Can ‘Space Invaders’ Do Any Better Than ‘Battleship?’

By  · Published on July 18th, 2014


Cross another item off the list of “things I am marginally aware of that have yet to be made into a movie.” Space Invaders, the classic arcade game you’ve probably picked up at some point in your life, is getting the filmic treatment from Warner Bros. The Wrap reports Akiva Goldsman, of Fringe, I Am Legend and, most recently, A Winter’s Tale, is producing the great pixelated epic, along with Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell.

This isn’t the first time Warners has tried to get a Space Invaders movie off the ground. In 2010, the studio sent another band of producers to Taito, the Japanese company behind the game, to bend a knee and beg for the rights. It didn’t work out. This time, though, all the parties are aligned.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “What? No. Space Invaders has almost nothing of substance that could translate into a movie. It’s just a basic game layout with a mildly iconic ship design. There isn’t a movie here.” And you’d be right. But you’d also be forgetting Battleship, which took a few similar-sized scraps of source material and managed to glue them together in a way that resembled a feature film.

But Battleship was a Michael Bay-inspired mess of moving parts and incoherency, which begs the question: can Space Invaders do any better?

Space Invaders is just begging for the same playbook – a big-budget invasion film with brave and intrepid humans facing off against a technocentric alien menace. Battleship turned those little white and red pegs into missiles launched by the extraterrestrial warships, embedding themselves into the hulls of our own ships before making a large boom. Space Invaders, meanwhile, has those little alien meanies that have been so culturally enduring. And I will bet you $20,000, right now, that the baddies will be some kind of modern, Transformers-ian update on the classic design.

Battleship also found a place to play a game of real life Battleship, which was not ridiculous at all.

If Battleship can come up with a variation on “E-11…,” “Miss!,” then Space Invaders will surely find a way to drive a tank under an archway while rows of spaceships descend in a slow and orderly fashion. Most assuredly, it’ll be as overt a wink to the audience as Battleship’s version.

Let’s say Space Invaders does go the Battleship route, and that it does all the things we expect of it. It needs to correct some of the latter’s more obvious mistakes by casting leads less wooden than Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna and designing the aliens (the pilots, not the ships) with a little more flair. Also, Goldsman and the rest should forget the scene where Earth’s last-ditch survival plan is a gaggle of extremely aged senior citizens manning a warship while rocking out to AC/DC. Was that supposed to be funny or patriotic? It’s still not clear.

Ditch all that mess, and Space Invaders might be a bona fide success. Or at least a bona fide not-Battleship. Which, frankly, would be a success in and of itself.