Video Movie...err games
by, 02-23-2009 at 02:00 PM (4831 Views)
Video games have a torrid history of being made into movies, there have been very few successful adaptations; commercially or critically. This is a problem that has been apparent since one of the first game to film conversions appeared with Mortal Kombat and such like. However, we have seen more success recently with the Resident Evil and Silent Hill films, and hopefully the NEW Street Fight Movie: TRAILER
One of the key problems with turning a video game into a film is dealing with the fans of the game. We, the gamers are similar to many other die-hard fans of other entertainment types. You will see fans of a specific film up in arms when a remake is announced; this applies in a similar way with us. A large proportion of games which are made into movies have this die hard group of fans, and for them, if anything is slightly different in the film version of their game, well then they will be in uproar.
This was seen with Doom, which i personally didn't like. If I recall correctly, the games in the series focus on a demonic invasion of Mars by legions from Hell but, the film took a different perspective on the story by introducing human biological engineering and doing away with the darker more evil aspects of the story.
The decision by the film makers to ignore the story and setting of the games meant that their target audience was turned away from the film, atleast thats my opinion.
The issue of interactivity between the audience and the film has long since been a problem when it comes to making a film based on a game. The trouble is that games are all about the interaction between the gamer and what they are playing. Creating this sense of interaction in a film is near impossible, and for this reason many gamers are dismissive of a cinematic interpretation of a game.
Non-gamers can also be dismissive of a film that has been based on a game and they can feel isolated when watching it, IE: my wife and silent hill. Games often come with a story and sense of place that can only be understood when someone is actually playing.
Games which have been transformed into films, such as the said silent hill and Resident Evil, have created a long standing narrative over the series of the games. Looking at the film conversions of these games is interesting; the Resident Evil movies have moved away from the settings of the games with a key sequence in the latest movie taking place in Las Vegas. (which was personally my least favorite)
This change of setting means that people who are not interested in the games are more likely to pay attention to the movie. In this way the Resident Evil movies have made a conscious effort not to isolate a wider audience.
We have seen through films such as Hitman that not all game to film adaptations are able to avoid isolating their audience. The problem with the Hitman movie was that it failed to deviate away from the games to gain a new audience, and also failed to stay true enough to the franchise to maintain the support of the fans. Although the movie was done well, more than I can say for max pain.
Transferring a game into a film is a much more challenging task then creating a movie based on a book. Attempting to create an enjoyable and critically successful film that is based on a game requires great skill from the makers. The different aspects present in a game, be it the story or the interaction with the player, cannot be readily transferred onto the big screen but, despite the difficulties, the number of poorly received game to film adaptations and the heavy criticisms of pretty much every adaption made, the studios continue to churn them out and ready them for the crossfire of comments from both film and game fans alike. There have been a few successes amongst the rubble of bad adaptations so, there is some hope for this type of film and as both industries evolve and develop their relationship, we are more likely to see improvements and more successful ones beginning to appear. Hopefully starting with Street Fighter (2, technically) -
With that being said, let me wrap this up by saying we as gamers, and movie goers need to be less critical of the films, and enjoy them for what they are. Entertainment. Just because something works in a Video Game environment does not mean it will work in the movie environement. All video games to movies have to be loosly based off the game, and more about the movie to succeed (IMO).
Thanks for the read.