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Why Video Game Movie Adaptations Need New Respect 283

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-more-fighting-game-movies-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Hollywood has yet to find any video game property it is willing to treat with the same respect as J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K.Rowling, arguably still following the principles that led to the appalling Super Mario Bros. movie in 1992: 'A game lacks the complexity that a movie requires.' Yet a modern gaming masterpiece such as Mass Effect has the depth and breadth to deserve better treatment in the proposed trilogy. Is Hollywood again going to disrespect fans who, in this case, have as much right to see a good plot respected as the readers of Lord Of The Rings? This article discusses why and how Hollywood should grow up regarding these adaptations."
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Why Video Game Movie Adaptations Need New Respect

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  • Respect? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spooje (582773) <spooje AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @04:35AM (#34543956) Homepage

    Where was Hollywood respect when they were talking about dwarf tossing?

    Hollywood only cares about making money so they can throw some ewoks into a movie to sell some extra toys to kids they will.

  • Right? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alarindris (1253418) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @04:37AM (#34543964)
    If you want someone to make a movie the way you want to see it, become a director.

    It seems there is a heavy feeling of entitlement as far as media and the arts go here.
    Like people often say here, ideas are a dime a dozen. The implementation is the hard part.
  • No more Uwe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrQuacker (1938262) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @04:55AM (#34544024)
    How about we just stop letting Uwe Boll direct videogame inspired movies.
  • Re:Right? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ADRA (37398) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @05:09AM (#34544084)

    I had a similar thought to yours when I read the story heading. The only time that comic books got decent adaptations were from people who really loved them. Why did it take decades for many good comic based movies to be made after their original stories have long sit idle? Because the people who pitch and produce passionate and -good- adaptations of these stories needed to grow up first. Plus, having a good history of success making comic movies has made it easier for the pay masters to open their wallets to the idea of comic movies. Video game based adaptations will have their days, but they will need those few first break-away hits to make people stand up and notice. Wing commander and company were not these success stories, alas.

  • Respect? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @05:13AM (#34544094) Journal

    Respect that respected Science Fiction authors get when their thought provoking stories are turned into action flicks with rappers?

    Respect Tolkien got when Elves appeared at Helms Deep?

    Hollywood knows about respect, it is what is underneath their boots.

    And what do you expect when they serve an audience that thinks Mass Effect has depth? What depth? Evil monster with no motivation appears and gets blown up by equally unmotivated guy/gal. Great literature this does NOT make. Granted it has depth if you grew up on superman comics but then Hollywood got you well covered.

    Games to movies rarely will work because most games are simply NOT about story. Tomb Raider? It is about solving the puzzles and making the jumps. As much as I would like to see a well proportioned woman spending an hour and half flexing her body on the silver screen, it would have any depth. Except maybe her cleavage.

    Tomb Raider, Doom, Mario Brothers: These are games, you play them for the game. NOT the story. Trying to bolt a story on top that becomes 90% of the content instead of 10% is going to require addition of stuff the player simply does not want. Case in point: Lara Croft in the original is a rather bland character with no boyfriend or past. In the movie she suddenly gets a love interest. HELLO! She was supposed to be MY fantasy, not some other guy.

    But in a game, this doesn't matter. The little we know about the game Lara Croft is plenty, but jumped up movie directors think they GOT to tell a story. That is were Hollywood keeps going wrong, they still don't get that what they could produce is eye-candy porn. Take Transforms (please). Remove the humans and just gives us 1.5 hours of robots fighting. Zero attempt at story and even less at badly acted out emotions. I liked revenge of the fallen, just fastforward when a human shows up.

    Tomb Raider the Story does not work. Tomb Raider the action-adventure does, but focus on action, not bolted on "depth". Give me a mindless 2D movie where I can park my brain at the door and just enjoy myself.

    Hollywood isn't ruining game movies by not adding enough depth, but by adding to much. Pure 100% action, that is why I play games, add this to game movies and you are golden.

  • WTF!? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @05:20AM (#34544126)

    The vast majority of games out there don't have enough plot to fill a matchbox. How exactly are they worthy of extra respect versus any random short-story?

    Really, Super Mario Bros. the movie was very close to the spirit of the games (light entertainment) and had more plot that all the games put together.

    Just because some games have a bunch of fanboys out there doesn't mean that they or their game are worthy of special respect.

    Might as well complain that movies about popular sports like football (the American one and the Rest Of The World one) don't show enough respect for the game - at least there are more fans for any of of those sports than there are for any specific computer game.

  • by glwtta (532858) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @05:38AM (#34544194) Homepage
    there was an underlying theme of good versus evil within the character.

