Author Topic: Videogame Movies  (Read 4502 times)

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Videogame Movies
« on: May 21, 2010, 07:45:36 PM »
No, it's nothing to do with the next in the Scary/Date/Epic/Not Another   Teen Movie series, although the subject is similarly critically reviled.   This weekend sees the release of Prince of Persia: The Sands of   Time, the latest film to be based on a sucessful videogame. The   reviews (that I've read - all two of them) have been lukewarm at best.   It's hardly a surprise: Even ignoring the continuing career of Uwe Boll,   games have got a pretty shoddy reputation at the cinema and not without   good reason. I watched Resident Evil the other day, which you would   think couldn't fail, but it was guff.
   
    Is adapting a videogame for the big screen an inherently doomed venture?   In his review of Silent Hill, Mark Kermode stopped being sniffy   just long enough to explain his theory that games don't make good films   because games have plot but no narrative. It seems to me that it's the   screenwriter's job to adapt the plot and give it a coherent narrative.   He also forgets that a   game of the non-video category, Cluedo was made into a movie   and, lest we forget, the first Pirates of the Caribbean, which   maintains a 78% positive rating on rottentomatoes.com, was based on an   amusement park ride (of course Kermode doesn't like it, but then he   thinks The Exorcist is good. He is a tit). Besides, when you get down to   it, most games have a perfectly straightforward story. Silent Hill is a   bad example perhaps, as the games are purposefully abstract, but take   the aforementioned Resident Evil (oddly enough, both films resort to   having omniscient entities, disguised as creepy little girls, delivering   reams of exposition). When you boil it down to its essential   elements, it's not that different from Aliens: Elite squad of   tough nuts investigates deserted location, gets picked off by monsters,   leading to a revelation about the big bad corporation and a fight with a   really big monster. The film fails because it's shodilly written and   directed. The fact that it was based on a game in which you spent the   majority of your time running back and forth looking for weird keys is   irrelevant, surely?
   
    Is the problem simply because of gaming's status as the current bete   noire of popular culture? Time was, comics were the whipping boy of the   critical establishment. However, between the likes of Roy Lichtenstein,   Alan Moore and Harvey Pekar, not to mention Paul Gambaccini adding them   to his list of things he likes/is the world's foremost expert on, comics   are now given a measure of artistic respect - even when they shouldn't   be (Frank Miller). Since the release of the Playstation in the mid '90s,   we've regularly been told that games aren't just for kids anymore, and yet they're still ghettoised by the mainstream media. I'm not about to suggest that games in general are the equal of   literature or whatever, most of them are still just dumb shit to while   away your time with, but how many TV programs and sunday news magazines are devoted to cooking (something which has fewer claims to art than gaming and yet far more highbrow critical analysis)? in such a climate, is it any wonder that the makers of game movies just can't be bothered?

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2010, 08:04:53 PM »
It's because video game fans aren't demanding enough. I think this is changing though.

At the moment I think games/movies are quite happy not liking each other. Movies are resentful of the fact that games are more profitable and are destined to overtake them and become to the 21st century what movies were to the 20th. Video game movies tend to be bad. Games based on movies usually tend to be bad as well.

A reason games have a bad rep is because video game movies tend to be awful. When you think about video games that have good stories you have a hard time imagining them being adapted into a 2 hour movie. But they have made good movies from lengthy novels so it can be done. .

I've always wanted to see a Shadow of The Collosus movie directed by Miyazaki. Wall-E showed you can make a succesful movie with little to no dialogue (though stretching it across an entire movie may be a bit more difficult). I think the visuals of that game would look fantastic on the big screen, and the soundtrack was worthy of a movie. I know it is a love it or hate it game but the headspace I was in when I played that game was similar to when I was reading a novel or watching a really involving movie. I think it would be an interesting experiment if they made a movie out of it. It would be a critical success but I doubt a commercial one.


Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2010, 08:32:14 PM »
I've always wanted to see a Shadow of The Collosus movie directed by Miyazaki. I think the visuals of that game would look fantastic on the big screen, and the soundtrack was worthy of a movie. I know it is a love it or hate it game but the headspace I was in when I played that game was similar to when I was reading a novel or watching a really involving movie. I think it would be an interesting experiment if they made a movie out of it. It would be a critical success but I doubt a commercial one.
I'm firmly in the hate camp for that game specifically because I always felt that it was more concerned with looking cinematic than it was with being a game, sort of like a real time version of Dragon's Lair.  So, yes, I think it'd be much better as a film. Perhaps with fewer colossi, as 90 minutes of one bloke stabbing 16 monsters one after the other might be taking the piss a bit.

