The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
I'm not a big fan of the word "epiphany", which is defined
as, "a sudden, intuitive perception of or
insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated
by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience" but is really just a fancy way of saying
after witnessing something insignificant you had a grand idea. Well, last
night, after witnessing something rather insignificant I had a grand idea...
How to make a movie inspired by a video game that doesn't
Of course I should caveat that claim by saying this is just
my idea; an idea that hasn't been, nor will it probably ever be, tested. It is however something I found at least
remotely interesting and hopefully worth talking about. And part of that
disclaimer should also read, this is meant as a lighthearted piece poking fun
at many of the video game to movie crossovers that exist. Don't take it too
It's no surprise that historically speaking the majority of
the video game industry feels that movie productions based off of video games
tend to, for lack of a better word, suck. We can easily validate this claim in
terms of theater release statistics, ticket sales, low review scores and really
a whole gambit of factors. It might be a generalization, and you may or may not
agree with it, but the overall feel is...
Video game movies suck.
Okay, before I dive into this revelation, I think it's
important to at least talk about why that might be. There have been pages of
material written on it; I'm certainly not the first (or the last). It's often
the topic of discussion so much so that anytime someone mentions a video game
inspired movie, most of us cringe. Sure, a Halo movie or a God of War movie or
an Uncharted movie sound awesome on the surface, but some of us fear that the
final product would somehow tarnish the brand image, so we'd just rather not
see it happen.
Are "no movies" based on video games better than "bad movies" based on
Well that's a question each of us would have to answer on our
own. Honestly, there are a few video game movies I've enjoyed, but there are
certainly more that I haven't. I'm not so sure I know how to answer that
question. I'd have to give it some thought, for sure.
Interestingly enough, I'm currently reading a book that
mentions a theory why video game based movies suck so bad, and it's an
assumption that I find myself agreeing with. I've thought about the merits of
the claim; I've applied it to movies I've seen; and I think the author is on to
something. That something may be nothing more than the how's and whys I like
some video game movies and not others. But if it's true among others, then
perhaps a more practical application of the logic could be used to actually
make movies based off of video games that are better than just crap.
Before I tell you what this theory is, let me back up just a
bit and tell you about the "something insignificant" that led me to this grand
idea I mentioned in the opening statement of this blog. Last night I was
watching the Ghost Recon Future Soldier Alpha
video that is being released to coincide with the release of the Future Soldier
game on May 22, 2012. In case you didn't know, a 25 minute long video available
on DVD and Blu Ray is being released as the prequel to the events that unfold
in the Future Soldier video game.
After a decade-long
manhunt, US Intelligence received new intel on Boris Chevtchenko, mastermind of
the world's most heinous war crimes. Linked to Russian ultranationalists,
Chevtchenko is about to deliver a dirty bomb large enough to contaminate Moscow
for centuries. Enter the Ghosts - The US Army's most elite Future Soldiers,
precision-trained and lethal human weapons armed with the most devastating
high-tech combat systems, to take out Chevtchenko and stop this international
catastrophe before it erupts. But behind enemy lines, the Ghosts discover that
Chevtchenko is just the tip of the iceberg. What begins as a surgical strike
spirals out of control into a no-holds-barred battle even the Ghosts won't
I think most of us would agree a 25 minute video starring
real people and showing off special effects that rival a Hollywood production are
a bit more than your standard pre-release video game trailer. The video was
impressive. It's hard to believe the amount of energy (and money) spent to
produce the clip that is scheduled to coincide with the release of the video
game. I watched the video clip and dare I say...enjoyed it. It was entertaining
and intriguing enough it left me wondering about the single player portion of
the game. Sure, it's only 25 minutes and not as long as a full length movie,
but the Ghost Recon Future Soldier Alpha movie didn't suck. It was actually
Hold that thought.
