Do you know what never happens when you're watching a movie? The film freezes and an option appears: "Should Timmy attempt an escape from the evil robot or stand his ground and fight?" What never happens next is you make a decision that decides where the plot goes next and deal with the consequences, even if it means your hero meeting a quick and sudden end only a few minutes into the adventure.
That's what makes the news (that we first saw reported over at CHUD) that the Choose Your Own Adventure book series may be heading for the big screen slightly baffling . The books, a childhood staple for just about anyone who grew up in the '80s and '90s, took readers on a myriad of strange, colorful adventures, frequently pausing and asking you to make a decision for the protagonists. Different decisions took you to different pages, continuing the story in wildly diverging directions with multiple outcomes (which often meant, as many adventurous young folks learned, death by abominable snowman or being sucked into space via a faulty airlock).
Cool kid's lit for sure, but a movie? Red Crown Productions thinks so and they've struck a deal with the series' publisher Chooseco to bring these adventures to a theater near you. There's no shortage of potential storylines (there are nearly 200 books in the series), but which one do you pick? Do you try to combine several of them into one big epic adventure? More importantly, how do you account for what made the books popular in the first place: the interactivity.
Some movie fans may recall the 1995 movie 'Mr. Payback,' which allowed audiences to vote for what happens next using joysticks attached to their seats, but that was a critical disaster and would possibly rank among one of the worst films of the decade if anyone actually cared to remember it.
Still, 'Choose Your Own Adventure' is a name with brand recognition, so going by Hollywood rules, it must be made. Will they try to bring back a system that allows audiences to vote on what happens next with various outcomes? Maybe it will be like a kid-friendly 'Run Lola Run,' with the film frequently rewinding every time the characters make a tragic error. Heck, maybe they'll go full-blown meta with it and feature a kid reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book and what he reads gets "acted out" for us. Of course, that take would only bring up questions of whether or not the reader is a judgmental God of the 'Choose' universe, which is a bit heavy for the target audience.
If this project gains traction, we shall see soon enough.