The Borderlands Movie Trailer Has Me More Concerned than Hopeful

It was having a normal day, writing about my favorite Yakuza games, and I liked it that way. I had just sat down after my evening tea to relax and just take a breather. I guess someone did not agree. Because lo and behold, we finally got our first look at the Borderlands movie that night itself. As a gamer who has seen way too many video game adaptations go wrong (and some good; shout out to The Last of Us), I was naturally cautious. Borderlands is a game series I’ve occasionally played with friends, and the world of Pandora has always mesmerized me.

However, after going through the trailer and the images, I have some huge concerns that I need to share. And I’ll say this right now: they aren’t positive. Frankly, it’s a shame because Borderlands has been a comfort game I go back to from time to time and spend time with my friends. While I usually don’t like to share my opinion with strangers on the Internet (blatant lie, I love it), it is different this time. So, why am I not so enthusiastic about the upcoming Borderlands movie? Let’s talk about it.

A Curious Case of Casting

Borderlands casting movie teaser
Image Courtesy: Lionsgate/Borderlands

The first thing I saw about the upcoming movie adaptation was the two official images. Seeing them immediately sent warning bells ringing in my head. Right off the bat, it looks like the casting has not only missed the bullseye but maybe the entire board.

For starters, Cate Blanchett has been picked to play Lilith. And while I adore her acting, this role doesn’t appear to fit her at all. It’s made worse when you consider that Lilith should be somewhere in her early 30s by the time Borderlands 3 happened.

And while I can ignore Cate’s casting because of how amazing she is, the costume design also does not help. I know Lilith has one of the most simplistic designs in the game. However, even her outfit had a lot of personality attached to it. In this case, it feels like another leather jacket just thrown on a person. It somehow just feels cheap in a way I cannot describe. Maybe it’s just my perspective as a gamer but some things don’t translate well in live-action.

Cate Blanchette as Lilith
Image Credit: Lionsgate/Borderlands

Similarly, Kevin Hart, an actor synonymous with light-hearted roles in Hollywood, has shouldered the mantle of Roland. Roland is one of the serious characters in Borderlands. Giving that character to someone who has mostly done light-hearted, comedic roles “does not invoke any confidence” in my mind.

The only two people looking great are Krieg (Florian Munteanu) and Claptrap (Jack Black, will also appear in the upcoming Minecraft Movie). But I don’t think you can mess those two up, especially when one has to be CGI.

The Official Trailer Gave Me Mixed Signals

Now, let’s talk about the official trailer that gave us brief glimpses of the cast in action. If I’m honest, I am left with mixed feelings. The trailer looks like a high-budget yet cheap knock-off parody of the franchise. However, I was pleased to see that the movie understands the humor and tone we have come to love in Borderlands games.

But some things do stick out like a sore thumb. I cannot reiterate how much the current actors feel miscast in their roles. No disrespect to any of them since they are great actors of the highest caliber. But seeing them in action further makes the movie look awkward. It feels like 2K and Gearbox gave studio director Randy Pitchford the duties of selecting his cast.

But when I look past those problems, the trailer gives the notion that it isn’t taking itself seriously. And that the movie is embracing its craziness to the heart. If they’re going for an original storyline, like a “soft reboot” of sorts, I can see this movie working.

If they are setting this movie up in the existing Borderland timeline, I don’t see how this movie will make any sense. But I strongly believe it’s the former.

I guess I have to give this movie some credit since Eli Roth took care of the direction duties if the movie manages to pull it off. While his track record is a subjective matter, the movies he made are fun.

However, if you consider the weird production timeline for this movie, my wariness is only further justified. Borderlands has been in production since 2015, and it wasn’t until 2019 that the movie found Eli Roth as its director.

Then, the movie started production in 2021, wrapping its shoot in June of the same year. However, reports of Tim Miller reshooting scenes for two weeks in 2023 were revealed. It is weird to exclude the original director and bring over a different director for reshoot.

The last time something like this happened, we got a movie called Justice League; except that got to end its story gloriously. I cannot expect Lionsgate to give the same treatment to a video game movie tie-in. But then again, even games such as Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League didn’t do that well either.

Assassins Creed Trailer Still
Image Courtesy: 20th Century Studios/YouTube

See, being a gamer, nothing makes me happier than seeing a great game to movie adaptation. And we have had some great ones over the years. Movies like the Illumination Mario and Sonic movies were fun to watch. However, bad adaptations have plagued gamers for a long time now.

“Hopefully, the release will bury most of my doubts about the movie, and we will get ourselves a promising adventure in Pandora.”

Movies like Assassin’s Creed, the Uncharted movie, the heaps of Uwe Boll movies, and the latter Resident Evil movies have left a painful aftertaste in my mouth. Hopefully, the release will bury most of my doubts about the movie, and we will get ourselves a promising adventure in Pandora. But if I’m honest, I’m not holding my breath.

What do you think about the upcoming Borderlands movie? Did you like what you saw? Let us know in the comments below.

comment Comments 0
Leave a Reply