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Most of us go through life wondering how different our lives would be if we would have chosen a different path. When we made it to that fork in the road, instead of going left, we go right. This was no different for Jason Denson, the main character in Dark Matter. However, Jason gets the opportunity to experience multiple versions of what his life could have been if he would have taken different paths. In this novel, Jason is abducted on his way home from visiting his old college roommate. This same college roommate is enjoying a life similar to what Jason could have had if he would have kept working on his research. After being abducted, Jason is drugged and wakes up in a lab. He wakes up to people that know him, but he has no idea who they are. Later in the novel we learn that the abductor was a different version of himself. A Jason Denson you continued his research and became a successful physicist that invented a way to travel the multiverse. This Jason traveled the multiverse looking for that perfect life, and found it. Unfortunately, that live already had a Jason Denson. So, the only way to take over that life is to get rid of that other Jason. He does this by sending him back to his time in the multiverse, to live out his success. Most of us think about what ifs in our lives, but how many people would actual make that change. I do not see there being any difficultly in adapting this novel into a film. With the use of CGI, it is hard for me to visualize any part of the book that would resist translation.
To travel the multiverse, Jason has developed what is called “The Box”. To use The Box, the person inside must take a chemical compound that shuts off part of their brane. After this has happened, the person wakes up to a door that has appears on one of the walls. Going through that door brings you to more doors. Each door is supposed to be cross section in time to multiple universes. When I picture this, I picture the hallway fight scene in The Matrix Reloaded (2003). In that scene it is an endless hallway with endless doors. Each door opening to a different place. When filming the characters leaving The Box, they could do something similar by having the endless hallway with doors. Each door will take them to a different universe in that same time. Filming this scene would be easy to adapt.
Once Jason finds his way home, he quickly learns he is not the only Jason to make it to that universe. Just like our main character, these Jason’s believe they have made it back to their universe. Each of them traveled their own journey to make it their universe, and will do whatever it takes to get their family back. There are many scenes where multiple Jason’s are present at the same time. Having multiples of the same person in a scene is no longer difficult to do. With the use of CGI, the film makers can have as many as they want in the scene. This also takes me back to The Matrix Reloaded (2003). In this film, Neo is seen fighting clone after clone of Agent Smith. This can be seen during the hallway fight scene with the infinite doors.
The biggest issue I see when filming this movie is the cost of using CGI. A lot of this film will have to be computer generated to show the different universes that the main character travels to while trying to make his way home, and when there are multiple Jason’s in a scene. “The CGI industry acts as an assembly line with a team of 10-12 who processes shots through several stages: Modeling, Tracking, Animation, Dust Busting, BgPrep, FX, Compositing, Lighting, etc. The average time for this process within the team is at least four weeks if not more. This equates to around 1,600 man hour at a minimum without overtime. At $50 per hour, per person, that equates to a minimum of $80K per shot. If a Game of Thrones episode has 10-minutes of CGI, which equates to $800,000”. We can see that utilizing CGI throughout this film will end up costly.
Adapting this novel into a movie does not seem like it would be too difficult for filmmakers to accomplish. Using the same methods that have been used in other movies, like The Matrix Reloaded, will be useful when adapting to the similar scenes in the novel. The book really kept my attention, and I hope a movie happens in the future.
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