Real Talk

The Coin-Op Question: Are Video Game Movies Good For The Industry?

Real Talk By: KJ

Question Posed By: Vex

With the announcement of a Mega Man Movie from 20th Century Fox, and Assassin’s Creed on track for release in 2016, what’s next?  Hopefully a lot more.  However, if we see another big budget screw-up, other studios may be less willing to invest in the future.  The money train is there, executives need to get on it.  The movies that stick to the source are at least watchable.  So many have strayed far away from the material.  Far too many abominations like Alone in The Dark, Double Dragon, King of Fighters, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, and the list goes on.  Marvel movies turn out well, because for the most past, key elements are untampered with.

Perhaps enhancement films are ultimately the best way to go about this. While the following are TV specials, In Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn we were able to get a unique story as the plot connected to the events of the game smoothly. Quantum Break will have episodes that unlock as players progress through the game.  You can’t get any closer to the source than that.  Will Hollywood pay attention, or deviate like they always do.  If executed properly future flicks may enrich the gaming culture, opening the eyes of outsiders. Possibly.  Weekly Question: Are Video Game Movies Good For The Industry?

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6 comments

  1. They certainly have the potential to be. Look again, at comics, novels, and other mediums. The key though is it has to be good. Obviously it can’t be 100% exactly like the original medium as films can’t cram 100 years of comic continuity or 1000 novel pages into 90 minutes. But when you look at things like the Richard Donner Superman movies, or some of the better Stephen King adaptations it renews interest. Sometimes, being different makes the film better while still helping advertise the original. Look at Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining.

    The thing is with video games it isn’t easy to adapt many of them. Especially if the people it is given to, aren’t intimately familiar with them. Part of that is because games are interactive. Large parts of the narrative come about in how you play them. In modern games it may be a little bit less difficult since the story is such a big part. On paper you would think Half-Life, The Last Of Us, Uncharted, Halo, or Metroid Prime would be no brainers. But you’re a silent protagonist in those. How do you write, or cast Nathan Drake, Samus Aran, or Gordon Freeman since they say little to nothing save for a cut scene?

    That isn’t to say that video game films can’t be good. They should be. Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and even Mortal Kombat had very talented people involved, but they had no idea on how to make those concepts work. Resident Evil all but abandoned the setup, and used a lot of new characters exclusive to the films. Tomb Raider tried a little bit harder but it still wasn’t anything special. Mortal Kombat tried to jam some of the game lore into the two movies, but did everything so ajar, that to the typical movie goer none of it made sense. Super Mario Bros makes no sense as a movie or as an adaptation. But you can still appreciate that everyone tried to do something with what they were given. Street Fighter, well, ended up being a cobbled together JCVD B movie. There are all kinds of documented articles about its troubled production. But much like Frank Langella did with his role as Skeletor, the late Raul Julia still brought a lot of his professional theatre expertise to his role as M Bison. Every second he is on camera he is still entertaining, and you almost buy the character. Almost.

    The problem isn’t a lack of talent. The problem is getting people who understand the mythos around the game in question, and people on the business end who are willing to take a risk on letting those people make something true enough to the games, but also something a general movie goer can understand. There also has to be a realistic expectation to what games have worlds that can work as a movie, and then what kind of movie it can be. Rock Man/Mega Man has a story that can work as an action movie romp. It has characters with clear motivations, it has its roots in anime influences like Casshern, and Astroboy. It can be campy at times. But it can work. The question is can the people making the movie write that story in an entertaining way that both stays true enough to the games, while still being a good standalone 90 minute experience. If they can finally do it, then yes. It’s good for video games, because new people might be interested enough to buy Mega Man games, and become fans who buy other games. If they can’t, it won’t ruin Mega Man, or anybody’s childhood. It will just be another bad movie everybody forgets about for awhile. Until someone goes “Remember that bad movie based on Mega Man?” then harangues a prominent internet video producer to review it in a hilarious manner.

    Hopefully Mega Man bucks the trend. Odds are it won’t. But we’ll have to wait, and see. Either way, I think Robert Duvall should get the role of Doctor Wily.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It depends on who’s working on the film in my opinion. Everyone has different views on what they think a good superhero film should be and it might now go well with people like us that grew up with these iconic characters.

    As long as it’s not as awful as those Resident Evil movies I think we’ll be okay, but I would love for whoever gets their hands on these IPs to respect where they came from and what the fans will want to see on the big screen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If done right video game movies could be fun to watch. Sadly most gaming movies suck. It’s not even limited to live action, as I have watched many sub par animes based on games. Don’t know why. Years ago people thought that super hero movies couldn’t be good. Hopefully a studio will crack the code to making a watchable gaming flick some day.

    Liked by 1 person

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