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Videogame adaptions among the most rotten movies of the decade

BlogEveryone knowns that movies based on videogames tend to be pretty terrible, if unwatchable, but I have to admit that even I was surprised at the percentage of videogame adaptions and even videogame-inspired movies that made it on Rotten Tomatos' Worst of the Worst, their list of the worst movies of the decade. Another surprise was the absence of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, although I guess that movie was merely mediocre and disappointing rather than the horrible messes that are Alone in the Dark, Bloodrayne, House of the Dead, and Ecks vs. Sever.1

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  1. via Game|Life

  • Posted by ???
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Videogame adaptions among the most rotten movies of the decade

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  1. FFtSW was a watchable movie, and at the time of its release, totally gorgeous. I've had a urge to watch it again for about the past two years, I think this is a sign that I should just go down to the library and pick it up.

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  3. Where's Postal? Come now.

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  5. Well duh, they're GAMES.

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  7. Not always. How do you account for Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game? Is it a game based on a movie? Or a game based on a game? Or a movie based on a movie? I'm horrible confused...

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  9. Good point, Mister Domino. I think you speak for us all.

    Anyway, yeah they're games, which are different from movies, but by saying "Well duh, they're GAMES," Pugz, you seem to be conceding that games are an inferior medium and therefore can't be translated adequately into something like a movie.

    I think most game storylines couldn't make the transition, since I'd argue the best game storylines are fundamentally inferior the the best movie storylines. I don't think I've ever been captivated by a game's story; no game has ever moved me emotionally like some movies have.

    On the flipside, I've never been motivated to sit and watch movies or TV for more than three hours without a significant break in between. On the other hand, I've sat and played games all day, most recently Final Fantasy XII (and Spore , which was a waste of a day).

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  11. Silent Hill 2's ridiculous plot twist was pretty much on the level of The Usual Suspects or Twelve Monkeys for me in terms of "what is going on here I don't even" moments.

    But yeah, with you on the "game narratives ain't movie scripts" thing. I think playability fundamentally juxtaposes itself against plot development in that sense, which Shiggy will no doubt back me up on.

    I do, however, think that certain elements of game narratives could translate successfully to movies. It's just that no one's tried yet. We're still stuck in the mire of thought where only "epic" games get made into movies, and only into "epic" movies. You won't find a Shadow of the Colossus being translated into a movie about a kid in the middle of nowhere, who never speaks a single line during the whole movie, the art direction is overexposed and bleached brown, and his closest emotional relationship is his horse. Fuck no. And in the same vein, you won't find anyone taking Final Fantasy VI and turning it into a gentle internal dialogue about self-identity and finding one's place in the world, even if it has to involve being half-Esper.

    That would be really cool though. I'm depressing myself by thinking about the possibilities.

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  13. Good point, the movies they decided to make from games have all had the same characteristics. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within even had a different feel from a Final Fantasy game after the transition.

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  15. It's basically a matter of disrespect. I think they did a great job translating Silent Hill's atmosphere and basic concepts to a movie screenplay, but I guess in that case it's an instance of the resulting screenplay just not being that great, which is too bad because it had the best chance of becoming something worthwhile. Most other videogame movies, however, don't get that kind of treatment. Instead of preserving what made the game special, everyone seems insistent on believing that if you just take the franchise and make a great movie, somehow it'll work out. Like Max Payne, which reportedly had pretty much nothing to do with the original film noir title.

    Of course, in Japan they take that shit seriously to the point where they take all the wrong aspects of game writing (melodrama, bad timing, j-pop, etc) and put that in the movie and leave out all the potential for great stuff.

    Sigh.

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  17. Mr_Domino said:
    Not always. How do you account for Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game? Is it a game based on a movie? Or a game based on a game? Or a movie based on a movie? I'm horrible confused...

