‘Monopoly’ Will Be Like Alice in Capitalism-Land

By  · Published on November 12th, 2009

Editor’s Note: This article contains some plot details, so don’t read it if you don’t wanna know ‘em.

I admit that I, too, scoffed at the idea of a Monopoly movie. I still do. It’s not just the cold I’ve been trying to beat for a few days.

Why do I scoff? Because the idea seems ridiculous. We all know it’s ridiculous. Even with Ridley Scott directing, we know the central concept is absurd. We also know that (as John Gholson from Cinematical brought up in this week’s Reject Radio), it’s one more step toward all-out commercials being paraded as films.

I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic or doomsday-like about the whole thing, especially when a bright, shiny, silver lining has just been added to the entire affair.

The Los Angeles Times did an interview with the man behind the story, Frank Beddor, who admitted that he hit upon it coming out of an experience writing a book that fictionalizes (even further) the characters from “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.” Essentially, he wanted to create a fantasy world that a human being suddenly finds himself a part of.

The Monopoly money quote here:

I created a comedic, lovable loser who lives in Manhattan and works at a real estate company and he’s not very good at his job but he’s great at playing Monopoly. And the world record for playing is 70 straight days – over 1,600 hours – and he wanted to try to convince his friends to help him break that world record. They think he is crazy. They kid him about this girl and they’re playing the game and there’s this big fight. And he’s holding a Chance card and after they’ve left he says, ‘Damn, I wanted to use that Chance card,’ and he throws it down. He falls asleep and then he wakes up in the morning and he’s holding the Chance card, and he thinks, ‘That’s odd.’”

What follows is the main character waking up to find his funds have been replaced by Monopoly money in the world of Monopoly City and he will have to face off against the evil Parker Brothers. Beddor also claimed that a ton of sight-gags were written in to utilize the icons of the board game like that damned shoe everyone always wants to be.

This sounds frightening to me.

Actually, to be fair, it sounds like a children’s movie that could be a campy sort of fun and have a schmaltzy gloss of studio playing-it-safe-ism that isn’t a total nightmare.

But man does it sound hokey. It sounds like a stock story where a guy who can’t be cool in this world finds success in a fantasy world where he moves from reference point to reference point so that people can yell, “I recognize that from the game!” Who wants to bet he’ll end up going to jail? Who wants to bet he’ll somehow stumble upon some lucky free parking? Who wants to bet he’ll get peed on by a Scottie dog?

I’m gonna love this thing in spite of myself, aren’t I?

Aren’t I?

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