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Lights, Camera, Disaster

Tamsin Oxford

Lights, Camera, Disaster

It remains a mystery as to why people strive to merge the media of movies and games.

I read an article recently that left me nearly apoplectic with rage. Not only did it start with a howler of a sentence in which the author postulates that if video games are to become as popular as films then... but it went on to make suggestions on how to improve games that were as terrifying as the twins on X-Factor.

Look, in my world it’s quite simple, don’t compare movies and games. Yes, they both have shiny moving pictures, actors and fairly interesting storylines but that’s where the similarity ends. A movie is where you sit down in a chair and stare at a big screen and do... nothing.

A video game is where you sit down in a chair and stare at a big screen and do... everything. You duck, you weave, you interact and you make decisions that are going to effectively impact what happens next.  Why on earth would we want to make our games more like movies?

Which brings me neatly to my next point. Why are we making our favourite games into stunningly crap movies? It seems that there are people determined to turn this into a working relationship so they can cash in on our passions, except that it isn’t working, is it?

I’m not going to lie, when I first started gaming I often played a title and imagined the absolute awesomeness of seeing it on celluloid. Oooh, Half Life brought to, ahem, life, complete with vicious CGI headcrabs and lurching monsters. How delicious.

Well, I felt this way until the first game movies collapsed onto our screens. After about the fifth abortive attempt by Hollywood I stopped hoping against hope that they would get it right. I genuinely felt despair - how hard can it be to write a tight and powerful script for a movie based on a video game that already had a fairly tight and powerful script? There are definitely limitations in cinema so corners have to be cut for obvious reasons but that doesn’t mean eliminating common sense and a plot.

Lights, Camera, DisasterDoom (2005)

I would like to thank Hollywood for taking one of my all time favourite games, the one that got me hooked on the FPS, and making the most awful movie I’ve ever seen.

The most terrifying (and mesmerising) things in the entire movie were Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s teeth. Unnaturally white and huge, they seemed to gleam menacingly at me whenever he opened his mouth. And they’re making a sequel (not his teeth). It’s enough to make gouging your eyes out with a fork a pleasant past time.

Lights, Camera, DisasterResident Evil: Extinction (2007)

I enjoyed the first film; it did what it said on the tin and was entertaining. Not to mention the fact that Milla is always easy on the eyes. This movie, however, was a dog's breakfast from start to finish.

The storyline was weak and specious and there were scenes, like the attempted rape, that were beyond pointless and clearly only an excuse to rip half of Milla’s clothes off. Then there were the zombie crows. Look, we know zombies are cool but seriously! What’s next? Zombie snails? Zombie kittens?

Lights, Camera, DisasterAlien vs. Predator (2004)

AvP was a masterpiece of a game. Rich with tension and terror it kept you on tenterhooks and even the toughest players were known to jump just a bit when things got hairy. Even though the comic was first, this still counts as a “game made into a movie” for many fans. A movie that we were all dying to see. I mean, come on! Predator was ace for its time and Alien and Aliens were sublime. It was a winning formula.

Then the movie came out and it was awful. Then they made another movie which made the first movie look like an award winning masterpiece. It could have been so good, so very, very good. I think we should have a moment’s silence for an epic fail.

Lights, Camera, DisasterMax Payne (2008)

Not a fan of Mark Wahlberg to begin with, I was uncertain of this movie and how it would pan out. Poor Mark - it looks like his run of failed leading man movies did not end with this miserable sod of a movie.

I loved the games, they were wonderfully noir and dry and bloody. The movie was as much fun as watching a slug inch its way across your lounge. Actually that may be more fun - you could put obstacles in his way and have races. Max Payne is, well, payneful (sorry).

Lights, Camera, DisasterAlone in the Dark (2005)

Once again we have the ham-handed hack Uwe Boll’s attempt at directing a video game to movie and failing. While clearly the people who have budgets love Uwe, he went on to direct Far Cry; most gamers don’t. The Alone in the Dark series was wonderful - dark and icky and deliciously tense.

But the movie sits right up there with AvP and Doom as a tragic cinema victim. Rotten Tomatoes has the average score at one percent. One percent. That’s got to be a record, surely?

Lights, Camera, DisasterLara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

You can’t possibly believe that I’d leave this one out? It does sit up there as one of the best video game movies ever made and it does have Angelina Jolie in it but it is utterly devoid of a plot. What you’re really watching, if you replaced her lithe form with a hand puppet, is really just a character in various states of undress kicking butt, often for no particular reason other than to fulfil some basic male fantasies.

She had to save the world and blah blah blah but you are so busy staring at her chest you are never quite sure why she has to do it and what the problem is. They had the chance to make her into a powerful character with depth but instead made her into a talking doll. Yuck.

And you?

What are your thoughts on the worst ever game- to-movie conversions?

Add a comment8 comments
Jacko  Oct. 21, 2009 at 13:44

I quite enjoyed Max Payne as I loved the games so much. The Valkyr scenes were very well done, but I guess the rest of the movie was a bit slow.

Gunn  Oct. 21, 2009 at 14:10

There are so many to choose from!

I liked Mortal Kombat, but didn't like Super Mario Bros!

I've yet to see the latest Street Fighter movie but the first was poor (I just remember Kylie being in it!?)

Not sure if Final Fantasy The Sprits Within counts but it was technically impressive but confusing!

Lee  Oct. 21, 2009 at 14:28

I think both the AvP films are sub-par, but the 2nd is 100x better than the first. Which can only be described as a disaster.

Late  Oct. 21, 2009 at 15:42

Halo next?...

Rubisco  Oct. 21, 2009 at 15:46

You forgot the mess they made of Broken Sword when they filmed it as the Da Vinci Code!

donttouchthehair  Oct. 21, 2009 at 16:21

"A movie is where you sit down in a chair and stare at a big screen and do… nothing.A video game is where you sit down in a chair and stare at a big screen and do… everything."

"There are definitely limitations in cinema so corners have to be cut for obvious reasons"

Seriously? Surely one of the key problems is that the "everything" in film differs to video games, so when people expect "nothing" to happen in front of a film, then you start to get poorly adapted cross-overs that fail to appreciate that for all of the "limitations", there are also many positives!

Video games based on TV shows are a bit pap too (Buffy, Sopranos, Lost, ER, etc)

But Aladdin on the Megadrive was ace!

donttouchthehair  Oct. 21, 2009 at 16:23

"Video games based on TV shows are a bit pap too (Buffy, Sopranos, Lost, ER, etc)

But Aladdin on the Megadrive was ace!"

Which I've just realised is getting it completely the wrong way around to your argument!

Jonsend  Oct. 21, 2009 at 16:35

Silent Hill was alright.... well.. sort of...


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