There are few things in this world that cause my eyes to roll more than a movie adaptation of a video game. It’s not that I feel that video games are unworthy of the big budget movie treatment. It’s that I feel that the adaptations I’ve gotten aren’t worthy of my time. I was checking out a review of Hitman Agent 47 when I realized that there hasn’t been a good video game adaptation.
Sure there have been ones that I would consider decent (Mortal Kombat, Lara Croft Tomb Raider), some I would consider watchable (Resident Evil), and some I would nominate be burned in effigy (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Any Uwe Bowl flick). So where exactly are the studios going wrong? Granted, it must be difficult to incorporate 50-60 hours of content into a two-hour film, but it’s not impossible. Video games are a visual medium. They, much like comics, are begging to be translated to the big screen.
The biggest problem facing the concept of bringing your favorite video games to life is they need to be action oriented. Or so the studios believe. Studios focus on what’s going to get butts in the seats and presuming that that is the action portion of the game would be fair. However, recently the stories of video games have greatly improved since the days a plumber had to rescue a princess from a giant spiked turtle in a castle…eight times. Say what you will about the Super Mario Bros. movie but it tried to tell an original story that focused on action. It failed monstrously on all levels but it made an attempt. It had great actors, a solid fan base, and a budget that could have choked a python. So what went wrong?
A lot of the failure had to do with the fact that the producers felt that as long as they had the name and something that resembled the Mario Bros., they had a gold mine. The biggest part of the problem is that studios are more focused on what they think the audience wants to see instead of just giving us what we already want. It’s not hard to figure out guys. Take a lesson from the Deadpool movie, and stick to the source.
The original game is what got everyone excited in the first place. That’s where you start. I know that there are elements to any game that are outright impossible to replicate in a film. Hell the very concept is lost in the translations. Interaction with the audience is the ultimate appeal in a video game and that will neve
r be replicated. Does that mean you should give up? Of course not! You can focus on the elements that can be translated, such as story points and visual effects. Start with a great story and I assure you that you will have a better chance at success than just slapping the name on Donkey Kong’s ass crack and calling it a movie.
We’ve made great strides cinematically in the last decade or so. The Lord of the Rings made me think that a Legend of Zelda game would be amazing. I always knew that Metroid would be phenomenal because of the movie Alien. Most of the game was inspired by those films in the first place. To your credit we have some exciting possibilities on the horizon with Assassin’s Creed. I know you can do it. Just be aware that the public will only take so many screw ups before they say enough. And by that time it will be game over.
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