When I first heard a rumor that they were making a movie out of Asteroids, I thought they were kidding. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Asteroids, it’s an extremely primitive first generation video game where you play a spaceship that has to shoot a bunch of little rocks that fall from the top of the screen. How could anyone make a movie out of something that thin? It had to be an April fool’s gag. But it wasn’t. In fact, Roland Emmerich (known as the Destroyer of Worlds and Budgets to his friends) is REALLY MAKING THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW.
By all all accounts, the movie is about some humans and aliens living in an asteroid belt. I don’t even understand why he needed to buy the rights to this game to make a movie like that. Did they need to buy the rights to Asteroids for that bit in Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo was shooting his way out of an asteroid belt? Did they need to buy the rights to Asteroids to make Deep Impact or Armageddon? No, because you CAN’T COPYRIGHT A NATURAL OCCURANCE. Asteroids hit ships and planets and break them. It’s just something that happens. You can’t slap a trademark on it and say you invented it, thus forcing everyone who wants to use the concept to pay you money. If you could, we’d all be paying royalties every time we sneezed or stopped at a stop sign.
Roland Emmerich’s movies are usually ridiculous, plotless, distructo-fests (see 2012, 10,000 BC, The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla, and Independence Day… or rather don’t, because they’re bad) but Asteroids takes the cake. There is literally nothing to it, which means there’s two whole hours free to showcase the destruction wrought by big rocks banging into things. Gee, I can’t wait.