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2010, 09:04:55 PM »
I know theres one of tekken thats been in production for seemingly ages...


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411951/



they usually fail for me because they're almost never in the spirit of the game.  its as if they think 'normal people' wont be able to follow the plotline of a computer game so they make some sort of massively contrived back story that makes a pigs ear of it.   I guess its a bit like the way some fans of complex books rarely like the film conversions because theres so much going on, only a few linear plotlines can be pulled out of it, with the rest of the book going to pulp...  But computer games are almost the other way if anything, lots of fragmented stages or action with very little filler in between which leads to a lot of dodgy artistic liscence being taken.   The manga streetfighter was brilliant though.

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2010, 09:28:20 PM »
a real time version of Dragon's Lair.

Yes please.
Always thought Bruce Campbell would have made an excellent Dirk but that was a few years ago now.

I actually enjoyed the first Resident Evil film, so much so that I saw it at the Cinema twice. I figured the events of the movie took place before the events of the first game, with the movie ending with the alpha (or Beta) squad checking out the house as in the first game. Coupled with Marilyn Manson's score and a return to Romero style Zombies I was a very happy chap back then.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2010, 03:17:55 AM »
they usually fail for me because they're almost never in the spirit of the game.  its as if they think 'normal people' wont be able to follow the plotline of a computer game so they make some sort of massively contrived back story that makes a pigs ear of it.
Yeah. While watching the Resi film I found myself wondering what that whole amnesia plotline was for. It seemed like a clumsy way of dripfeeding exposition and allowing Milla Jovovich's character to suddenly discover super kung fu skills at a convenient time.

Big Jack McBastard

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2010, 09:52:38 AM »
What's been the best one to date do you reckon?

I'm scratching my noggin and the least egregious one I can think of has been Silent Hill....

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2010, 10:15:46 AM »
Hitman could have been brilliant, but even that was hated by fans of the game because it wasn't in the same spirit. They were annoyed that it was too action packed and shoot outy, whereas the Hitman games have always been about creeping around and being stealthy and quiet. But let's face it, a whole game with endless stealth and sneaking and long planning would have been considered bloody boring as hell so it couldn't possibly have won. I think Roger Ebert liked it though. He's gone a bit funny since he had his jaw taken out.

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2010, 10:18:11 AM »
The Resident Evil films are probably the ones that come closest to working (though I haven't seen Silent Hill). Yeah, I'd say the first R:E was the best Video Game Movie. 4/10! [spoiler]Kidding (sort of)[/spoiler]

Not counting House of the Dead which was pretty much beneath contempt, I'd say Doom is the worst one I've seen (including one other Boll one). The early video game films (Super Mario Bros.*, Street Fighter (the first one), Double Dragon) were fiascos, but they at least had ambition and the odd nice touch or cute idea. Doom is just a incredibly lazy, shamelessly derivative (there's a steal from Predator that has to be heard to be believed) and downright unentertaining film. Hitman and Max Payne are similarly lazy efforts, but they are a little slicker and more entertaining.

*I do have a soft-spot for this one to be honest. When I was six I choose seeing it over Jurrasic Park, and didn't regret it at all.

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2010, 10:31:27 AM »
Super Mario Bros the Movie may well be the single most fascinating motion picture of all time. It would be insanity to claim it was good, but everything about the concept is just so wonderfully wrong I could watch it again and again.

The one I'm really looking forward to is Tim Burton's Dizzy Prince of The Yolkfolk:

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2010, 04:56:48 PM »
I hated Resident Evil. I think it was based on a different game to the one I played, because I remember a slow paced horror/detective story with lingering camera angles, brooding music and a palpable sense of dread. Definitely not a faced paced action fare with a metal soundtrack.

