Borderlands trailer fails to instill blockbuster confidence

Cal Jeffrey

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Full disclosure: Throw everything you know about Borderlands out the window if you want to enjoy the film adaptation. I absolutely love the entire cast – just not for this movie. Granted, I only have its first trailer to go on, but unless it's set some 30+ years in the original game's future, the casting makes zero sense.

It has been four years since Lionsgate confirmed it was producing a Borderlands movie. It finally released the first trailer on Thursday (above). We've known the primary cast for a while. It stars Cate Blanchette as Lilith the Siren, Kevin Hart as Roland the Soldier, and Florian Munteanu as Krieg the Psycho.

Ariana Greenblatt as Tiny Tina rounds out the typical four-person crew even though Tina has never been a vault hunter in any of the games. The group also seems to have picked up another non-hunter traveling companion, Dr. Patricia Tannis, played by Jamie Lee Curtis.

Of course, it wouldn't be Borderlands without CL4P-TP, better known as Claptrap. Lionsgate tapped Jack Black to voice the annoying little robot, but you probably can't tell with the voice modulation. Black might be the only casting decision I like.

Bringing up support is Gina Gershon as Moxxi, Janina Gavankar as Commander Knoxx, Benjamin Byron Davis (Dutch van der Linde in RDR2) as Marcus, and Steven Boyer as Scooter.

The trailer was well-received. Everyone seems to like it but me.

Polygon said, "The Borderlands movie looks surprisingly good – and a lot like Borderlands."

"The trailer actually looks and feels like Borderlands," Engadget raved. "The big and bright color palette recalls the cel-shaded aesthetic from the games."

@lavabubs this is not hating on the decision btw, I love Jamie Lee Curtis and I could see her playing the role well #borderlands #borderlandsmovie ⬠john mulaney is god - lap stealer

Call me cynical, but Hollywood has a bad record for producing good video game movies, and this trailer did not instill confidence that this one will land on the short list of exceptions. You might not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you certainly can judge a movie by its trailer, and I'm not impressed.

I love Blanchette and Curtis as actresses, but both are about 30 years too old for the parts they play. Even Gershon, at 61, is pushing the boundaries playing Mad Moxxi, but I can somewhat make that stretch, considering the number of husbands the voluptuous bartender has had.

I initially liked Greenblatt as Tiny Tina, but the few scenes of her portrayal in the trailer left me shaking my head. It just wasn't Tiny Tina. Boyer might bring some shine to the dim but extremely lovable mechanic Scooter, but he is absent from the trailer.

We don't see enough of Hart to tell if he nailed Roland, but a comedian playing a character who is an uber-straightman in the games is counterintuitive. I would have liked to see Shemar Moore (SWAT's Hondo) in the role. And don't get me started on Eli Roth as director. A grindhouse filmmaker heading up a lighthearted comedy based on a goofy game would not have been my first pick.

Perhaps I'm too nitpicky. Maybe it will be the best video game movie ever produced. I'd love to be wrong but won't bet on it. Forbes seems to agree.

"I think only up-and-coming star of Young Gamora and Young Ahsoka fame, Greenblatt, feels right in the part. Blanchett is a strange choice here, aging up Lilith by a significant margin, though obviously her acting chops know no bounds. I'm not sure they will be…tested to their fullest extent here. Her fellow Oscar winner is Jamie Lee-Curtis as Tannis, only glimpsed in the trailer."

Forbes didn't even like Jack Black as the voice of Claptrap because it was too different from long-time CL4P-TP voice actor David Eddings. So perhaps I'm not being too nitpicky.

As I said in 2020, when we knew very little about the film, "Video game film adaptations rarely do well, and most of the time, they flop because the writers played with the lore too much."

Casting actors that don't fit their characters has just as much potential to ruin the film.

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I mean, Borderlands isn't even a particularly good game, I was never going to have high hopes for a movie.

It has its place in the foundations of the looter shooter genre and neat cell shaded style, but gawd damn I've tried to get into the game at least 3 times at this point and just lose interest a couple hours in every time.

I still remember way back when before it was supposed to be cell shaded and be a more serious Mad Max style experience before the entire direction of development changed.
 
LMAO the only one that looks kinda right is Krieg (because you don't even see their face, you just need a brawny guy).