So, the book I'm reading discusses why most people think
video game to movie crossovers suck, and basically the theory suggests
something along the lines of, "Video games affect us all differently and those
experiences are unique to us; we often fill in the gaps and envision what the
characters and story are trying to illustrate to us (think about the ending of
Mass Effect 3 and how some hated it and some liked it). When someone creates a
movie based on a particular video game, and it doesn't align with our vision or
our own personal experience we felt when playing the game, then we think it
What I'm thinking or wondering or suggesting...
If you've played the
game and then watch the movie, then the movie sucks.
If you haven't played
the game and then watch the movie, then you're less likely to think it sucks.
Follow me here...in my most recent experience, a movie (clip)
was released for Future Soldier, a game that isn't even out yet. I know plenty
about the Ghost Recon series. If I saw a film on any of the previously released
episodes, I'd probably agree they suck. But since this game isn't out yet, the
film interests me enough that when I watch it, I don't think it sucks and I
want to watch more of it.
Now, let's apply this to a game that doesn't have a movie.
If I found out that they were making a Halo movie based off the first game
(Combat Evolved), I'd be a little concerned. That is such an iconic game with a
cult like following and putting it in the hands of even the most capable
director would cause me to panic about the accurate translation from game to
film. I've logged so many hours into the game; survived so many battles;
sprinted to the end too many times. Making a movie that changed any part of my
memories of the game would not sit well with me. But...
If I found out someone was making a Halo film that was going
to coincide with the release of a new Halo video game, well I might just get
excited over that...and I might be far more tolerant and patient with judging the
movie. You see, I wouldn't really have anything to compare it to or judge it
by. It would be something all new and exciting, since it would coincide with
the release of the game and not coming out afterwards.
Now the first downside and valid complaint is, if the movie
and game came out at the same time, and both were based off the same story then
obviously whichever you experienced first would spoil the ending for the other.
This is true, but not uncommon. A lot of books are released just prior to the
movie. I recall reading the Attack of the Clones (thanks Darth-Carbonite for pointing out my error) before it released in theaters, and
distinctively remember the part about Anakin's "robot hand" - but seeing it on
the big screen was still rather shocking.
It's a trade off, but one that could
be dealt with. I posted a blog about how I read the Rage novel before the game
came out, and then seeing the actual characters and setting from the game, it
was not quite what I imagined from the book. I'm sure a video game and movie
duo released on or near the same day would be very similar. I think as long as
it is in relatively close proximity, it wouldn't be too big of a deal. I also
think the longer and more established a game title is, the harder it is to make
the transition to film. There are some rather obscure video game to movie
crossovers that are pretty good (and by good, I mean I enjoyed it - NOT it was
profitable), partly because I don't think everyone realizes they are based off
of video games. I'll cite In the Name of
the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale as an example. And that was even directed by
the often criticized Uwe Boll. The movie failed miserably in terms of sales (as
in it didn't even come close to breaking even) but I don't think that was
necessarily because it was based off of a video game. Like I said, I kind of
liked it. Then again, I don't know that I've played any of the Dungeon Siege
games. Maybe if I had, I would've hated the movie.
I'm going to tell on myself a bit and admit that I like some
of the movies that most people say suck, and that's Resident Evil. The truth is
I've only played the first game (that I remember), so anything after that, my
exposure is limited. I've watched a few of the movies, and they're not
great...but I don't think they really suck. I know fans of the games, or at least
some of them, really seem to hate the movie adaptations. Since I'm being honest...I
also liked Doom. Hah. But I didn't like the Mario Bros. movie.
Anyway, I suppose I should wrap this up. I guess I'm always
just a little bewildered that I love video games and I love movies (I'm
guessing you all do too?), so marrying up the two just seems natural; seems
like something we would all want...but all too often it's a match doomed from the
start. It's unfortunate that's the reality, and if the key to success is
releasing them in tandem or at least within close proximity, I'm willing to
risk watching one more potentially bad movie to see if this theory has any
merit or not.
Maybe we could start with Bioshock Infinite. I'd watch it.