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LOS ANGELES (CAP) - The timetable for the new 20th Century Fox production, Q*bert: The Movie, has been announced, and the live-action film based on the early '80s arcade game by Gottlieb should be in theatres in time for the holiday season this year.
The film, directed by Kevin Smith, features Jim Carrey as the orange fuzzball Q*bert, an affable yet occasionally surly creature who seems unable to break out of his simplistic view of life as a series of cubes that are either one color or another with but a few directions to turn at any given time. Many critics say it could be Academy Award material.
"Jim Carrey is at his nimble best in this gay-themed film," said Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper. "As we're taken back to the simpler days of 1983, we see how we've become boxed into our own lives, always seeking that hovering magical disk for a quick escape.
"Kevin Smith has truly outdone himself," added Roeper. "And if Gene Siskel weren't dead and Roger Ebert all but dead, I know they'd agree with me."
True to form for Kevin Smith films, Q*bert stars a number of his cinematic mainstays, including Jason Lee as Q*bert's enemy Coily the snake, Ethan Suplee as Ugg the purple pig, and Jason Mewes and himself as the green creatures Slick and Sam. Joey Lauren Adams plays Carrey's love interest, Wrong-Way the gremlin.
"When you're in a Kevin Smith film, you are totally immersed in that Kevin Smith film," Jim Carrey told the celebrity gossip site TMZ. "When I wasn't shooting, I played Q*bert over and over and over so I could get inside the head of that little guy and better understand where he was coming from.
"And when shooting finally wrapped, I had a high score of 10,225," Carrey added. "I totally nailed that character."
The film's release before the end of the year not only keeps it in Oscar consideration for this year, but also pits it head-to-head with the new Miramax film Dig Dug Goes To Washington, scheduled to be in theatres around the same time. In Dig Dug, Tom Cruise stars as an underground digger who finds himself up against the dual forces of Pookas (Democrats) and Fygars (Republicans) as he takes on the unenviable task of single-handedly trying to turn around a flailing economy.
Some critics question whether Hollywood's use of the video game genre as the basis for feature films is merely setting the industry up for a series of box office flops. They point to the failed 2006 public service campaign for safe sex featuring Ms Pac-Man as an indication that today's youth doesn't identify with these characters the same way Generation X did 20 years ago.
"All anyone has to do is watch the Ken Burns documentary Centipede: The Golden Years and they'll understand why this will never work," said Hollywood historian Bernie Phelton. "But Hollywood is stubborn and Hollywood needs to learn for itself.
"With that said, you can bet your ass I'll be at the Q*bert premiere," added Phelton.
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