Lilith and Dr. Tannis look like they came out of a retirement home.
Claptrap should've been the original voice actor (or close to it).
Tiny Tina, isn't. She's supposed to look like she's malnourished living on her own.
And Roland wasn't that short. If he was to bulk up, he'd be a lot closer though.

Considering they won't be doing the iconic cell shading to go along with the cartoony look, this just looks like a fan film. Also, the trailer's L/D ratio is just below 50%.
 
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This movie is a complete miscast and that even before they started gender/race swapping characters. They have a bunch of geriatrics playing characters a third to half the age of the actors, Greenblatt is not Tiny Tina in any way other than being close to the character's age. Claptrap is just Jack Black being Jack Black and same for Kevin Hart's Roland. Not to mention the fact that Hart looks like a kid next to Cate Blanchett.
 
Never played the game could careless about the movie.
If the adaptation is good, you don't have to care for the source material, as it can stand on its own feet.
But I feel, compared to Tales from the Borderlands or main villain from Bordelands 2, we won't see anything in this film adaptation that can be considered as worthwhile.
 
LMAO the only one that looks kinda right is Krieg (because you don't even see their face, you just need a brawny guy).

Lilith and Dr. Tannis look like they came out of a retirement home.
Claptrap should've been the original voice actor (or close to it).
Tiny Tina, isn't. She's supposed to look like she's malnourished living on her own.
And Roland wasn't that short. If he was to bulk up, he'd be a lot closer though.

Considering they won't be doing the iconic cell shading to go along with the cartoony look, this just looks like a fan film. Also, the trailer's L/D ratio is just below 50%.

I agree with everything you said here. I am a big fan of BL franchise since the first game. There are so many wrong things going on with the movie. Mainly the casts are way off. Tiny Tina is not Tiny Tina, I did not even realize it was Tiny Tina.

This movie feels like a parody or fan-made rather than official movie. Can't bring myself to watch it.
 
Well, from someone whom never played, nor paid any attention to the Borderlands franchise, I hold no expectations whatsoever, and thus the trailer looked like an invite to an amusing distraction to me. I'll probably watch it with my nephews to fill an afternoons nephew-sitting session... I'm sure their 9 year old minds will find it entertaining...
 
I mean, is anyone surprised? It's Hollywood, they have spent the last decade showing their blatant incompetence, raging nepotism, and bruised egos at every opportunity. The only surprising thing is that there was anyone left who actually had expectations from Hollywood to make something good.
Ya'll are taking this way too seriously. It's just a movie.
That's right, just consooom slop and get ready for next slop! Dont you dare demand QUALITY int he media that is presented to you! Accept sub par garbage!

 
Uve Boll forever. I mean, movies based on games never work. Even If they sell some tickets out of curiosity, They are reviewed negatively, and are "meh" at best. Please, give Me examples to the contrary?
 
I like Cate Blanchette, but not as Lilith. I like Jamie Lee Curtis, but not as Dr Tannis. The theory that this is 30 years after the game is debunked by Tiny Tina being in this for obvious reasons, as she's amazing in the game, but the energy level is NOT there in the trailer.

And Kevin Hart? God.

This really is one of those things where it's like, Why are they even bothering with this now?
 
If the adaptation is good, you don't have to care for the source material, as it can stand on its own feet.
But I feel, compared to Tales from the Borderlands or main villain from Bordelands 2, we won't see anything in this film adaptation that can be considered as worthwhile.

They're not even really showing a villian, which is really astonishing. Why Handsome Jack isn't in this is wild.
 
This is another fine example of Hollywood's famous "creative freedom", which basically means throwing the core elements of a francize in the dumpster and only keeping the esthetics. Then they only need a half baked classic hero story, some dumb jokes, a little touch of wokeness and some random celebrities. Ok, people will watch any garbage out of boredom, especially those with pretty explosions, so, I guess it`s a win win after all.
 
Ya'll are taking this way too seriously. It's just a movie.

Yeah it doesn’t look that bad. Borderlands is tough to pull off in a live action movie. I’m surprised they even tried.

Not every movie has to be Oscar bait. Especially one based on a whimsical violent video game. But don’t tell that to the whiny and entitled masses.
 
I've enjoyed the Borderlands series, but this trailer is flat-out awful. Whoever was in charge of casting should be sent to a deserted island. For good.
 
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