Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Believe In ‘Dragon’s Lair’ As A Film

Nearly 40 years after the classic game debuted in arcades, Ryan Reynolds and Netflix are teaming to bring it to the screen, but why didn’t such a popular franchise get a movie sooner? When it comes to video games, what’s old is new again, popping up in everything including Netflix’s Stranger Things.

Plans for a feature-length adaptation of Dragon’s Lair have been in the works since well after the game’s debut back in the 1980s. In the past, there was also a short cartoon series that debuted on ABC in 1984, as well as a comic miniseries that hit store shelves in 2003.

The game was a massive hit, generating over $34 million for publisher Cinematronics over its first year of release in 1983. Dragon’s Lair has been credited with turning around the “arcade slump” of 1983-1985 and is also noted for being the first arcade offering to cost 50 cents per play.

Unlike popular platformers like the arcade-centric Mario Bros. that released in the same year, Dragon’s Lair didn’t feature dedicated “run” or “jump” buttons. In fact, player input was somewhat minimal. Each scene required players to make the correct move at the right time, timed to the buttons appearing onscreen. 

The lines between games and movies are blurring to the point where titles like Detroit: Become Human or Marvel’s Spider-Man feel more like blockbusters than console-based affairs, and it’s only serving to push the industry ever-forward. We’ve even seen projects like Cuphead adopt traditional animation styles in the same vein. Dragon’s Lair’s influence is widespread, whether you realize it or not. 

Oddly, it’s never been transformed into a film just yet. So it should come as no surprise that, with its pop culture resurgence, the animated masterpiece is also seeing a “rebirth” of sorts in the form of an upcoming movie with Bluth as part of a partnership with producer and partner Gary Goldman (Anastasia, Titan A.E.). Bluth and Goldman previously took to Indiegogo with a successful campaign for their film, which is being lovingly referred to as Dragon’s Lair: The Movie. The fans have spoken, and they want to see more of Dirk and Daphne. 

It’s time to revisit the Dragon’s Lair, whether you’re playing on Nintendo Switch or simply waiting to see what happens with the upcoming pic. So lead on, adventurers! Your quest awaits — just like it always has.

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