So You're Making A Bionicle Movie...

Tried to post this, but the topic got locked for some reason? If anyone wants to actually explain why I would be happy to discuss that, but for now I’ll just repost it, see if I can’t get some discussion going.

So this is a bit of wishful thinking here, but bear with me. Pretend for a moment that somehow, a major Hollywood studio looking for their next big hit franchise has decided to greenlight a Bionicle movie, independent of the current Lego movie universe. Somehow, you’ve wound up in charge of it, with a moderate-to-large budget and a huge team of artists and crew backing you up, and even a few A-list actors open to the idea of being involved. But the question is, what would you do with all that? How would you write it? What kind of visual style would you go for? How would you market it? And arguably most important of all, how would you convince general audiences to care enough to see it in theaters?

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I think such a could be done in live action, but it would require a tremendous budget. They could use motion capture to make the characters, and make them CGI with those motions.
Just think about it. A fully CGI world, with fully CGI characters and creatures, and no humans in the entire movie. This is definitely something I think people are going to look forward into. Avatar turned out to be the highest grossing movie of all times purely just because of this reason. Also, I see people very commonly complain that Hollywood has run out of ideas, pretty much most of the movies being sequels or remakes of older movies. Something as fresh as Bionicle would for sure be on such people’s list.
But of course, there needs to be marketing push. A lot of marketing push. We need this movie to be the next big hit in cinema, so we need to be sure that everyone knows it’s coming up. This movie should be released at a perfect date, when it’s not competing with any other major studio release, and even people who weren’t originally planning to see the movie and they just decided to went see a movie, seeing that this movie is the only good option, they might check it out.

So yeah, if those I mentioned are done properly, a Bionicle movie could be the next hit in Hollywood.
But the question still remains though… What studio would want to risk their money into such a movie? Unless one of the people on this site end up working at Hollywood and convince the studio they are working for to give it a try, I don’t see how it could happen.

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I feel like motion capture is kinda pushing it.

That said, they’ve already got Animal Logic doing the Lego movies, and they did an absolutely stellar job on Legend of the Guardians.

I feel like something to the tune of ILM’s work on Rango would be pretty neat with all that dedication to grime, greeble, and all-around strangeness. That’s pretty much perfect for Bionicle’s aesthetic.

Shoot, you could even get Mark Mothersbaugh back to do the score, or go for Daniel Pemberton or Elliot Goldenthal. People that can be both sweeping and epic, and also echo of the strangeness of Bionicle’s early music from MNOG and the Power Pack.

It’d be walking the line of too alien to be marketable, and being a fresh and appealing take on typical fantasy tropes, but with the right push it could work.

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It’s just me and my brother and friends playing around with the figures, our arms in shot and our fake voices clearly heard. That is the only proper way to get the authentic nostalgic feel.

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Nah man we gotta take it further.

It’s just one 8-year-old kid doing all the voices

and sounds effects

and music

and there’s a 40-minute-intermission in the middle ‘cuz he got called to dinner.

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I would make the movie as accurate to the sets and story as possible, and begin with a 2001 movie (unlike mask of light) to help people understand what’s everything about. after that I would make all the other movies step by step, slowly building the franchise.

First off, the plot would definitely be the 2001 story. Nothing more. Nothing less. Open with the legend and fade to a canister washing up on the beach. Maybe have Tahu or Onua pop out and build themselves up. Each toa gets a solid amount of screentime with Takua and the Matoran getting more background roles. Include some scenes of rahi fighting and mask hunting. End it all with the big Makuta boss fight. Maybe have it not have the elemental beam struggle like in Mnog. Also the Kaita should be foreshadowed early on. That makes their appearance in the end more exciting.

The animation would be a stylized 2d art style. Nothing really like Mnog. Maybe closer to the 2015 animations. But to cinematic standards.

Voice actors I’m actually not sure about. That’d be something I’d have to think long and hard on.

And marketing. I would 100% go for the mystery angle that the original toyline did. Give the audience just enough to peek their interests and leave them wanting more. Wanting a conclusion. To solve the mystery.

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To bee fair I don’t see how a 2D animated Movie that isn’t Disney would work with such a hard property to adapt. As we all know, 2D animation has kinda died in recent years, attempts to revive it either failing or under performing at the box office.
Also, thinking about a target demographic is really important. I would rather have the movie be marketed to teens and adults rather than kids. Probably a PG 13 rated movie.
So yeah, if this is the audience you want, I think it would much rather have to be a live action movie that uses motion capture rather than a 2D animated movie. We have seen how mass CGI and effects have drawn people to the theaters in the past, Avatar being a prime example of that. If we want this movie to be a hit, I think this is the way to go.

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I think it’d fare fine under a PG rating.

That’s part of why I made the Rango comparison. That movie didn’t do bonkers at the box office but it did fine.

And it had the kind of animation and bit of an edge that would work well with Bionicle. You don’t necessarily need a PG-13 for that. Plus Lego is really big on their family-friendly image, and a PG-13 rating is a much more glaring spot on that than any content within the movie itself.