Video game movies won't get any respect or attract respected directors/screenwriters because movies are only made of the games that don't demand much respect in the first place. Max Payne, Hitman, Doom, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider etc. Mostly action games with poor, unoriginal or just non-existent storylines. Go to any game forum and and start a topic about which games have the best storylines and you won't see any there that have been made into movies. Why? Why isn't Deus Ex a film? Because as you'd expect, movies are made of the games that sold the best, not the ones with the most artistic merit.




Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2010, 07:25:01 PM »
Why? Why isn't Deus Ex a film?

I was thinking about a Deus Ex film the other day, oddly enough. It's one of the strongest, if not one of the most adult storylines of any game ever and could produce one, I'm going to say 2 hour (but NO more), great film. A handful of action scenes but nothing overcooked, just enough to maintain suspense. And no fucking big guns on the poster, for gods sake.

PS I think every game you nominated bar Mortal Kombat are highly respected :)

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2010, 08:43:45 PM »
We've had this problem with comic books and tabletop games for years, and it's never really resolved itself beyond producing niche cinema at best. Someone wrote a book about how Stallone's Judge Dredd made a huge profit despite being very so-so in terms of film for fans of 2000ad, and almost pointless in terms of a general audience. The book in précis: this film was a brand name, and sold as such, what happened on-screen was irrelevant.

Compare this to the nail-on-the-head, labours of love that are The Gamers (not to be confused with Gamer) and The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising, both capturing the fun of playing tabletop roleplaying games in a very accessible way cinematically, and, well, who here has even heard of them? You'll be outing yourself as gamer if you reply positively.

It has something to do with the level of involvement gaming demands, there is the very real feel throughout both Gamers that the people involved would be doing this anyway, irrespective of the cameras. I suspect the same to be true of a successful videogame crossover; it'll have to take into account the people playing the game, they will have to be as much the focus of the thing as any in-game plot or mechanic. Penny Arcade podcasts of dnd games are taking it too far in terms of this idea. There has to be a balance between esoteric minutiae of a game and ... something else, another angle that people who have not played the game can grasp, and it's relationship with the genre. The Gamers 2 learnt this, it is a very accessible film, and much the better for avoiding Natural 20 jokes of the first film, admittedly very funny if you know what they're talking about, not at all if you don't.

World of Warcraft springs to mind as a franchise waiting to happen, but it's going to be appauling if approaches the subject as a LoTR sort of affair. We're back into branding a product if they just focus on the sprites. Far better to focus on the players themselves, there is a fascinating film to be made out of that. And no, not a heavy-handed Monsters and Mazes tut tutting at mentally unstable players dropping dead at the keyboard. Although, admittedly, Monsters and Mazes is hilarious for all the wrong reasons, but again, this level of enjoyment of the film is very exclusive to being able to shake your head in utter disbelief at the way a roleplaying game is being demonized.

The Final Fantasy film that went mainstream (the one with Steve Buscemi) was... well, what, exactly? Incomplete by at least another thirty minutes, I recon. It just stopped. It rode to profit as the FF brand name, and frankly was a sign of things to come on the monitor.

Doom the movie is in the Catgirl category: not as unrelentingly terrible as we thought it was going to be. But again, by just focusing on the sprites, it missed why it was such a great game of its time. This was captured far better in Grosse Pointe Blank during the destruction of the convenience store.

Where is the sense of comic self-awareness we experience when playing a good game, or even a bad one, in these films? The importance of this is very much demonstrated in another sort of dodgy crossover: the novelisation of a game. The po-faced nature of some of the WH40K books are appauling compared with the ones that kick back and get on with enjoying the ludricrous set-up for what it is, ie fluff to fill out about four sides of maths tables, or to give variety and strategy to a bunch of essentially samey RTS sprites.

Staggeringly, the Halo series of novels are superb, but it fells so wrong typing this sentence, embarassing. Yet they are good books, and very suitable for a film franchise. If they're made, the question becomes: is this a computer game cross-over film? It's cheating, the difficult part of turning a FPS into a scifi epic has been done already in the text, creating Star Trek levels of backdrop. And therein lies the reason they won't get made: "scifi doesn't sell", apparently, and then again, their relation to the computer games would be fluffy at best when labelling them "computer game cross-over".

Why didn't Silent Hill work? What was with that rushed, non-point making ending? The UFO ending after the credits would have been great, but no, this was going to take itself too seriously from scene one. There is a very unusual and personalized sense of eustress in a survival horror game, well worthy of focus. But, again, it would require the inclusion of a player in the structure of the film.

