How Would a Good Zelda Movie Work?

The Master Sword in the Lost WoodsOnly a few movie adaptations of video games have actually been very successful, but Hyrule seems like the perfect place to explore on the big screen. Nintendo definitely hasn’t proven that their franchises work well as movies, but they haven’t tried developing a full-fledged official movie in over a decade. The only real question is could they make a Zelda movie that isn’t a total disappointment? Could Nintendo make a film that appeals to both film fanatics as well as Zelda fans? Hit the jump to read more!

It’s difficult to think about how a movie like that could even begin. Either Link could wake up and begin his adventure as he does in many of the games or, even better, the character of Link could be explored in a way that’s never been done before. Link’s childhood and family could be introduced to viewers on screen for the first time. A Zelda film would have to characterize Link’s personality and he would have to have (which will probably upset many Zelda fans) at least a few lines of dialogue. The film would progress through Link’s successes and failures, allowing him to adapt and grow in a way that’s a bit more complex than collecting new items to be stronger.

Link’s courage should be a huge focal point moving forward with a Zelda movie. The way that he seems courageous can be done effectively in the way that the role is cast. The actor who plays Link shouldn’t be a brute, threatening man but rather a slender actor who we can believe needs to be courageous and cunning more than just a wall of brute force. Link’s interaction with other characters in the film could add some humor, some drama, and some much needed personality to Link. To feel like a complete character, Link will need to talk constantly and make some friends and enemies along the way. His voice is the most important, so he should be heard often, but not so often that he comes across as wordy. Link doesn’t speak in the video games at all so his character in the film should be reserved but still powerful with his voice.

Princess Zelda needs to have her own story while Link’s traversing dangerous obstacles to give the audience a real connection to her. There needs to be a real immediate danger and sympathy for Zelda to make saving her the number one priority. While Link needs to be relatable, we really need Zelda to be a unique, relatable, and real character. I feel like this is the most difficult but most necessary part to make a Zelda movie feel more like a movie and less like a silly extended live-action cutscene.

GanondorfWhile Ganon would probably be the most obvious fit, any villain from the series could work with the same intensity. Introducing a completely new foe, however, might distance the film too much from the stories and characters already in place. Whoever the villain may be, they’ll definitely need a deep, emotional backstory. The most successful movies show the bad guy’s side of the story and I feel like it would work really well in a Zelda movie to put us inside the villain’s mind and show us why he feels like what he’s doing is for the best. We don’t necessarily need to agree with the choices of villains, but we need to at least understand why they’re thinking what they’re thinking.

New characters will have to be introduced to give the story depth and more opportunities for dialogue between characters. A partner to Link that he meets early on would work very well for dialogue. Epona could also play a huge role in being Link’s companion throughout his adventures, similar to movies like Hidalgo and War Horse. Much of Link’s dialogue could be directed at Epona as he thinks aloud, giving us a look at how Link’s feeling. As for Navi being Link’s companion, there isn’t really a way that she wouldn’t be awkward and obnoxious on screen. A CGI fairy floating around screaming at Link about what to do feels like it only works (just barely) in a video game. Navi isn’t important enough to warrant an awkward floating orb bouncing on screen. A talking fairy that chimes in constantly could really only damage the immersion of the film, since a story like this would require plenty of tension and dramatic moments.

As for the story, it would have to be Link saving Zelda. I can’t really see anything else being done in a Zelda movie. Since that’s the story in just about every game in the series, it would be the best way to introduce Zelda to the big screen. As long as Zelda has plenty of screen time and isn’t just a goal for Link, it could be done well. Link would have to find out things for himself though, instead of getting most of the information fed to him by townspeople or Navi, which would make the movie more exciting. I would love to watch as Link fails miserably and learns from his mistakes, until he finally earns his way to being a hero.

Lake HyliaA live-action film would be the best route to go, as animated cutscenes have already been done in the Zelda series and to make a movie it would have to be different enough to want to see. I’d love to see all aspects of Hyrule displayed, such as the bright fields, the darkness of temples, the bright blue Lake Hylia, and even Goron City. If everything is done simply and not too extravagantly, the movie could look really good. There are already many different designs for all these different settings so just a bit of tweaking and vision could make the backdrop to the story beautiful.

Unsurprisingly, a fairy tale styled movie that falls into the trope of “a hero saves a princess” is tough to pull off in general, but a live-action movie with popular characters will be even more difficult to craft into a great film. I think that people nowadays are smart enough to realize when a film is just trying to cash in on previous successes or if it actually took a lot of hard work to make. As long as the movie is relatable and believable, I think that a good Zelda movie is possible.

What do you think? Is there anything a Zelda movie would have to do to be successful? Should Nintendo even consider making a movie? Leave your comments below!