If there’s one thing all you film buffs know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that most movies based on games suck. Why is this? How is it that over the entire life of gaming there’s never been a more than decent film produced?
It seems that some games are begging for a movie treatment but due to the failures of the past, it has left people rather jaded towards the whole idea of a video game based movie. The only few I can think of that were any good were Silent Hill, Resident Evil 1 and maybe Mortal Kombat, in a cheesy but lovable way. Now, I still don’t think any of those to have been great, just good. I’m still waiting for the one that comes along that can break this trend.
With the recent ransacking of comic book heroes by Hollywood for the latest cash grab, I’m amazed that they haven’t moved on to some greener pastures in the video game world. Gaming is evidently more popular than the comic scene. Today, gaming is more popular than it has ever been before with the average age of gamers being around 32 years old. Surely this means that if they did an above average film based on a popular game, the money would flow and the sheer number of gamers they would reel in could be huge.
I do believe that we were very near an excellent game-to-movie conversion with Neill Blomkamp at the helm of Halo. Around the time that game Halo 3 released, Blomkamp was an unknown director in pre-production for the film adaption. He’d also made a very cool little live action trailer to tie in with the release to advertise it, to which I found utterly jaw dropping. I’m a fan of the Halo franchise, mostly with 1 and 2, and it started waning once 3 came along as I felt I was doing pretty much the same that had come before. This would’ve been an excellent time to release a feature length live action film and as much as I’d like to see a Halo movie, I think they’ve missed the boat. Right before the point of giving Blomkamp the funding to produce the film, they pulled it, more than likely because he was unproven in the feature film making world. Blomkamp then went on to bring us his incredible debut of District 9, made with a measly 30 million dollars from Peter Jackson and using Jackson’s WETA Studio for probably some of the best CGI I’ve ever seen to date. Effectively, this was like flipping a giant middle finger at Hollywood. Blomkamp is on record as saying that he’ll never go back to Halo which is devastating to me. I may be sick of the games but the story was fine. Aurally and visually though, many elements were somewhat ripped clean off of Aliens. Just watch theÂ link below and imagine what he could’ve done with a couple of hundred million dollars at his disposal.
I think that video games and the preposterous nature of them is a big deterrent. Let’s take an example. Say someone wanted to make a movie about Super Mario Brothers (teehee). An Italian plumber whose Princess (what?) has been taken by the evil turtle/lizard-like Bowser (huh?) and Mario takes it upon himself to go and save her from his evil clutches by traveling through pipes and stomping on enemies’ heads. (WTF!) Surely a movie about that would fail miserably. But the games are immense fun, and with gaming you don’t care so much about the story with most of them. They’re a means to an end.
On the other end of the spectrum, story heavy games are usually so well told that a movie version is utterly pointless. Case in point, the forthcoming Uncharted movie. Why? Here’s a game that was heavily derived from our own Indiana Jones, allowing us to live out an action fantasy of treasure plundering… ahem…. I mean archaeology. Forget Tomb Raider. Cinematically, Uncharted and certainly Uncharted 2, had some of the most amazing set pieces and the voice acting and graphics were top notch. A movie at this point seems like a step backwards, because although the graphics will be ultra lifelike, Â you can’t play it. So we have movie based on a game that was derived from a movie. Ouroboros.
Halo 1 is in the same field. A brilliantly told story through a game but like I mentioned before, many of the elements of the game are directly lifted from the film Aliens, because… well… it’s awesome. The marines’ look and mannerisms are alike, dialogue very similar and at times exactly the same, the look of the human weapons and vehicles are uncannily familiar. The makers of Halo, Bungie Studios, freely admit to being “influenced” by Cameron’s Aliens. I did laugh when I played Halo for the first time and walked up to a pinup board on the ship with an advertisement stating “missing cat – answers to the name of Jonesy” If they were to make the film, would there be a major problem with its look? Would it be too close to Aliens, therefore annoying fans of the film and possibly even lawsuits being involved. Or would they change the look of the film to distance it from Aliens, only enraging all the Halo fanboys. (to which there are many) That’s a tough one and probably another factor involved in the film being canned.
The phenomenon of game-to-movie conversions being awful is not only just my opinion. I can safely say that most people would agree with my sentiments on this matter. Let’s have a look at the history, shall we?………
Super Mario Bros. – laughable crap
Double Dragon – ridiculously campy crap
Street Fighter – in the dictionary next to the word crap.
Mortal Kombat – a little fun to be had amongst the crap.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation – C.R.A.P.
Wing Commander – a dire piece of crap…. and Freddie Prinze Jr.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – confusing crap
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within – very pretty but crap all the same.
Resident Evil – not bad, mixed with a little crapness.
House of the Dead – Uwe Boll.
Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life – even worse crap than the first crap.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse – Crap in the city.
Alone in the Dark – Uwe Boll.
Doom – crappola.
BloodRayne – Uwe Boll.
Silent Hill – actually surprisingly good, very little crap to be seen.
DOA: Dead or Alive – craptacular.
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale – Uwe Boll.
Postal – Uwe Boll.
Resident Evil: Extinction – Crap in the desert.
Hitman -Â killer crap.
Far Cry – Uwe Boll.
Max Payne – Wahlberg looked constipated with this crap.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li – unseen by me but by all accounts, crap.
The King of Fighters – see above Street Fighter comment
Tekken – plainÂ crap
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – Mindless Hollywood crap.
Resident Evil: Afterlife – Matrix ripoff crap.
I see a pattern forming, and it’s not only my over use of the word crap. Will someone please make it illegal for Uwe Boll to continue to make movies based on videogames?….. In fact, just stop him from making movies all together. I didn’t use the word crap for him as he needs no introduction to the word. His films are the epitome of it.
Other reports I’ve heard are worrying with Asteroids, Battleship and Monopoly getting films. Three games totally devoid of any kind of story. How do you make a film about Asteroids? Seriously? A dude sitting in a lone ship fending off the eeevil marauding asteroids with his laser blasters? If they decide to build a story into it, then it’s not Asteroids anymore is it? That one in particular will be interesting to see just how they go about it.
I do hope that sometime in the future we will get a great conversion. Although I’m cynical these days towards games-to-film, I’d be more than happy to be proved wrong and give hope to all the gamers out there that games can be a viable medium to the film world. So far though?….. It’s been laughable.