Certain films have picked up on this idea, mostly R15 watered-down horrors, focusing in on a group of people playing a non-descript computer game... with real life consequences, dan dah dahhhhh. The mainstream film Gamer also falls into this category, feeding back the influence of film on computer games in a movie. But, these are not computer game crossovers, strictly speaking. Gamer in particular revealled the neutering effect of taking niche OTT madness like Crank mainstream, rather than anything about computer gaming.

What sets these films apart is that they are made by people who clearly sit on their arses playing computer games all day. That level of understanding at least comes across on screen, in a way that giving Spielberg the script to Halo would not. And herein lies the ultimate problem for Western mainstream cinema and computer game films: limited release of films in a year means less likelihood of someone who has actually played the game in question at the helm of the project. Scifi games aren't scifi, horror games aren't horror etc etc.

The funny thing is this: computer-game adaptations of films in the 1980's were notoriously awful, rushed-to-market, unrelenting rip-offs. It is arguable that ET the game almost sank the US console market. Now we're seeing an opposite effect, with terrible, terrible films turning people off cinema in much the same way, and with the same effects on the medium. Exciting cinema is almost exclusively overseas imports, where the love of film, the enjoyment of making a good movie is still squarely set above branding issues.


And... all that having been typed, some not awful films about computer games:

Tron was excellent. Yes it was, you've just forgotten what happens in it. Okay, it doesn't count because it became a game after the film.

The Tomb Raider films were saved by the single act of casting Rimmer as the butler. Okay, so they shouldn't be in this list either, but, this act of casting is on par with trying to capture the comic self awareness of playing a computer game like Tomb Raider, and deserves a mention.

Postal, yep. This. Like this. If you've played Postal 2 and loved it, this movie knows why. The director here is Uwe Boll, a man who has made more computer game movies than just about anyone else put together, almost all of them appauling, but with this, he got it right for the game in question. We could probably include his Blood Rayne films by the same criteria. What are the Blood Rayne games? Tits and gore and nazis. And thus the films.


It's not a very long list, is it? The Mortal Kombat films have their charms based squarely in how bad they are, ditto the masterpiece of bad cinema: Street Fighter The Movie.

Thing is, we can't make a decent movie like Gekijôban dôbutsu no mori, which is the charming Japanese interpetation of the Animal Crossing computer game. We just can't make films like this, it's not on our cultural radar of storytelling, computer game or not. We are still stuck with Hollwood, and it ain't budging.

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2010, 09:13:38 PM »
It's not a very long list, is it? The Mortal Kombat films have their charms based squarely in how bad they are, ditto the masterpiece of bad cinema: Street Fighter The Movie.

Mortal Kombat is essentially Enter the Dragon.

As for Street Fighter, that thing is an abomination rescued only by Raul Julia's M. Bison.  So much wrong with that film.  It focuses on the wrong guy (Ryu is the REAL main guy of SF2, NOT GUILE. Got that?  And don't get me started on the rest of the cast, oh and NO FIGHTING TOURNAMENT?  It's Street Fighter FFS)

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2010, 10:22:56 PM »
Steven E. de Souza is no stranger to comic books (Cadillacs and Dinosaurs) or great action movies (DIE HARD, 48 hours) or adapting scifi novels to make memorable Hollwood blockbusters (Running Man). He produced and wrote 80's mainstays Knightrider, V, and loads of horror shows on tv.

So... how come Street Fighter The Movie eluded his very apparent talent as a writer/producer? Tomb Raider 2, for that matter.

Van Damme made some of the best mainstream Western martial arts films, ever. Yet... where was his talent in SF?

The answer is a question: how could a blockbuster film be made of Street Fighter?

The perennial issue with games of films in the 80's and early 90's was that few films focused in on sprites moving along platforms, jumping, and/or throwing things for the most part of the film. SF is a visa versa, all kicking and punching and mashing the keys does not make for cinematic enjoyment, unless it is taken so far OTT by the likes of Neveldine & Taylor via comedy ultra-violent, real life anime. Even now, this is very niche entertainment, unthinkable in the 1990's.

