It was only a matter of time. We’ve had movies based on a ton of video games (Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Super Mario Bros., so many more) and even the occasional board game (listen, they did the impossible with Battleship). People love mining existing intellectual property for totally unnecessary adaptations! So why not? Why not go back in time to the early days of arcade games? Why not make Pac-Man into a movie? He’s already been a cartoon.
Well. It all makes sense, in our modern world, until you read a few key words: live-action Pac-Man movie.
The iconic yellow chomper is headed to the screen courtesy of Justin Baldoni, an actor (Jane the Virgin) who also directed the 2019 movie Five Feet Apart. Though absolutely nothing is known about the story, it’s by Chuck Williams, a producer on Sonic the Hedgehog. Bandai Namco Entertainment, the Japanese video game company that created the game, is also involved.
Do you have questions? I have questions. Will we learn the traumatic backstories of the ghosts? The romantic origins of Pac-Man’s relationship with Ms. Pac-Man? What’s with the fruit, anyway? What happens when you eat ghosts? Why does he make that noise? Why did someone make a YouTube video that’s just 12 hours of the Pac-Man noise? Would you wear Pac-Man to the beach?
What you may not know, as I did not know, is that there are a lot of Pac-Man games. You can play a Pac-Man game on just about any console, or your phone, or wherever you want (not just on the greasy tabletop game at the pizza parlor like in the ’80s). On first glance, none of these games really seem to have a deep mythos from which to pull for a live-action film, but perhaps they contain hidden depths.
Pac-Man is not the only seemingly weird choice for a game-related film that’s in the works. There’s a Matchbox cars movie. There’s an “action heist comedy” based on the card game Uno. I’m a little bit surprised there isn’t a Stratego movie yet. But give it time.