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If you are going to adapt the 2001 story, you could easily get away with a PG rating. But if you are going to make a full franchise, you would get to PG 13 eventually, especially if you are going to end up adapting years such as 2006.

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This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

My first goal would be to capture the mystery of the original line. I’d make sure all the marketing is vague imagery that captures the imagination of the public. Posters: A canister washed up on a golden beach. A strange hive-like structure shrouded in a green mist. A seemingly ancient carving of a mask (Hau) into dark, mossy rock. Only thing to go on would be the one unifying word - Bionicle. These would be the early phase marketing posters, before details of the film start being revealed, just as a hook. Some will recognise the name and know what’s going on, some won’t, the only objective here is just to recapture that mystery.

Marketing phase 2: ARG. My favourite idea so far is to build 6 life size toa canisters, and place them on beaches around the world - get social media talking. This is the imagery you want people to remember, have the canisters make people think “oh, that’s bionicle” - same way Harry Potter has the ‘lightning’ scar, and Star Wars have the Imperial Star Destroyers. That’s what set the toys apart back in the day and that’s what will set the films apart now.

Then obviously you have the teasers, trailers, movie posters where you start to reveal the plot a little more.

Film itself? The Lego Movie shows that you can make a fully animated movie look realistic, so we go that route utilizing motion capture to make the movement feel real - akin to Ceasar in Planet of the Apes or Ultron. Obviously story-wise, we start with 2001, focus on the Toa, but of all the Matoran you want to be focusing on Matoro - have him be the character people can relate to.

Regarding sequels, 02, 03, skip Metru Nui (this will be brought up later) - probably skim over the Bohrok Kal and have the third film just be Mask of Light. Instead use the Bohrok Kal as generals of the Bohrok in 02, answering only to the Bahrag - this is a departure but you still want to give fans the Kal even if it is in a new context. Throughout these sequels, make sure to keep giving a good amount of screen time to Matoro and progressively start introducing the soon-to-be Inika as his friends. Have them be pivotal to helping the Toa defeat Makuta when you get to the Mask of Light storyline.

These first three films should all have a consistent feel - I suggest the soundtrack should be composed all by the same person: Mick Gordon. Listen to his work on killer instinct, he knows how to merge genres. It should sound tribal at it’s core (focus on drums), with electronic / rock when the action kicks in to give it that extra punch.

With the initial trilogy done we move onto the Ignition trilogy where we make Matoro the main character. We’ve already set him and his friends up, the audience have seen them develop into braver characters so it’s not going to be jarring with a new set of Toa. With this new trilogy you want to be changing things up; audiences are familiar with what Bionicle is and now you want to start really playing up the darker tone 06 introduced. Start the film with the Toa Nuva being defeated, let them know the Piraka mean business.

Another thing to change up is the soundtrack. Yes, one composer can be versatile but you want a fresh take, so for Ignition you bring on Front Line Assembly. Listen to their songs Beneath The Rubble, Dopamine and Unleashed. These sound Bionicle to me, and the high intensity heavy industrial rock will match the literally universe ending stakes.

We all know what happens, Mata Nui Awakens, yadda yadda. End the film series with the Bara Magna saga and a battle between Mata Nui and Makuta of epic proportions. Every punch sending earthquakes across the planet. This is the storyline I’ve thought least about, perhaps bring Mick Gordon back for the soundtrack to capture some of that nostalgia for the first three films and bring it full circle.

Then… finished… or is it? We still have the Metru Nui saga to cover and tonnes of other material that could be adapted - introducing BIONICLE Legends; a series of stories set throughout the Bionicle saga akin to the Star Wars spin-offs. Here you can have single one-off movies or tell a story across multiple like the Toa Metru / Hordika storyline. Yeah, I got ahead of myself with this, very few franchises have the luxury of this many follow-ups, but it’s fun to think about.

Now, casting; the only casting I’m dead set on is Jeremy Irons as Turaga Vakama. I think he would really sell this former Toa, who deep down still yearns for that adventure.

Sorry, this was a lot of words and I probably made an unholy amount of typos and sentences that make no sense. I wrote this in a frenzy of “OMG I CAN FINALLY TALK ABOUT THIS”.

EDIT: Forgot to mention one thing: first thing I’d do is bring on Farshtey and Faber as producers and story advisers - making a Bionicle movie without them involved would be blasphemy.

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That sounds great, but I’d rather have the orginal Bionicle soundtracks and Cryoshell do the songs

I’d like to have actual Cryoshell songs worked into the years which they composed for, and maybe produce new songs for the years they weren’t around for whether they just be credits songs or actually worked into the movie for a specific scene - but I feel like they wouldn’t be quite as suited to soundtracks as they are to composing self contained songs. I don’t have any evidence to back that up, it’s just a feeling.

Plus, I don’t know if Cryoshell would be capable of the genre merging Mick Gordon is capable of. Also, regarding the original soundtracks, Mick Gordon, when working on an existing IP, shows huge respect for the original songs; always implementing elements of them into his work and it works incredibly well - while the original soundtracks for 01 - 03 are great, they could do with somebody like Mick Gordon who could give them that extra punch. E.g. Listen to the original Cinder theme from Killer Instinct, then Mick Gordons remake.