Martial Arts films have a fairly tight plot, usually involving an injustice, an escape, a training sequence, a show down where the hero loses, a final conflict and victory through some great wisdom imparted somewhere along the line. None of that is inherent in the Street Fighter game. It should never have been made using that title. It is pure branding bullshit that made a profit so nobody in Hollywood gave a damn about the content. de Souza went on to repeat this "success" with... Judge Dredd.

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2010, 12:46:10 PM »
PS I think every game you nominated bar Mortal Kombat are highly respected :)

Amongst gamers yes, but I think presented to most others those games would reinforce the view of games being low-brow, maybe childish.

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2010, 03:24:05 PM »

The answer is a question: how could a blockbuster film be made of Street Fighter?

Martial Arts films have a fairly tight plot, usually involving an injustice, an escape, a training sequence, a show down where the hero loses, a final conflict and victory through some great wisdom imparted somewhere along the line. None of that is inherent in the Street Fighter game. It should never have been made using that title. It is pure branding bullshit that made a profit so nobody in Hollywood gave a damn about the content. de Souza went on to repeat this "success" with... Judge Dredd.


I remember at the time as a kid obsessed with the games that the films conjured up by my own imagination HAD to be like kickboxer, bloodsport, enter the dragon etc. but would OBVIOUSLY be better.  I think the games were also so appealing because fans of films like these could play the game and envisage such a similar situation story-wise in there head.  I think there was scope for it to work,  as the games are based around a fighting tournament and each character had there own backstory with a history- including rivals, wanting to avange the death of their father, how they learnt certain moves and a personal journey which led to their own participation in the tournament etc.etc...  but instead of being the violent gore em up the title suggested would be promised- the film was a PG shatfest, and at complete odds with the game. The whole fighting tournament aspect had been scrapped for some bizarre miltary situation with the whole streetfighter cast laughably given bit part roles down to whether they could be perceived as a 'goodie' or a' baddie' in this whole fictional skirmish, so instead of being some tantric yoga fire-breathing bendy armed mother fucker, dhalsim is now reduced to a 'scientist with a clipboard'.  Ryu, Ken, Chun Li and Bison whos vengeance story arc seemed to be the most fundamental to the game in the east had been downplayed for a more westernised guile and cammy fronted WAR EM UP. The manga film, and I can even vaguely remember buying a streetfighter comic book about a tournament 'staged by M Bison on the artifical island of chad'  were better simply becasue they were at least true to the game.


I tried to find the comic and it appears there were severalmade and binned over the years.  Ive found the first edition of the malibu one here:


http://destructoid.com/elephant/photo-m.phtml?photo_key=32690&post_key=72646



But this wasnt the one I had.   I rememeber it being more dark and more judge dredd like and dystopian.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2010, 05:23:16 PM »
I suspect the same to be true of a successful videogame crossover; it'll have to take into account the people playing the game, they will have to be as much the focus of the thing as any in-game plot or mechanic... focus on the players themselves, there is a fascinating film to be made out of that. And no, not a heavy-handed Monsters and Mazes tut tutting at mentally unstable players dropping dead at the keyboard... Doom the movie is in the Catgirl category: not as unrelentingly terrible as we thought it was going to be. But again, by just focusing on the sprites, it missed why it was such a great game of its time. This was captured far better in Grosse Pointe Blank during the destruction of the convenience store.

...

Where is the sense of comic self-awareness we experience when playing a good game, or even a bad one, in these films? The importance of this is very much demonstrated in another sort of dodgy crossover: the novelisation of a game. The po-faced nature of some of the WH40K books are appauling compared with the ones that kick back and get on with enjoying the ludricrous set-up for what it is, ie fluff to fill out about four sides of maths tables, or to give variety and strategy to a bunch of essentially samey RTS sprites... Why didn't Silent Hill work? What was with that rushed, non-point making ending? The UFO ending after the credits would have been great, but no, this was going to take itself too seriously from scene one. There is a very unusual and personalized sense of eustress in a survival horror game, well worthy of focus. But, again, it would require the inclusion of a player in the structure of the film.
So you're saying that in order for a game adaptation to work, it has to include some sort of Neverending Story style metatextual element? Frankly that sounds like it would be terrible. And I'm really not sure about this "comic self awareness" idea. Surely the measure of a really good game is that you lose yourself in it? Survival horror in particular relies entirely upon the player immersing themselves in the experience, otherwise it wouldn't be remotely scary. I want a silent Hill film to take itself seriously, it just needs to be done competently is all. Any writer that approaches it all as a joke just isn't trying hard enough.

