Video Game Movies Hollywood Should Make (But Won't)
What is it with Hollywood's obsession with video games these days? Not content with dredging through our collective childhoods for comic book and cartoon heroes to bend to their corporate will, Hollywood executives have now started piling on video game-to-movie adaptations. The problem with most, if not all, of these recent video game movies is that they suck, hard. Not that these executives care, since they are just cynically telling directors to paint-by-numbers and churn out dreck that the fans will watch anyway. Since when do games like Street Fighter, Tekken, or Mortal Kombat need movies made about them, anyway? The major point of these games is punching other people in the face, hardly enough content to fill a 2-hour feature film. Many games that have spawned movies (Hitman, Silent Hill) are themselves heavily inspired by action and horror films in the first place! It's like a recursive stupidity loop, in which the same idea just keeps getting regurgitated forever. Perhaps the worst offender was the recently released PSP game, Dragon Ball Evolution, which was based on a live action movie, which was based on a different video game, which was based on a Japanese anime TV show, which was based on a print Manga... when will it stop?
To encourage debate and hopefully to show the world that not all video games are mindless entertainment, we've compiled a list of video games that we think would make better films than the current crop of duds.
Bioshock - Do you know why Bioshock was so great? Despite not having multiplayer deathmatch, the first game sold well because it had a fantastic and original story, full of engaging characters. Little Sisters and Big Daddies were creepy and iconic, drawing the player into a world on the brink of extinction, crushed by both its unrealistic goals and the weight of 3000 feet of seawater. We have never seen anything like the retro-dystopic setting of Bioshock, in film or elsewhere. That's why it would make a good candidate for translation to another medium. Sadly, there was actually a Bioshock movie in production with Gore Verbinsky directing, but then it got shelved.
Zelda - Somewhere back in the recesses of Shigeru Miyamoto's genius brain, this game probably drew its influence from Western fairytales (you know, princesses, knights, and all that). But thanks to the sheer wackiness caused by being filtered through Japanese culture, the result is a world that defies characterization as either "east" or "west". Our hero Link wanders the barren wastes searching for lost pieces of his broken heart (metaphor!) while Zelda cavorts with her secret lover behind the scenes. We could see a raconteur like Guillermo Del Toro directing this feature, which would combine the whimsical and the horrific, as Ganon's lust for power threatened to consume the entire kingdom.
Half Life - Futuristic dystopias have been done to death already (Children of Men, 1984) as have aliens who come from another dimension (The Mist, Stargate). In that sense, any movie based on Half Life would end up being pretty derivative, were it not for one factor: everyman character Gordon Freeman. The nerdy scientist who survives an alien apocalypse and leads the resistance against it would resonate with nerdy IT folks everywhere. We're not saying this movie would be actually good, but it would definitely be entertaining, which is more than we can say for a lot of video game movies.
Assassin's Creed - Here's a game from a big publisher that one would think would feature a derivative storyline. But we can't recall ever seeing a movie about a megalomaniacal corporation from the future that tries to hack people's brains to assassinate its enemies from the past. In fact, crazy as this might seem, we wouldn't mind seeing an entire trilogy made from this game, featuring Desmond's gradual awakening and final showdown with his captors the Abstergo corporation (or are they actually the good guys? Dun dun dun....). Maybe Ubisoft is already thinking along these lines, having commissioned a series of short films based on the Assassin's Creed 2 storyline.
Metroid -- What's this, another Nintendo franchise? Yes. Outside of some bizarrely inappropriate adaptations of the Mario Brothers series, Nintendo games are fertile ground for would-be film directors. Something about them that is so disconnected from American pop culture makes them perfect candidates for original screenplay treatment. Sure, the idea of a lone space farer trapped in a cavern full of blood-sucking aliens has been done before (Pitch Black), and it has even been done with a chick as the main character (Aliens). But Metroid - and here we're talking about the old NES version - has something those films needed. Totally batshit crazy environments. What were those bubble doors Samus slithered through in the NES game about, anyway? Not to mention the creepiest alien enemies ever seen, all leading up to a final confrontation with Mother Brain itself. Mother Brain. How awesome would that be on film?
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