Pitfall! is a 2012 action-adventure film directed by Uwe Boll. Like most of Uwe Boll's films, it is barely based on and completely mangles the story of a video game; in this instance, the target was the classic Atari 2600 game Pitfall! published by Activision in 1982. Also, like most of Uwe Boll's films, it is utter trash.
According to Uwe Boll, Activision approached him about the possibility of adapting the first platform game ever made into a film. Intrigued by the game's easily exploitable premise of treasure-hunting and obsession with pits and falls, he accepted the proposal. However, according to Activision, Boll acted unilaterally and despite numerous legal injunctions against Boll to immediately halt production of the film. Whatever the case, Boll hired Pitfall! lead programmer David Crane to co-write the screenplay with him. However, Crane began to cite "creative differences" when Boll complained about Crane's aversion to the "lots of sex scenes, lots of chase scenes, lots of flickering lights, lots of battle scenes, lots of shiny things" that Boll proposed for inclusion in the story. Crane disowned the script and asked to resign, at which point Boll promptly paralyzed Crane's lower body in a boxing match.
Filming took place in the Mojave Desert from 7 June to 6 September 2011.
- Billy Zane as "Pitfall" Harry Minnesota, explorer and archaeologist extraordinaire.
- Kristanna Loken as Clara, Pitfall Harry's contrived love interest.
- Zack Ward as Doctor Davidston, a scientist with a British accent trapped in the jungles of Peru.
- Will Sanderson as McGann, a member of Pitfall Harry's expedition.
- Dakota Fanning as Rhonda, Pitfall Harry's niece.
The film begins with an expository crawl lasting 14 minutes, with three chapters from the Book of Revelations added in to increase time after Boll realized the film was too short. The crawl reads in part:
|“||But while the Mayans were wrong about the Apocalypse on b'ak'tun 13, the Western world would have been better off to heed their warnings about giant pits and other dangers scattered throughout the Mayan jungles. Sometimes all the doomed treasure-seeker saw was total darkness; sometimes it was the jaws of three crocodiles in absurdly accurate single file; sometimes it was the drowning sensation of freshwater; sometimes it was the burn of fire; sometimes it was a surprisingly fatal rolling log. Whoever attempted to steal the hidden treasures of these Mayans would have to be able to swim, jump in time, and not be a complete idiot. But this movie is set in an unrelated location, in an unrelated time, under a completely different premise, so the past 4 minutes of this narration have just been padding. 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.||”|
In an unexpected twist, the crawl actually finishes, and the main portion of the film begins. (Projectionists at cinemas were asked to continue the film regardless of whether or not the audience had snuck out during the crawl.)
As explained in the crawl, the film is set in the year 2061 on the Moon, and begins as "Pitfall" Harry Minnesota's expedition arrives, in search of a fabled cache of treasure left behind by an alien race that may hold the key to finding out about their disappearance. Lore apparently holds that the cache consists of 32 sets of valuable treasures scattered throughout the lunar landscape.
Critical and box office reception
Critical reception of Pitfall! was overwhelmingly negative. The Rotten Tomatoes rating for the movie is 4%, with the critics that actually liked it presumably being the same people who gave the negative reviews to Toy Story 3.
- Director's commentary, Pitfall! DVD.
- Activision Blizzard, Inc. v. Uwe Boll, 42 2A.16 4242 (9th Cir. 2012).