A movie based on Tetris will begin filming next year. I propose 11 possible plots for a movie based on a game that really does not lend itself to being a film.
I figured that in the wake of Marvel, eventually Nintendo would want its own “cinematic universe” — but this is an awfully odd place for it to start.
News broke yesterday that a movie based on Tetris — yes, the video game — is going to start shooting in China next year. With an $80 million budget.
Which begs the question: How do you turn the straightforward puzzle game of Tetris into a feature film?
Easy, I say. Well, not easy, but possible. I came up with 11 different plots for a movie based on Tetris, all of which I offer here for the price of on the house. Although if the producers read this and want me to write one, I’ll have a script to you in three weeks for a very reasonable 1/40th of the budget. (Plus lunch.)
1 | Tetrageddon
An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, and the only material strong enough to stop it, a newly discovered element called Unasteroidium, happens to naturally come in shapes made of four squares. Can a misfit collection of Tetris experts construct a shield from that element in the highest stakes game of Tetris ever?
2 | The Tetris Championships: Europe
A Tetris master who’s great on analytics but terrible with people (“fun Asperger’s” like Sheldon or Abed) needs to make it to the world championships in Stockholm but finds himself stranded in Minsk just two days before it begins — joined only by his prime competitor, a loud Brooklyn native who likes things like pizza and baseball. They’ve got nothing in common but their love of Tetris, but can these two put aside their differences and use their complementary skills (and collective Tetris acumen) to get to Sweden on time?
3 | Extratetrestrials
Aliens attack Earth using a unique battle strategy: Whenever they can fit their ships into a perfect horizontal line, it makes everything they’re touching disappear. The people of Earth, including Will Smith probably and Aaron Eckhard definitely, must come together to figure out a strategy before the aliens form the ultimate weapon: A four-line high Tetris attack.
4 | Tetris Story
When night falls, all of the video characters come to life. (No, it’s not like Wreck-It Ralph. Totally different.) Sadly for the plain, simple Tetris pieces, other more dynamic characters like Crash Bandicoot and Waluigi are always leaving them out. But when all of those characters are incapacitated in the face of the biggest threat to video games ever, the Tetris pieces must find a way to save the day.
5 | Tetris: The Soviet Menace
A period piece from the Cold War era. The Soviet Union develops the game of Tetris as part of a plan to take down Western society, but get more than they bargained for when their people get hooked as well. It’s all an allegory for mutually assured destruction. Eddie Redmayne stars against my wishes.
6 | The Tetromeda Galaxy
Astronomers find a new galaxy, where all of the planets are shaped like Tetris pieces. But when a group of astronauts venture there to explore, they get more than they bargained for. (Not sure what, we’ll just figure that out later.)
7 | Tet8is
A talented but mercurial detective notices a pattern as he investigates a new serial killer: Each murder is based around a different Tetris shape. (Like, one victim is crushed under a concrete square. Another has an L-shaped hole cut into his torso.) Can the detective get inside the killer’s head and track him down before more innocent people are murdered? But will he get too deep?
8 | Tetrotopia
An animated film set in the wacky village of Tetrotopia, where Tetris pieces live and work in harmony. But what will happen when the pieces start mysteriously disappearing? One brave piece will have to venture outside of Tetrotopia to find the answer.
9 | National Tetris or The Tetrinci Code
An American treasure hunter follows clues hidden in Tetris that lead him on a worldwide wild goose chase. It ultimately culminates in the secret sub-basement of the Kremlin, where he finds out why Tetris is so valuable to Russia. (Spoiler alert: Nukes. It’s always nukes.)
10 | You’ve Got Tetris
A romantic comedy about a lonely man and lonely woman on opposite ends of the world who bond over playing Tetris online. Eventually they decide to meet in real life, but can a man who’s a square and a woman who’s a T ever be truly compatible?
11 | Tetken
Liam Neeson has a very specific set of skills… at Tetris. As a disgraced former Tetris champion, he needs to find his skills again to pass a series of challenges and save his daughter, who was kidnapped by vengeful Russians. (They’re mad because of something he did at the 1991 World Tetris Championships. Which were in Stockholm. I just can’t picture them anywhere but Stockholm.)