Video Game Movies: The ones that got it right
We already discussed the video games that got it wrong, but what about the movies that were at least good enough to not walk out of? Now, we are not saying these movies are perfect or even that they were completely true to the game, but that they were good enough to have a positive consensus across many gamers.
First we will start with my top pick and then look at a few others. Later we will ask our panel of industry insiders which video game movie was their favorite.
Some people will disagree with me, but I felt they did the Silent Hill movie pretty well and this is coming from someone who beat all the original games and then watched his sister do the same. It is true there was a lot of tweaking not only to bring in new fans, but to mold the story to be more emotional. Many were upset that the movie mirrors Silent Hill 2 more than part 1 and making the main character a woman people though was just because having a woman in a horror film adds more than a male character would.
Believe me, I understand the critic’s objections, but this was a case where I believe the changes did not kill the Silent Hill story too much. The visuals and especially the music was excellently done. At first I was afraid the transition between worlds would not have been shown and only displayed by the entire screen going dark. I was presently surprised to see the entire transition shown and it looked awesome.
As said the music was taken out of the games with a few tracks added that fit in perfectly with the game and the movie. The story itself was modified and many felt the cult aspect of the story was not there the way it should be and I could understand that. You did understand how messed up the people were, but you weren’t drawn into their world until the very end.
The studio worked closely with Konami and that is the reason the visuals from the broken city to Pyramid head to the killer nurses were spot on. On the flip side audiences not familiar with the Silent Hill game or game story telling in general thought the long explanation of what was going on at the end of the movie seemed out of place and killed the pacing.
The ending can be a tossup. Many felt it left to many questions. Some did not understand it and more felt it was a bad way to try to lead into a follow-up movie. The movie itself did well considering and there was talk of a sequel. If/when Silent Hill 2 is made we will see what direction it goes in.
You’ll have to forgive me on this one I enjoyed this movie. Sure, it was not very true to the game, but honestly having a loan character walk around for 80% of the film would not work. What I liked was they did try to incorporate the original mansion from the game with the Umbrella Corporation. The action sequences were well done and adding in the evil little girl Red Queen gave you at least another reason why the team sent in became trapped.
There was a lot they could have done with this film making it a better story, but honestly after watching the follow-up movies I am surprised this one came out as well as it did. What was really sad was the ending really made me want to see part 2 which turned out to be a horrible disappointment for me.
There are a number of well-done video game movies, but let’s hear from our panel to see what were their choices.
Danielle Davis from Zombie Studios wrote:
Give your brain the night off…
Most games are made with very iconographic heroes and villains. You don’t have to worry about plot or story as much, and can focus on the core gameplay. Nearly everything is black and white. The Heroes are universally good, and the Villains are the purest of evil. As we get older, we learn life is really just shades of grey (or from “a certain point of view”).
Wing Commander can be viewed the same way. As a whole, Wing Commander (Movie) can be cheesy and flashy, but in reality that is pretty much how it is in the game franchise. Wing Commander (Game) followed the general curriculum of building characters plot like any other Action\Army movie (just like Aliens or Predator). You’ve got your classic “Girl trying to compete with the big boys”, or “Leader struggling under the burden of leadership”, or “Overly Aggressive Hot Shot “, and of course “Cool as Ice and plays everything by the book”. Is it cliché? Yes. But do stereotypes help identify personality and move the plot forward quicker? Sadly yes. Since it was established in the Games, so must the continuity be maintained for the Movie. The amount of Cheese and Awesomeness in the movie, is equal to the Cheese and Awesomeness in the game.
Back to the shades of grey. A two hour movie of continuous dog-fighting, would be pretty hard to accomplish (Memphis Belle is the only one I can think of). By introducing personal flaws, strategic mishaps, personal failures, and over-ambition, you can subtly add secondary antagonist. For example: Maniac. He’s reckless and going to get his teammates killed. Does that make Maniac a bad guy? Depending on your point of view, you could say Yes. So, you have your primary Villians (the Kilrathi), and you have the secondary villains (ambition, fear, self-doubt).
By now, you’re asking yourself “You’re INSANE! How do you enjoy such a crappy movie? I mean, seriously, are you high?”. And the answer is, well kinda “Yes”. You can’t enjoy a movie like this by comparing it to other movies that have freedom of script and design. You have to simply take your brain out, and give it a two hour break. Relive what it’s like to be 12 years old again, and just enjoy the Good Guys, Bad Guys, and big explosions. Enjoy the simplicity of “this guy’s a douche bag”, “wish this dude would chill out”, and “this chick is awesome” without thinking about the deeper context and military discipline (let alone plot). Enjoy two carriers slugging it out point blank range. Just relax and enjoy it. Why? Because that’s exactly what you did when you’re played it as a game. You gave your brain the night off…
The shower scene was HILARIOUS! (And if you don’t remember or know what I’m talking about, watch or re-watch it…. it’s for real.)
J.A. As a bonus here is the funny shower scene.
J.A. As a super bonus here is Angelina Jolie in the shower.
King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
It is, without a doubt, my favorite video game related movie. The story follows Steve Wiebe on his quest to achieve the “official” high score for Donkey Kong. Along the way he must defeat several different adversaries, the least of which is the actual score needed to reach the top. It’s a classic underdog tale, only the heroes and villains are real and contemporary, and a great documentary…exploring themes like obsession, vanity, dedication, and legacy all wrapped in a cloak of classic coin-op arcade games. Besides, who doesn’t love Donkey Kong!?
Tron and Wargames!