Before I even knew about Godzilla or King Kong, my eight-year-old self punched down buildings, helicopters, and planes, while also eating tons of humans in the NES video game “Rampage”. The game was my introduction to giant monsters. The plot was simple, I was playing as a mutated human who grew into a giant lizard, wolf or gorilla and beat down high-rises, all while the government tries to take me down. Destroying America resulted in the game congratulating me for all of my wasted hours.
When New Line Cinema announced that they’d be adapting the arcade game into a feature film, while I was excited, it felt a little late considering there’s already King Kong, Godzilla, Pacific Rim and even Jurassic Park. What’s different about Rampage? Early (unconfirmed) plot details leaked online last week, which revealed an extremely new take on not only the game’s story but also the giant monster movie.
This weekend, Rampage star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took to Instagram and all but confirmed the reports, explaining:
“I head up an anti poaching unit out of Rwanda. My best friend is a rare albino gorilla named, George. Very bad people infect George, an alligator and a wolf with a serum. All three animals grow at an unprecedented rate. Their size, speed, agility and violent aggression is off the charts. They go on a deadly rampage and want to destroy the world. George not happy. Me not happy. When animals like you, they lick you. When they don’t like you, they kill you. I will hunt down the bad people who did this to my best friend. And when I find them, I will not lick them.
“We have the best VFX monster making team (WETA) on the planet. Our actors and crew have been working very hard to raise the monster genre bar. As always, let’s have some fun. Let’s shoot.”
Here’s what is fairly new and different about Rampage: Johnson’s character can communicate with the giant ape. What the leaked reports and Johnson allude to is that George, the giant gorilla, is the film’s protagonist and will be working alongside Johnson to fight both Lizzie (the lizard) and Ralph (the wolf/werewolf). While many reports have been mocking and laughing at this direction, I think it’s awesome because it gives Rampage something no other giant monster movie has ever had: a monster with character that also has the ability to communicate. I think that’s cool as fuck.
However, if director Brad Peyton is willing to suspend disbelief to this extent, why not have the giant monsters be mutated humans instead of changing them to animals?
Ryan Engle wrote the original draft of the adaptation, and Adam Sztykiel most recently came in to do some revisions. Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condal also worked on the script.
The ensemble cast also includes Naomie Harris (28 Days Later), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“The Walking Dead”), Malin Akerman (The Final Girls), as well as Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”), Jake Lacy (“Girls”), Marley Shelton (Planet Terror), PJ Byrne (Final Destination 5), Jack Quaid (Tragedy Girls), Matt Gerald (Bright) and Breanne Hill (San Andreas).
Get ready to Rampage on April 20, 2018.