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Monday, August 17, 2015

Why Video Game Movies Usually Fail

So, hey, new Hitman movie. Is it going to be good? I'm not going to hold my breath. That's not to say it won't be good, rather that its not the best idea for a game to movie adaptation. I have a few thoughts on why most, if not all, video game movies fail.

1. Don't work with fighting games.
While the first Mortal Kombat movie was an exercise in cheesy goodness, the sequel was not. Of course there are other issues why the sequel failed: switching actors, purposefully cheesy script and dialogue, horrible CGI over extremely good practical effects. But the main reason is the cast. Fighting games have the most characters possible. Hell. Now if you don't have at least 10 characters to choose from in fighting games, people will tear you apart from the lack of a sufficient roster. The original Mortal Kombat had still far too many characters for it to work in a movie. Fans of Reptile, Scorpion and Sub Zero were probably not too happy to see their favorite characters under used. The reason it wasn't too much of a blow is because those three characters are basically the same visually. They don't have much personality either and in Reptile's case, most of them don't even really talk. Point is, you have to put all the roster of characters in and NOT choose someone to be better than another. Fanboys/girls will rage all day about how their favorite character was misrepresented or, "Come on? Defeated by THAT character? You must be tripping!"

2. The premise must be simple.
As much as I hate to admit it, The Elder Scrolls can never have a movie. Think about all the awesome things about Elder Scrolls apart from combat and magic. The biggest thing to come up is the lore. From countless books, tomes and just simple throw away dialogue from random NPCs, Elder Scrolls thrives on you wanting to know more. You hear someone talk about the Fall of Kavatch (probably spelled that wrong) or the Eruption of Red mountain. Either you already know, want to know or don't care. You have agency to dive deeper into the lore of the games to find out more about the Dwemer or not. With movies, you can't know what will and won't be important. You have so much to work on and so limited time to explore what really is necessary. Its similar to the point about fighting games. You either focus on a character or event no one wants to know about or an event/character everyone wanted but is never mentioned.

3. You can only use action for a genre.
While you may disagree, action is really the bread and butter of simple stories. Die Hard doesn't have too much depth other than its action yet its still a good movie. Comedies are a possibility but you could always run into the problem of a joke just not being funny. In action, as long as you keep it awesome it can really do no wrong. Physics be damned, this thing will happen and most people will like it. If you choose drama, you might as well not even make a direct video game movie but a spin off like so many fan made films online. Fantasy has the same problem like mentioned in the second point. Too much in too little time. Action really cuts away the fat of all of the complexities. If Hitman was a thriller, it probably wouldn't do well. Slasher, definitely not. Thriller implies Agent 47 is in some sort of actual danger and is frightened by it. But, if you've ever played a Hitman game, you'll know 47 has the emotional range of a door. Slasher is immediately taken out for similar reasons. Of course they can't kill the main character and of course 47 would have to be the slasher. Otherwise there's no one to project onto. As awesome as a fight between 47 and Jason Vorhees would be, it would have to be action at best. Jason hunting a character who doesn't even flinch in the face of gore or death or 47 hunting someone who... well I take back my 'expressions like a door' for 47 and put it on Jason. He literally never shows his face.

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