriously inaccurate and bad.
Its safe to say that Nintendo understands this risk and doesn't want to throw its other huge franchise, Zelda, into the mix without insuring they can have a perfect cinematic adaptation. Its also pretty safe to say Nintendo has accepted that such an adaptation is probably impossible.
3. Its pretty easy to assume Hollywood would screw up the casting hardcore.