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2010, 06:15:08 PM »
Sony have apparently commissioned some 'big name' Hollywood screen writer to come up with a movie based on the Uncharted games for the PS3. So in other words they seriously want a movie made which is based on a game franchise which is itself a total rip off of another movie franchise. Hooray for originality. I seriously hope it doesn't come to anything. Even the die hard fans of Uncharted are cringing at the idea from what I've read.

My hat goes off to Rockstar for not caving into massive financial offers from Hollywood to do a GTA movie. You just don't make a movie based on a game which is itself just a huge homage to other movies.

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2010, 07:32:24 PM »
Did Brett Ratner's plans for a Guitar Hero movie fall through?

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2010, 11:15:23 PM »
Oh god I really hope so that's a terrible idea..  I mean christ sidescrolling platformers may have been thin on plot/narrative but there's even less in GH..

Don't get me wrong I like the games... well some of them, the 'single-band' ones have been iffy bar the Metallica one and Band Hero was balls. Regardless I cannot begin to imagine how anything could come from this idea other than a formulaic piece of tat with no decent payoff or characters anyone could give a shit about.

I mean there's no protagonist in the games for fucks sake, bar the cartoony set-ups in the third one, the closest to any drama would be ahem 'boss battles' where the result is win or lose and...... nope that's it.

It would be totally open to a writer and/or director to go sandbox on it and end up producing something that bears no resemblance bar it's title to the notion that spawned it, whether that's a good or bad thing in the first place is questionable and the finished product, be it good, or much more likely. bad, would just end up leaving a cynical taste in the mouths of fans of the game and getting a piss poor reception from the general masses.

He might as well save himself the ignominy, knock up his guitar/band/whatever-the-hell film and release it under another name. Tacking 'Guitar Hero' on there is just begging for criticism:

Pissing off fans,
Assuming the millions that bought the games will pile in and line his pockets for him,
Shameless cash/tie-in,
Totally separated from the game,
Being a greed-whore.

To name but a few of the potential future reviewers comments.

If it happens I confidently predict no good will come of it.

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2010, 11:20:58 PM »
hah! I  think it tells you everything  that I thought the 'guitar hero the movie ' suggestion and Mcbastards in-depth post about how rediculous such a concept would be was actually a joke!


http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/08/28/guitar-hero-movie/



I remember there being a similar thing in the tvgohome programme whith a spoof add for 'tetris the movie-  tumbling blocks of fun!'

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2010, 11:27:26 AM »
I my be getting on a bit, but I thought the first Mortal Kombat film was a brilliantly put together chop-socky flick; some good characters, some cheesey characters, a proper bad guy, a backstory that doesn't really arse around beyond "every now and then there's a tournament. There just is, OK? Also, souls", some cracking sequences, the odd good joke and, of course, Christopher Lambert. What more could you want? It's a martial arts film; the clue's in the name. If anyone tried to claim it as high art they would need looking at quite sternly but no-one does; it is - to my mind - simply the best game-to-film translation so far.

As said by a couple of folk up there ^ a film of Deus Ex could - if handled properly and sensibly - be absolutely stunning; especially since the game allows for a choice of character path, so even the most avid gamer wouldn't know before watching the film (if he avoids spoilers of course) how it turns out. In fact, budget permitting, in this digital distribution age it should be possible to film three or four versions and have the version randomly selected for each cinema showing, just to keep the suspense high for the first week, then give people the choice. Anyway, probably a crap idea, that, but the basic premise of Deus Ex being eminently suitable for film treatment remains.

I'd also like to nominate Flashback as a game that could make a great film if handled properly, but then again every single time the subject of games comes up in conversation I find a way to shoehorn Flashback into it. Still and all, I think it could work.

Mortal Kombat (the first one only - the others were gash) remains the only film made about a video game that I would actually look forward to seeing if I saw it in the TV schedule, which I think is a pretty sad state of affairs. Tomb Raider II - Cradle of Life is a film I'd watch if it happened to be on, but MK I'd almost certainly record so I could watch it again later on.

