In 2003, Ubisoft released Beyond Good & Evil, a unique near-future sci-fi action-adventurer featuring Jade, a photojournalist who teams up with an underground resistance movement (which, yes, includes an anthropomorphized, fighting pig) to stop an oppressive, alien-controlled society. The game wasn’t a huge, smash hit, but was critically acclaimed, and has earned enough of a cult following to earn both an HD remaster in 2011, and a brand-spankin’-new sequel announced in 2017 (it has since been in the works with no release date announced). Now, the Beyond Good & Evil-verse will expand into the world of feature films. Per the Hollywood Reporter, the game will get a Netflix movie adaptation courtesy of director Rob Letterman.
Letterman’s CV is full of big, action-oriented films that play to the whole family and feature the intersection of live-action and CGI effects, especially his recent adaptations Goosebumps and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. That latter film, in particular, has a satisfyingly tactile feeling production design, with a reimagining of what “live-action Pokémon” would look like that draws you in even as you know they’re a CGI creation talking to real people. He’s a keen choice to adapt a property that feels humans interacting with all kinds of creatures (including that dang pig), and with the relative darkness of the material, it looks like he’s ready to jump into PG-13 or up territory, too.
This is also an understandable move for Netflix, whose last R-rated, mid-budget action films Extraction and The Old Guard have proven to be smash hits for the streaming service. Why wouldn’t they want more? Even all of these properties’ subject matters of mercenaries and resistance forces have similarities, and The Old Guard is similarly an adaptation of a cult hit that doesn’t have a huge mainstream following. If they play it correctly, Beyond Good & Evil could be the next huge action hit for the streamer, and give the passionate fans of the game some wonderful vindication.
For more on video game movies, here’s my appreciation of Mortal Kombat.