Editors Challenge Sponsored by Inte...
Video Challenge Sponsored by Intel ...
FiringSquad Video Challenge - Preli...
FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round...
||3 entry(ies) in this category
| From CPU to Cinema: Why Unforgettable Games make Unforgivable Films. (5 comments )|
by: rados (15) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago in category DEFAULT
The video game and the movie: at first look it sounds like a match made in heaven. As far as the grand sweep of history is concerned, both are brand spanking new forms of entertainment, are heavily action driven, and, in this modern Hollywood dominated age use oodles, that’s right oodles, of the shiniest effects money can buy.
So why has the latest plague of video game based movies, spawned cinematic disasters equivalent to the complete destruction of Tokyo?
The answer is not easy, but we can start with something as obvious as the fact that the king of all cosmos wears really tight pants. That my friends is the word marketing. Every film wants to make some dough, but films based on games not only want to make money for themselves but also for the game they are based (sometimes very loosely) on. The quintessential example of this is one of the earliest “video game” flicks The Wizard (1989) This little romp followed the journey of three teens traveling to compete in the ultimate videogame championships. It was effectively a feature length commercial for the NES. This movie not only established the convention of video game films having more commercial value than story, but demonstrated that, as far as video game based movies were concerned, acting and dialogue were far less important than product placement.
In one instance the villain of said cinematic atrocity (a prepubescent spoiled brat) takes a power glove out of a suitcase that looks like it should contain a nuclear bomb, (remember the power glove? No, me neither.) and making a fist that would make any dark lord proud, utters one of the greatest cinematic atrocities of all time:
“I love the power glove…it’s so…bad.”
Since those bygone days game based films have been merrily trotting down the dark winding staircase of ever increasing lens flare (and motion blur!) at the expense of legitimate entertainment value. Whether it be the mid 90’s slurry of films based on fighting games, including such gems as Street Fighter, and Moral Kombat: Annihilation or the more recent bevy of infamous Uwe Boll productions (Alone in the Dark, House of The Dead, Bloodrayne).
It’s not that the source material for these films is weak either, after all most games that become movies do so because they have achieved top dog status in their own rights. Yet there is a huge difference between doing the questing, slaying, and puzzle solving yourself, and watching someone else do it. This is especially true if that someone else is doing it with about as much conviction as an ork weaving a basket. Even when the plot of a given game stands strong without the element of player interaction, more often than not movie directors and producers decide to throw that perfectly serviceable plot out the nearest airlock, replacing it with their own profit addled image of the game. Take for instance the cinematization of Wing Commander a series of games whose major strongpoint was the gripping storyline that played itself out in a series cut-scenes as you progressed through the games. You grew to care about the characters, brought to life in later installments by such wonderful actors as John Rhys- Davies and Mark Hamill, as they battled alongside you tooth and nail( or mass driver cannon, and heat-seeking, missile as the case may be) against the relentless Kilrathi, while each dealing with the harsh realities of war in their own ways. The story driven action is what made the Wing Commander games a hit, yet when Wing Commander the movie arrived in theaters the storyline followed in the games was completely discarded and replaced by a helter-skelter plot about a long lost tribe of discriminated space navigators and a one dimensional, evil alien, crew obsessed with getting their paws on a human navigational computer. None of the games’ actors were even present and those that reprised their roles came off as second rate at best. Unfortunately this trend, like that of thin dialogue and hyper-commercialization has stalked video game films relentlessly.
Now don’t get me wrong, no one is expecting the upcoming Far Cry or Halo films to be the next Shawshank Redemption, but a movie based on a video game should at least give us the same feeling of excitement when we watch as we get when we play. There are plenty of ways to do this, but shoving a dual core of special effects in while skimping on everything else is not gonna do it.
First of all, if I may borrow a bit of coaching jargon, stick to the game plan. (This means you Uwe) Lots of video games have good storylines that need adherence rather than revision. If your making a movie based on Dawn of War, don’t turn the squiggoth into a poodle, trust me. Second get some actors who are going to act like they care that they’re saving the world from CGI zombie invasion, and put some emotion into it. Thirdly fill important production positions with people who’ve not only played the game your working from, once or twice, but who in fact love the game and know it’s ins and outs like the back’s of their fleeing opponents. Lastly bring to the big screen games that would just plain make good films, Pac Man which was recently canceled thank the gods, does not scream cinematic gold, no matter how gold Pac Man himself may be. Something like the Elder Scrolls games, on the other hand, might just fit the movie bill.
So it’s not an impossible task, with a little bit of effort movies and videogames can be made to coexist well together, but until moviemakers realize what it is that makes these two forms of entertainment blend well, we’ll probably be doomed to watch an Alone in The Dark sequel (announced for 2009) and worse barrel their way across the screen.
|5 User Comment(s) • 3 root comment(s)|
| Armitage (1) Feb 10, 2007 - 12:40 pm | Edited on Feb 10, 2007 - 12:42 pm|
|I've seen quite a few video-game-to-movie translations... Doom, Tomb Raider 1&2, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Super Mario Brothers, and Wing Commander to name a few. |
I can honestly say the only one that I honestly really liked was the original Mortal Kombat. Plot-wise, I thought it followed the game pretty well. The characters were well represented and the costume design was very good. I also loved the soundtrack.
The Tomb Raiders weren't bad. Doom and Street Fighter were awful. I agree with the other poster, how can you not have Hell represented? I mean, they showed Zombies, Imps, 1 (!) pinky demon, and a Hell Knight. Where are all the cool monsters from Doom? Not to mention the original weak (but lovable) plot? Bah.
Unless you have a concept for a grand game (a la Halo), stay away!
Oh yeah, speaking of sequels, don't be suprised if another Doom movie comes around. I heard Karl Urban was signed to a two-movie deal.
» Login to reply to this
| rados (15) Feb 10, 2007 - 01:30 pm|
|Thank you all for your supportive commentary. :) Being both a gamer and a mild film nut I wanted to write on a topic that covered both. All things considered there have been a few great gaming flicks as every rule has its exceptions. I personally drooled over Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children when I saw it for example. As for Doom, who knows maybe the sequel will integrate hell somehow. I do still hold out some hope for the gaming film sub genre after all.|
» Login to reply to this
» Note: You need to be logged in to write a comment!Login here, or if you don't have an account with FiringSquad, register here, it's FREE!
My Media-Blog categories
No categories created yet.