Video game movies are nothing new. Almost since the popularization of video games, movies of them have been put into production, with… mixed results to say the least. This isn’t stopping the movie industry though, with a whole slew of video game tie ins coming out in the near future.
2016 has already seen some hit and miss movie titles. Ratchet and Clank premiered this past April, facing criticism that it was trying to fit a 10 hour game’s plot into an hour and a half of movie. The World of Warcraft movie, released in June, faced decidedly mixed reviews, as did the Angry Birds movie in May. Upcoming titles are the Assassin’s Creed movie, due in December, and the ‘final’ Resident Evil movie, due in January.
It seems as though the juggernaut isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Despite this, though, there’s still the impression among gamers and moviegoers alike that video game movies just aren’t any good. Why is that?
Well, to answer all we have to do is wave a hand at the Wikipedia list of video game movies and say, ‘Well, pretty much that.’ The list includes such illustrious examples as Super Mario Bros., Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. The movies are so famously bad that they’re now shorthand for rushed tie ins.
That’s not to say that all video game movies are bad. Look at the movie adaptation of Silent Hill in 2006. It was by no means perfect, but it did manage to capture the iconic look and feel of the Japanese horror games.
So, why do these games go wrong? The general consensus online is that the movie makers don’t appreciate the differences between storytelling in these different mediums. In a video game, you have hours upon hours to get to know and love the characters you play with. That’s why events such as Aeris’ death in Final Fantasy 7 have such a huge impact, and have stuck with gamers years after they played the game.
There’s also the argument that watching the story isn’t as fun as playing it yourself. One of the common complaints with the Doom movie was that when you play Doom, it’s fun to run around shooting demons. When the running around and shooting is happening on screen, it’s not as engaging as you’re not as involved. This is a concern for the upcoming Five Nights At Freddy’s movie. Will it be as fun when you’re not the one trapped in the security booth, being hunted by crazed animatronics?
If film production companies can overcome these problems, there’s scope for the new movies in the pipeline to do really well. Whether the Minecraft or Sonic the Hedgehog movies can craft a decent narrative though remains to be seen.