Video Game Movies: When will the GAMERS be happy?

15 03 2010

It is fairly common in cinema today to have every few new releases peppered with a film adaptation of a video game. Undoubtedly, the realm of movie adaptations of video games has quickly grown in only 20 years time, but regardless if you’re a gamer or not, the general conception about video game movies is that they suck.


High five! We Fail!

There are several reasons why this overall idea exists. The first being that it is terribly true. Video game adaptations gained a bad reputation

"You can't leave now! We still have a few pieces of Street Fighter canon to ruin!"

early in the game during the 80’s and early 90’s with such films as Mario Brothers, Double Dragon, and Street Fighter debuting on the silver screen with a grab-bag mix of campy material, bad acting, and lack of actually adapting anything from the games.

Another reason however, is truly due in part to the fans of such games. It is true that a lot of video game films have been made with seemingly no effort put forth to creating a likeness to the original story, characters, or even quality of the games being adapted. Movies such as Doom, Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li, and Max Payne have often left gamers with a bad taste in their mouths, and nothing but contempt for moviemakers that seemed to not have any inclination to do justice to their beloved games on the silver screen.

That being said, video game adaptations have come a long way.

Filmmakers seemed to have taken a signal from complaining audiences and gamers, and have created new adaptations that can serve both crowds well. Stylized versions of old favorites like Hitman, Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil have proved successful in the box office, and have been easier to swallow for gamers looking for a good adaptation.

The real problem lies with the gaming purists and unfortunately, they seem to be the loudest critics there are of these films.

The greatest example of this is present with the upcoming adaptation of Tekken (due to debut in Japan on March 20).

For years, gamers pined after an adaptation for the original Tekken series, however, when the trailer to the movie released earlier this year, it received nothing but anger.

From an objective standpoint, it seems like a decent action flick. From a Tekken gamer standpoint, it seems that the filmmakers included a good amount of primary characters and shifted the story chronology, but overall kept to the game. To the gaming purists however, the list of wrongs this movie is doing is seemingly endless.

What?! Kazuya has a goatee? Heavens forefend!!

Since the trailer released on Youtube, the comments section on both the video page and Facebook page have been littered with negative comments nitpicking everything from the shift of storyline (several characters appear from different games in the series), to the use of weapons (a bonus ability in the 6th game), to the existence of a goatee on Kazuya (in game, the character has no facial hair).

The point is that with all of these criticisms apparent on what seems to be a decently made movie (sure, not amazing, but a far cry from Dead or Alive) it makes people wonder what WILL make gamers happy. If filmmakers adapted every single nuance from a game to a film, what purpose would it serve? And in that case, why don’t gamers just play the game if they’re just going to watch a rehash? Video game adaptations exist to be sleeker and more concise than 40-50 hours in front of a TV screen will provide.

So to the purists: stop complaining and learn to judge a movie by its quality, not by the miniscule details that are omitted.

Click here for a fairly comprehensive list of film adaptations of video games.



2 responses

25 03 2010

The first thing I saw was the mario picture and I practically screamed (in my head) “it’s MARIO & LEUIGE”! But of course, I was thinking of the original nintendo version, which I thought was the greatest thing ever invented when I was like 8. I really liked your post, and I never really thought about movie adaptations of games, but now that you’ve brought it up, quite a few come to my mind. My dad used to have the Doom game, but he never let me play it because I was too “young.” But then I did see part of the Doom movie, and clearly it wasn’t very well done, because I hardly remember it (I remember the game, which I never was able to play, more). I do really like the resident evil movies though, more so the first one, but they are really well done.

20 04 2010

I think Mario Brothers is the best of the video game movies (that’s not necessarily a great achievement). True, it contains the minimum amount of material necessary to be connected to the game. But, how the heck could you make a true adaptation of that game? Would you make a movie about a plumber killing turtles and throwing fire?

I also appreciate the greatness of Street Fighter (greatness, in this case, refers to how entertainingly godawful the film is). It’s like the filmmakers literally took a list of characters and threw them in wherever they could.

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