Thanksiving Post – Game Movies

For family reasons I am not having my Thanksgiving until Friday, so tonight is just business as usual for me. I’m taking my small bit of self-alloted time on the computer to write a blog post.

Games Radar has written a classic fluff piece designed exclusively for diggs. It has to do with game game movies, and I find it completely wrong, so here is my fluff piece meant exclusively for diggs.

Let’s look at it point by point. Their first is

“Respect the source material

You bought the IP for a reason and it’s successful for a reason. Your audience is there, so take it seriously and they’ll come. ”

This is a narrow view that assumes that all gamers think like the ones who post on gaming websites. It doesn’t seem to me that every game movie has tanked, so someone is watching. And considering that people who don’t know the related game are unlikely to care, that means that the fans are watching the movie. At least, the fans who don’t give too much of a shit. The people who complain about the tiniest glaring errors are just one slice of the overall audience, and I do not think they are the biggest. They merely have the biggest mouths.

Even still, their point isn’t entirely without merit, but here is another thing to think about: Frank Miller’s comic books made a splash on the silver screen because they only existed when a product was made that Miller liked. Until game developers have a say as to the creation of a film, don’t expect any level of respect, and even then, you have to hope the developers know what is best.

Point 2 is “Use the game’s strengths”. This is bullshit. Most mythologies in games are the same, or no better, than anything in film or books. As for setpieces, what are we talking about here? Are we talking about Krato’s QTE sequences in God of War? Because I watched those. Are we talking about the opening Sequence of Bioshock? Because I (mostly) watched that too. See where I am getting at? Setpieces in games are usually one of two things; non interactive parts, or highly interactive parts that are going to play out differently for different people. If it is the former, what is the point of repeating it in a film? If it is the latter, then no matter what the director thinks is right, most people still won’t agree. Games are not movies, and they don’t have very good plots. That means they don’t have much in the way of strengths when it comes to filmmaking.

Point 3 is “Cast it properly, for the love of God!”

Kind of hard when the films don’t always use characters from the game.

Point 4 is “Different directors direct differently

Not until they’re done making all the comic book movies.

I don’t know why we are so worried about good game movies. If you want an example, I think the Resident Evil films look poor, so I haven’t seen any of them. I don’t, however, want a “true” RE film. Why would I? I’ve seen the cutscene of Leon facing the Licker in RE2. Anything they would add to the confrontation would be the usual Hollywood bravado. The majority of the game involves fiddling with keys based on chess pieces and playing cards. There’s lots of walking. A true Resident Evil film would suck just as much as what we got.

I also feel that no game movie will ever please people. For example, the Hitman games have often tried to give Agent 47 some extra depth, and to make him look more like a human. Most of it falls apart, and he goes back to being a cold blooded killer. So why do we expect the Hitman film to be anything more than 47 killing people and getting some tail? If it ends up being a shallow action film, look at the fucking source material. Gamers want these films to have depth and character development. Often that is going to be both impossible (because there is none in the game itself) and hypocritical (because you just told me you wanted the film to be true to the source).

I personally am going to try and see Hitman, expecting good action. I feel I won’t be disappointed.
Marvelous what happens when you don’t sweat the small stuff.

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16 years ago

As far as I am concerned, there is only one true game movie and that is The Wizard with Fred Savage.

16 years ago

Kudos for calling bullshit. “Use the game’s strengths?” Come on! The two mediums are incredibly different – much more so than comics and movies or books and movies, even. What makes most good games successful is gameplay – which as a completely meaningless concept as far as movies go. And how do you leverage a brilliant control scheme in a movie? If you want a movie that uses the game’s strengths go watch some gameplay videos; otherwise just get the best director and cast that your money can buy and let the movie people do their thing.

16 years ago

Here! Here!