Movies and Games: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
By Chris Kavan - 02/05/10 at 11:43 AM CT
My first blog post; I feel so important now. I thought I would post something that combines two of my passions: movies and video games.
Let’s fact it: these two mediums have had a rough relationship. Games based on movies tend to fall into either bad (think E.T. – which pretty much destroyed the Atari) or completely average (such as the recent Avatar game which looked mighty pretty, but sunk itself story-wise).
On the flip side, movies based off video games suffer even more. Just ask anyone who’s had the displeasure of sitting through an abomination by Uwe Boll or the less-than-stellar Super Mario Bros. movie. In fact, there are very few movies based on video games I would consider “good”. I own one movie based on a video game: Silent Hill. I loved the visual elements, which were quite on par with the game – eerie and disturbing: The plot, not so much. Of course the game plot is so crazy; I can see why they went another direction. Still, out of the many failures, this one at least retained most of what made the game so fun.
Other game-based movies have done pretty good: Tomb Raider, the Resident Evil series – however, no one is going to consider them high class films by any stretch. Far more have done more harm than good: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Mortal Kombat, Max Payne – you would be hard up to find many people who would support these efforts.
Can these two mediums ever work together? Or do they even have too? For those who are playing current generation games (Wii excluded – sorry) it’s hard not to notice that games themselves are becoming more cinematic. I dare you to play Bioshock (which, by the way, is in development) or Mass Effect 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, DragonAge: Origins, Fallout 3 and tell me the story is not compelling. Heck, the upcoming Heavy Rain looks exactly like an interactive film proving you don’t need blood, guns or swords to make a mature game.
Likewise, films look more like video games. You would think Iron Man would be perfect, but that game was a major let down. Just like Transformers and Avatar. Even the vast legion of Harry Potter fans have to admit the video games have been lacking in the magic department. I find the most enjoyable video games out of movies are Lego – Lego Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman and, yes, upcoming Harry Potter – they’re fun, casual and with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor.
I think the main problem is the parties concerned on both ends are more interested in making a quick buck by cashing in on a name rather than making a good product. Could the upcoming Bioshock movie be good? Based on the game, it should be great (despite the fact the hero says nothing during the game) but I’m wary because of the track record. On the flipside, SEGA is doing everything they can to prove that Iron Man 2: The Video Game will be everything that the first Iron Man was not: namely a good game. Will I get Iron Man 2: The Game? Not unless you pay me.
The most fun I’ve had playing a video game based on a movie was very old school: Roger Rabbit and Goonies for the original Nintendo and the Super Star Wars series for Super Nintendo and, for the record, Goonies had absolutely zilch to do with the movie, it just retained the name. One of the few games I’ve ever sold back was Enter the Matrix. Despite being tailor-made for games, it was a complete disappointment. You can’t just throw in bullet time and expect things to be A-OK.
At this point in time, I’ve pretty much given up on any game living up to the movies and likewise any movie living up to the game. I’m always hopeful that I can be proven wrong, but if history is any indication, I’m not going to be holding my breath.