    It works both ways. Movie>games, Games>movies are full of fail, why? here:

    Matt said:
    Anyway, yeah they're games, which are different from movies, but by saying "Well duh, they're GAMES," Pugz, you seem to be conceding that games are an inferior medium and therefore can't be translated adequately into something like a movie.

    I am conceding exactly that (even though my first post was kinda tongue-in-cheek ); video game conversions are erroneous to me because most games approach narrative in vastly different ways. I've also found the most profound and memorable moments in most games often lie in the actual gameplay more so than the narrative itself (which is why it fails as a film). I actually prefer games like this, because there are far too many games now a days trying to emulate the "blockbuster summer hit" in a film-like context. Certain genres lend themselves to more elaborate and intrinsic storylines which are then infused with the game design (RPGs, Adventure games etc) but for the most part, game play rules out most of all. I also agree with you and Rahul on what narratives present in video games today and I believe it's mostly to do with how it's executed; in a linear and or a preselected subset fashion. I can think of one game that has proven to go beyond the mold and present narrative in a unique fashion; Metroid Prime.

    Now I don't think it's for everyone nor do I think it's the greatest approach, but it does what I believe no game has done before it that not only helps with the immersion of the game but also elegantly upholds and compliments the narrative whilst retaining that immersion. Prime looks at narrative in a way the director looks at film "I conceive a vision, I then translate that vision into film". Prime does that, but in a gaming context (and I mean literally gaming i.e. in play) and that's making the player THE director. It's up to his/her discretion whether he/she wants to explore the game world without narrative, or to "scan" for information to flesh out a narrative, like plucking fruit off a tree at one's own desire. I know this wouldn't work with other games (due to the theme etc) but I think it's a step in the right direction. Rpgs are a tough one but with the concept "the player is the director" in mind, I truly believe there is a bigger realm for gaming narrative to be explored.

    I don't think gaming is an inferior medium, quite the opposite actually, I consider gaming to be just as engaging and exciting, but it has it's own identity and for the most part that will be extremely tough for film directors to "successfully" translate to film and vice-versa.

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  19. Has anyone here read Lucky Wander Boy? There's several chapters on game/movie transitions in there, and I think they sum up the problems really well.

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  21. Metroid Prime isn't the only hand-crafted game narrative. Half Life 2 is similarly unique and tells a story through its level design, gameplay, dynamic character interaction etc. These things will be hard to replicate in a movie. Bioshock follows a similar design, although not as well.

    Here's what movie directors don't yet understand about video games: despite both movies and games being visual mediums, the fact that one is interactive and the other isn't means there is a dimensional separation between the two, much in the same way that music and movies cannot be directly translated. Take any random musical concept album and try to outline its narrative or progression in a screenplay. It'll be hard, because so much of the story (in a good concept album, anyway) is told through the music. Unless you're making a musical, you're going to have a hard time making that transition. It's much the same with games: you have to essentially move from one perspective to another, and you're either going to lose part of the experience that way or end up with a mangled confusion that feels flattened, or formatted, to the new paradigm.

    Now, I do believe there are some game universes which have multiple forms of expression of which one may be a movie or (to be far more progressive than anyone in TV would be) a show. If you design from the ground up, or you take some larger-than-life franchises, you could successfully design a tv/movie counterpart that takes the format-neutral elements and brings them to a certain medium. But is anyone doing that? No! Take Halo. Halo could be a great movie. But not starring the Master Chief and Cortana. Look at Halo 3: ODST. This title is already transcending the standard expectations of a Halo game, because as some may know, there's more to the Halo universe than Master Chief. A movie set in this universe but designed as a movie instead of a "lol Master Chief is cool" popcorn flick could be successful (District 9 reminded me quite a bit of Halo's scenario). But again, no one is looking.

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  23. Personally, I think Halo (or StarCraft, since they're the same universe) would work best as an anthology TV series, perhaps with a loose overarching narrative, but mostly just focusing on different people and how they struggle to survive in their respective situations (and most of the time fail).

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    • ???
    • Mon November 29, 2021
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