It’s time to provide a similar, yet new, perspective on the topic of video game movies. Look, we all enjoy a good escape – for some, this escape comes in the form of video games, and for others, it comes in the form of movies. Both of these mediums have mass appeal and rake in enough guap to run a medium-to-large sized government. You would think, because these two mediums are so widely successful, that making a video game inspired movie would be a cakewalk, low diff, GG from the get go – but you would be wrong, dear reader. Making a successful movie adaptation of a game is almost as hard as convincing a DC acolyte that Batman v. Superman (Dawn of whatever) was “meh”. Here are some reasons why video game type movies fail to impress critics and fans alike.
This is Not What I Asked For
The biggest hurdle that most adaptations face is the preconceived ideas of what the adaptation should be, and video game movies are not free from this criticism either. Fans of the video game expect to experience a similar level of joy from the movie, as they did from the video game they played once upon a Sunday. No matter how you adapt the game, you will always lose in this area.
Content is King
A defining factor for any piece of media, is content! The lack of good content is evident in video game movies. One can only watch so many cars blow up and not start seeing a pattern of distractions. Content should be a good magic show; “Look over here!” [Flash of awesomeness] and then, “TADAH,” a rabbit was pulled out of a hat. Content should be entertaining, gripping and have a great pay-off in the end. Instead of creating a story in the world and rules of a video game (Ready Player One for the win), too many video game movies are focused on creating content that is true to the source material and, in doing so, lose the audience. Video games are structured for hours upon hours of gameplay and content, to compress this effectively is a herculean feat.
Animation Versus Live Action
It is somewhat alarming that animated video game movies/series have better critical acclaim and fan following than their live action counterparts. Why are animated video game movies better than live action movies you ask? The answer is simple, let me explain: Animated movies are by proxy fictional in nature (mind… blown!). This narrative fits in well with the fictional world of video games, and animated movies can keep to the style of video games, becoming an addition to the lore. If you don’t believe me, check out Pokemon Origins, and try imagine it as a live action adaptation within the same style, if you didn’t cringe a little, I’ll accept defeat.
Lack of Impact
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, video games allow the player to interact as their character of choice and interact with the world as they see fit. This is a major drawback, because until virtual reality movies become a thing, the interactivity of video game movies is lacking.
Until we can see the melding of these themes, the best video game movies we will see are the trailers to our favourite video games, and the in-game cinematic is more than enjoyable enough as is.Don’t believe me? Play The Last of Us, and let us debate in the comment section.