The Monopoly Movie Is A Go: Here's Some Inspiration From The Game's Long History

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According to a post from Screenrant earlier this summer, the long-rumored Monopoly movie is officially happening. The film will be a product of a partnership between board game company Hasbro and Lionsgate, and Andrew Niccol (perhaps best known for having written The Truman Show) is writing a script. The same report provided a small synopsis of the film, which will evidently center on a boy who starts his life at Baltic Avenue and uses classic game elements (Chance and Community Chests) to find success, all while "avoiding jail time of course." The idea as it's presented is meant to be an adventurous and uplifting film for families.

This is a far cry from what previous rumors of a cinematic Monopoly adaptation have suggested, with the wildest idea being that Ridley Scott would direct some kind of bizarre fantasy epic in which a couple of nefarious brothers get sucked into a game board fraught with danger. Nevertheless, it's a concept that lends itself to unlimited possibilities when it comes to employing concepts from the Monopoly game.

Or should I say, games. While the classic version will always prevail in most of our minds, Monopoly has been so beloved over the decades that it's spawned countless spinoffs and adaptations, with the result being that there are entire collections of various types of Monopoly games. Drawing on this deep and rich history, here are some fun ideas for things we'd like to see in the coming movie.

Hints Of A Game Board World

Earlier this summer, Business Insider reported that a mall in Dubai had created a life-size Monopoly board in celebration of the board game's 80th anniversary. The board was functional; big enough to walk on, but not so big as to require more space than what one might find in a typical Mall lobby or atrium. But what if the coming film imagines something bigger? I wouldn't suggest the whole film be played out on a board, because that would probably be more tedious than entertaining. However, a hint here and there that the whole world has boundaries or takes place in a gaming realm of some kind would be intriguing, not to mention perfectly in line with Niccol's Truman Show background. Perhaps at a certain point at the end of a nondescript neighborhood, the ground becomes a giant inexplicable bill (signifying the way players put Monopoly money under the edges of game boards). Anything like that would add a mystifying component to the world within the movie.

A Dice Game For Jail

The synopsis already mentions, albeit cheekily, that part of the focus of the movie will be on avoiding jail. Well, it would be a brilliant homage to a more obscure chapter of Monopoly's history if this aspect of the movie involved a game of dice. As explained in detail at Board Game Geek, there was just such a game called "Don't Go To Jail" that spun the Monopoly concept into a smaller, dice-based game. Players rolled 10 dice in a turn, collecting properties according to how they landed, but if three dice showed "Go," "To," and "Jail," the turn was over. Having the protagonist land in a game like this to determine his freedom would be an excellent touch.

A Gambling Touch

The dice game would certainly represent a form of gambling, but having the protagonist try his hand at an actual casino game with riches on the line could also be a blast. Sure, this is expected to be a family film, but casino gaming is actually tied pretty closely to the original board game. While most of the game's spinoffs over time have essentially been different versions of the same format, the online casino industry has used Monopoly themes in conjunction with regulars table and arcade games. Betfair's gaming hub even has a version of roulette that's loosely designed like a Monopoly gaming board, and named "Hot Properties." Given that many are familiar with Monopoly in this context, a gambling adventure within the movie would be a nice treat for adults.

The Monopoly Man

The Monopoly Man—or more accurately, Rich Uncle Pennybags—is easily the most recognizable character in board game history. Made Man actually ranked him fifth in a countdown of these characters but did so with a clear preference for Clue characters (who occupied the top-four spots). Really, there's no debate. Pennybags' face adorns each and every Monopoly game ever made, regardless of the varying themes and board destinations therein, and he's an absolutely necessary character for the movie. The question won't be whether or not he's involved, but who gets to play the part. My own preference is Bryan Cranston, though he's not portly enough and would be somewhat unconventional.

Let this serve as the beginning of the speculation! In the next year or so, we'll likely find out a lot more about what exactly this movie will be, and whether or not any of the above elements are taken into account.

Sep
16
2015

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