Long after I first picked up a controller, I became enamored with the world of movies thanks to a certain company with a red logo that sends you DVDs by mail. I was a sheltered kid, which explains why I now write for a site that mixes all things sex and video games. It took me quite a while to learn about the works of Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Tim Burton. I’m as much of an elitist prick when it comes to film as I am with games.
This is why it brings me such pain when I see some of my favorite games get dragged through the Hollywood process. We have seen too many examples of great series being bastardized into quick moneymakers for big movie studios. Some have been passable adaptations, and a select few I can claim to have actually enjoyed watching. Unfortunately, for the most part, a video game movie makes me want to forget what I just saw and quickly return to playing the source material to restore whatever enjoyment I am in danger of losing.
Rather than just lament over how bad some of these films have been (I could fill up seven pages talking about that shit), I offer a few suggestions on how video game movies could not only bring in more fans, but become better movies in general.
1 – Branch Out
Movies are a business, and Hollywood will not accept anything that isn’t going to bring in a ton of black numbers with a dollar sign at the front. Major studio blockbusters now come to us in the form of comic book adaptations, and even they aren’t a guaranteed success. For every Dark Knight, there is a John Carter, and the Watchmens get lost in the shuffle. I could not have imagined that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within would be such a colossal failure that it would spell immediate doom for Square Pictures.
This is what I would love to see from a video game movie – take a risk on a lesser known and perhaps more mature story. I enjoyed the Prince of Persia movie for what it was, but why not license a Left 4 Dead movie? Everyone can’t get enough of zombies right now, and the minimalist story that the original creators of L4D wrote is a perfect basis for a writer to pen a new scenario, especially since the game’s campaigns are designed around the concept of movies. With the runaway success of Game of Thrones on HBO, who is to say an adaptation of The Witcher is such a crazy idea?
2 – Embrace the R Rating
The “average” game player is much older than the statistic would have measured twenty or even ten years ago. With this maturity comes a lot more ticket sales for films based on games, and there is no greater example than Resident Evil: Afterlife grossing almost $300 million worldwide. Yes, it was a shit movie, and yes, the franchise is getting worse with each entry, but what’s worth noting is the fact that adults shelled out 15 bucks a head to see Milla Jovovich blow shit up in 3D…and she didn’t even show any skin this time. Silent Hill also opened at number one during its theatrical run, carrying a hard R rating which was justified by Pyramid Head’s skinning scene alone.
There is no reason to pander to parents and kids if the material is good enough. Though I love independent art house films and documentaries, I will just as soon shell out my money for a grindhouse double feature. Along with the aforementioned Left 4 Dead possibility, where the hell is a Castlevania adaptation, which could simultaneously give us a great video game movie and wipe the taste of Twilight from our mouths? Dead Space is practically BEGGING to be made into a feature-length movie, and with Event Horizon under his belt, I wouldn’t even mind Paul W.S. Anderson directing it.
3 – Murder Uwe Boll
There have been other people calling for the death of this human genital wart, and I’m going to add my name to that list. Leeching off the German government for funding of his “films,” this jerkoff has obliterated countless video game franchises by having the audacity to step behind a camera and shoot. For some reason, people still keep giving him money to produce movies John Waters would consider “low brow.” He has been compared to Ed Wood, which is the most insulting criticism I’ve ever heard spoken about Ed Wood’s career.
Please don’t try and sell me on the camp factor of his movies, which smell like kangaroo shit once the shrink wrap has been removed from the DVD case. What CNN and the rest of the media didn’t show you was that after they hooked car batteries to the nipples of Abu Ghraib prisoners, they made them watch all three Bloodrayne movies followed by the director’s cut of House of the Dead. If Boll wants to make a personal masterpiece, he’ll film himself falling asshole-first onto a rusty fork while a bandersnatch rapes him in the ear.
4 – Get The Fans Involved
One area in which gamers typically have an advantage versus moviegoers is passion. After all, we’re being asked to pay a lot more money to enjoy a game versus the price of a movie theater ticket or even a copy of a Blu-ray. Consequentially, while we may bitch a lot, we also care just as much. Allowing fan input with adaptations of games could ensure we not only get what we want, but could also expose us to new names we never would have noticed.
Metal Gear Solid Philanthropy is one such example. A labor of love from Italian filmmakers Hive Division, the film is a low-budget tale of Solid Snake joining Philanthropy, the non-profit organization he and Otacon start before the events of Metal Gear Solid 2. Hideo Kojima himself gave the movie his approval and, along with myself, is waiting for the next installment.
For clarification and reference, listen to the commentary track on the first Resident Evil film’s DVD.