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  • 'S all in the game, yo
Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2010, 09:53:33 AM »
There's no reason in the world why an adaptation of a computer game - practically any computer game (with the possible exception of Tetris) - would not make for an excellent adaptation.  I think the reason they're always shit is because of the approach to making them.

Essentially computer games like Resident Evil or Silent Hill have loose plotlines that the player is invited to fill in.  In a way that's mana from heaven for a screenwriter.  Kubrick always said it's much easier to adapt a novella than a novel because you get to flesh out the story, rather than cut it back and risk losing what makes it a good book in the first place.  Computer games are largely the same.  Doom, Mortal Kombat etc have virtually no plotline at all, but have a pitch which can easily be developed into a sellable movie.

I think where it's going wrong is who they feel their films are being aimed at.  They adapt computer games in part because there's already an audience out there who are familiar with the game.  They feel that gamers are largely spotty teenage boys who are more interested in action scenes than plotlines, so make the films accordingly.  And it's worth noting that Resident Evil has been successful enough amongst this demographic to justify a couple of sequels.  Essentially, they make them like this because they sell to that demographic.  They don't survive longterm, but they're not designed to.  Films make their money on the opening weekend, if they don't score a certain amount at that point then the film is effectively dead.  And most computer game adaptations have actually done ok.  After that, they don't really care what happens to them.

You'll notice a lot of big computer game adaptations are made by Paul WS Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, AVP).  His career is based around making shallow popcorn fodder that is largely forgotten about by next week.  Yet every film he has made has turned a healthy profit.  In other words, he's reliable.  Most of the computer game adaptations I've seen have been made very much in his mould.  In my opinion, this is why they're shit.  They're seen as niche genre movies for a specific yet reliable audience.

MojoJojo

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2010, 11:09:05 AM »
I think the real problem is why make films based off games? Few games have a plot which is up to much by films standards, and I think the few that do are impractical to make into a film*. I'm willing to hear exceptions.
As has been pointed out, the only reason games get made into films is because of the guaranteed sales from brand recognition. So why bother making the films any good.

Let's not forget all the terrible film-to-video games there have been over the years too. Athough it's improved a bit recently with the brand owners enforcing some quality control.






*often purely down to length. Which makes me wonder whether a series based on a game could work well. Mass Effect could be made into a simple little sci-fi show.

Jemble Fred

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Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2010, 11:12:49 AM »
I've just realised I haven't taken this opportunity to post my Sonic teaser for the nth time:



It's very dark and twisted, an 18, and directed by Christopher Nolan.

Santa's Boyfriend

  • 'S all in the game, yo
Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2010, 11:39:30 AM »
I think the real problem is why make films based off games? Few games have a plot which is up to much by films standards, and I think the few that do are impractical to make into a film*. I'm willing to hear exceptions.

But it's true of most media formats that a literal adaptation into a movie won't work.  Where The Wild Things Are had a plot so simple that a literal adaptation would have lasted 2 minutes.  There are very few films made where the adaptation is literal.  (The movie of From Hell had a total of 2 scenes from the book*.  The rest was entirely made up.)  As I said, the fact that game plots aren't up to much isn't in any way a hindrance, it's actually a good thing because it gives the screenwriter more leeway to do their own thing and come up with a good story.  If the films are shit, it's not the fault of the game - any more than the movie of From Hell being shit being the fault of the book.


*The scenes in question were[spoiler] when Netley writes the letter addressed "From Hell", and when we see the dissection of the final girl, resulting in time-travel.[/spoiler]

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2010, 12:43:53 PM »
Where The Wild Things Are had a plot so simple that a literal adaptation would have lasted 2 minutes. 

It showed

Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2010, 12:43:59 PM »
I'd love to have seen an Earthworm Jim film - a feature-length animation by the same people who made the TV series, not a live action adaptation.  Although it would be interesting to see a live action Professor Monkey-for-a-Head.

I must not fear, fear is the mind-killer...

Jemble Fred

  • ... And I ain't ashamed.
    • 100% BALLS
Re: Videogame Movies
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2010, 01:01:44 PM »
I've never understood the wide-spread hatred of From Hell – but then I came to the movie having never heard of the comic book.

I found a Ripper story starring Johnny Depp, with Robbie Coltrane as his sidekick and a very sexy turn from Heather Graham. Nothing not to love there.