    Ah, good versus evil, how profound. Did they by any chance choose the motif of broken mirrors to show the protagonist's fragmented self?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @05:48AM (#34544240)

    I don't understand people who cry out for a good "film of a game". Games are their own medium, they don't need hollywood to come along and put their blockbuster seal of approval on them. If you want a Mass Effect narrative on your screen then go and play Mass Effect - simple.

  • for what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @06:11AM (#34544328) Homepage Journal

    Can we keep seperate types of art seperate? There is no need to unify everything, just for the sake of doing it. The Mona Lisa is a great painting, I'm sure a novel about it would suck. Some books don't make good movies, and many movies would suck in book form. Likewise, while a few games make good movies and vice versa, the usual case is that they don't, so why try?

    A movie is first and foremost about storytelling, in a carefully set up series of scenes, with a dramatic curve and a specific ending that everything in the movie is subtly linked to so that near the end you get the feeling of everything falling together like the pieces of a puzzle. Well, good movies anyway. It's about changing perspective, it can tell the story from various angles, leave storylines hanging for a while then return to them - there is a lot in the way how the story is told, in pacing and in letting the viewer know more than the protagonists on the screen.

    Games are about decisions, reactions, about finding out clues and hints and about consequences. You are the protagonist, so even if they include cinematics of the evil guy planning his next move, the protagonist then knows about it. The pacing depends on you more than on the story. There are usually multiple routes and endings. It is a lot more about your character than about the story. And one of the challenges is that even the most meaningless random encounter could kill you, while in the movies we all know the hero never gets hurt except by the bad guy himself or one of his leutenants. All the nameless "random encounter" guys are just there as targets.

    A good movie and a good game are not made following the same recipe. A good movie about a game, or a good game about a movie, will have little in common except the setting. Example: The Aliens and the Predator movies, and the AvP games (don't get me started about the AvP movies, they were crap). Great movies, great games, exactly because the games did not try to copy the movies but created their own world within the movie setting.

  • by glwtta (532858) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @07:29AM (#34544670) Homepage
    The unusual thing with Mass Effect compared with every film which has explored the same theme, is that you make the choice, you can then see the effects of your actions and if that way inclined you can see what would have happened had you done something different.

    I'm pretty sure I've read a choose-your-own-adventure Goosebumps that explored similar territory.
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @07:55AM (#34544762) Journal

    If you reduce it to an oversimplified strawman, of course nothing is profound. The Odyssey is just about some guy dicking around the sea instead of going home. LORD of the ring is a old-timey==good vs industrialism-and-change==bad story. War And Peace is about war and identity crisis. Crime And Punishment is just about the simple moral dilemma of whether you can justify evil means for a good purpose, so basically good vs evil again. (Since you already reduced similar themes in ME2 to just simple good vs evil, or to seeing the same basic trope in a choose-your-adventure book.) Etc. Not very profound when put that way, is it?

    In fact, I your message was trolling, because otherwise it's so stupid it's depressing. What makes something profound or not isn't just having theme X or theme Y in it, but you do with it and what you explore from there. You can take any theme in the world and turn it into a shallow exercise, or do something thought-provoking with. You just need to look at the likes of Lewis Caroll who managed to turn something as dry as hating the new mathematics and especially topology, into a classic, or L. Frank Baum who took a political alegory so far that most people don't even figure it out and again managed to turn it into something both popular and for many people thought-provoking.

    So, really, troll or just stupid?

  • by tophermeyer (1573841) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @09:31AM (#34545228)

    I'm pretty sure I've read a choose-your-own-adventure Goosebumps that explored similar territory.

    Right. It's a similar literary mechanic, but for grown ups.

    As a kid I remember having an Indiana Jones choose your own adventure. The difference is that with Indy I had to choose whether to flee from the Nazis out the front door or climb the window to the roof. In Mass Effect you make choices like whether or not to commit genocide to suit humanities war effort, or support a close friend's choice to murder someone. It's a little different.

  • by hal2814 (725639) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @10:25AM (#34545706)
    I know you didn't just call out the Wii for not being "hardcore" compared to... wait for it... House of the Dead? WTF, dude? House of the Dead is about as casual as you can get. It's an arcade shooter that's designed to get people to stick a few quarters in for a few minutes of play. More to the point, THE FUCKING GAME IS AVAILABLE ON THE WII. Stop buying into marketing bullshit and start evaluating games and consoles for what they are. There's no logical definition that makes Metroid: Other M or Super Mario Galaxy any less "hardcore" than Mass Effect.
  • by McDozer (1460341) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @10:31AM (#34545762)
    Ninja's have captured the President...are you a bad enough dude to get him back?

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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