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Boy, does your idea sound fantastic. This advertising ideas you came up with are definitely something worth of praise in my opinion!

Though it would be great to have this new composer you mentioned, Cryroshell’s songs should definitely make an appearance, maybe at the end credits or something.

Now, there is one obstacle that needs to be passed: LEGO. Of course, such a project would be completely independent from LEGO, unless they would be ready to support it, but without having any control over it. Would they approve the rights for such a movie? Or would they just disapprove it? What do you think?

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I believe their reasoning is that this is not separate enough to deserve its own topic, so it was instead merged with this broader topic and closed instead.

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Cryoshell should definitely have an appearance, having one of their songs kick off the end credits (the song appropriate for that ‘year’ of bionicle, with new songs produced for 01 - 06) would be a very nice touch I think.

Regarding LEGO; if this movie was being made let’s say 10 - 12 years ago, I can see them being very protective over the brand and wanting full control, but it’s been almost 10 years since the original was cancelled and since then there’s been a reboot which didn’t do too well. I don’t see them being that protective over it now - maybe only having notes like “no harsh language, no blood, nothing above PG-13”. Even then though, LEGO were very lenient with what Phil Lord and Chris Miller could do with The LEGO Movie - in fact it’s the fact LEGO said they can basically do whatever they want that made Lord and Miller want to work on it; and this wasn’t a movie about some long cancelled, seemingly unprofitable theme, this was their entire brand at stake.

Obviously, they would still want a good movie, but as long as we’re not pitching a borderline horror movie that’s rated 18, I don’t see them having many issues. I mean, I see people discussing what the age rating should be, but the thing is unless you’re really trying, I see no reason why Bionicle would go anywhere above PG-13 / PG in england. To make it rated 18 you’d need them swearing, having sex and tearing eachother apart with blood spewing out of them - and at this point it wouldn’t be Bionicle.

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I’d film it either in the classic all CG style or risk the Bayformers-esque aesthetic that would result from a live-action adaptation.

Writing would be something I’d try my darnedest to not tamper with very much as Bionicle is pretty unique; I’d try to maintain the spirit of its writing and leave a lot of that work to the writers, of which Greg Farshtey would undoubtedly be invited to join.

Marketing would be done with LEGO, because it’s their IP after all, but it would be very clearly and recognizably done. Specifically, I won’t have it rely on word of mouth like G2 did but have cereal companies, video game companies like Nintendo or the like, books, comics, commercials on public channels most people watch, interviews on talk shows with the cast and crew, social media campaigns…to make promotional material for the movie appropriate to their medium. TLDR is that I’d try to make sure as many people as possible knew this was happening and that they remember it for all the positive reasons rather than it being a case of either getting overhyped or becoming almost unheard of like G2’s promotion.

Getting general audiences to care enough to watch it would probably be the hardest part but I’d try to use people’s nostalgia for the Bionicle line, some star power (big name A-list actors’ influence) and the new story to get people interested. Yes, it would be Bionicle but it would be something new (what that new thing would be is something the marketing, promotion and writing staff would make and hype up) that folks would find interesting. Something that would get me hyped is if Makuta Teridax (or someone that would make a similar impact) was shown to be the big bad and was just a pure evil and intelligent as Teridax (if Teridax himself isn’t going to be it) and show his power and the power of the Toa.

The rating is probably gonna be PG-13 at the highest for the intense thematic elements and sequences (such as the combat and the powers of the Toa and their foes) and keep it true to being family friendly as Lego stuff tends to be.

Long story short for the getting folks to see it in theaters, I’d try to make them want to see what happens after seeing a taste of the power of the heroes and villains and the beauty of the setting.

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Yeah, but wouldn’t they be angry that the movie is making money off their property (even though they no longer care about it?) [quote=“BlackBeltGamer98, post:17, topic:49716”]
I’d film it either in the classic all CG style or risk the Bayformers-esque aesthetic that would result from a live-action adaptation.
[/quote]

I think risking the Live action version would be the best option. Sure, it’s risky, but I am pretty sure the general audience would be more interested in a live action PG 13 movie than an animated PG 13 movie.

Also, regarding the movie’s shooting: I think it would be great if the movie was shooted either in Denmark (off which many of the original landscapes were inspired) either in the Pacific (to fit the tribal-island setting of 2001).

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Oh, obviously they’d be involved and have a cut of the profits, similar to the situation Hasbro has with the Transformers movies. Difference there is I assume Hasbro approached Paramount, whereas here it would be our hypothetical movie studio approaching Lego.

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Having Cryoshell do the score could actually be really interesting. It’s not like there’s no precedence for artists being brought on to do a movie or game soundtrack despite a lack of experience in that field. That opens up the potential for a really fresh take on the medium.

Tangerine Dream for Risky Business and Legend, Queen for Flash Gordon, M83 for Oblivion, Arcade Fire for Her, HEALTH for Max Payne 3, Galactic for (some of) Infamous 2

if we could get something comparable to all this from Cryoshell that’d be amazing.

Just…don’t let it be like Pitbull for Gotti.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about be grateful.

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