5 games that can save the 'videogame adaptation genre'
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
It's certain - the videogame-to-movie genre needs a hero. But could any of these be the answer? James Ridler certainly thinks so...
Videogames have become a premier source of entertainment for millions of people. Not only have they presented engrossing game worlds that draw us in, but they spin wicked yarns that excite the imagination. In fact there comes a time that a game can tell a story so magical and so believable, that it makes you truly feel for the characters.
Sometimes, however, some of that feeling is lost, because we are so hellbent on getting the high score or beating 'that boss'. So what if we remove the control, and instead present a story fit for the screen? Surely that can't fail to do well?
Well, as Uwe Boll and co. have proven...it can.
But let us not write off the video game to movie adaptation just yet. Sure, it's had a bad run...a real bad run...but that's not because it doesn't work. Instead, it's because people let Uwe Boll and his 34 IQ near a camera or film set, spurred on by a favourable tax law that means he can't fail, or people take a great concept such as Max Payne and try to write a film adaptation while seemingly off their head on acid.
However, I honestly believe that these five games have such a strong, captivating storyline that they can save the genre before it's too late. After all, sometimes it's not about the characters themselves, but the world they inhabit.
Metal Gear Solid
There's not a gamer alive who can deny that this game is basically a film already. From the cinematic cut scenes, engaging characters and contemporary industrial setting, it screams spy thriller. Hideo Kojima has a way with story, presenting a game that is both well thought out and fluid. The grizzled Snake would be the perfect antidote to the bevy of super-spies that seem to have overtaken the cinema since Bourne first graced the screen.
You see, what's great about Metal Gear Solid is that it doesn't have to conform to one genre. The psychic freak-outs involving Psycho Mantis; the graphic violence of the Ninja's assault on Fox Hound - there's nothing, or very little, that would need changing to make this a transferable concept. In fact, one could almost film it with the same direction of the game to get spectacular results.
Plus, who could deny a true action finish, with two manly men beating down on each other whilst standing atop of a nuclear mecha-tank? It's like Bond by Burton!
Super Mario Brothers
Now I already know what all of you are thinking: why touch something that has had such a horrible film adaptation in the past? I'm fully aware that the 1993 film was a travesty in many people's eyes, but hear me out.
You see, what they tried to do was make something that was modern and industrialised, possibly in an effort to attract a wider audience. What really needs to be done is keeping to the routes (or pipes, as it were). What Mario needs to be is a comedy caper that knows it's being silly. I mean, this is a game series where you have a fat Italian plumber bouncing around in a giant shoe for Pete's sake.
It could be a story of a plumber, down on his luck. We could focus on how Mario's life was like before entering the Mushroom Kingdom. After all, why would he never go back to his real home? Is there something waiting for him back in Brooklyn, and could his exploits to save a princess from a malevolent dinosaur king be a way for him to escape his responsibilities? All that needs to be done, ultimately, is to add some character to the little man in the blue dungarees.
Transformers War and Fall of Cybertron
I don't know about you, but I'm a huge Transformers fan. Ever since I was a small child, I've been watching the cartoons, buying the toys, reading the comics, and of course seeing the films.
Now I'm going to be blunt, as I'm sure many people have...I greatly dislike what Michael Bay has done to my beloved robots in disguise. I don't care about mass displacement; I don't want scantily clad ladies; and I don't want a script that just has the words 'Action!', 'Explosion!' and 'Explosive action!' written throughout. Instead, I want Optimus Prime taking names and showing some emotion.
Unfortunately, all I've got for my cinema ticket thus far has balls-to-the-wall explosions. All hope lost, I looked to the two recent Transformers games, and saw redemption. A true tale of why the transformers left their home. A real in-depth story of the thoughts and feelings of each of these bots (something sadly missed from the recent trilogy of films); plus, Optimus Prime doesn't die for once, which makes a massive change. Without any humans in the way, there's more room for bots like Bumblebee to actual have something to say, and be much more than one egotistical young man’s car.
Have you ever wondered just why you're out there all alone, blasting hunks of rock from space? Also, for whom is it that you're risking your life for on an obviously suicidal mission, and what are you trying to protect? Maybe there is some kind of epic backstory behind one lonely man's mission to protect the earth from an onslaught of death rocks. Then there's the introduction of spaceships trying to destroy you as well.
Roughly, I could imagine the film playing out in a similar way to films like 2009's Moon and the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. The premise could be that the lone astronaut has been doing his routine job with little to no contact with home (earth), with promise of a big payout at the end of his service. When the extraterrestrials (which could be a little bit more complex than the flying saucers of the original game) start turning up, difficult questions as to why he's the only man up in space to defend the earth - and why no one has come to help - could arise, giving the film an emotional twist.
Really, the only thing that a film like this would have to balance is the global threat of the alien invasion with the isolation of space. Ideally, it would play up like Ridley Scott's Alien, where the fear and scares come courtesy of an off-world menace whom we never really see.
The beauty of Borderlands is not only the truckloads of guns under every stone, rock and dustbin lid, but also the epic adventure across the planet of Pandora. Sometimes the game can be a lonely experience if playing offline, but the real joy comes with the more players you adventure with.
A tale of four ragtag mercenaries, each with their own agendas, could make a great plot for a film. The story wouldn't necessarily have to involve the crazy super powers available, or even the exact same characters; however a world that lives and breathes in the most violent of fashions could very well be the perfect setting. Following the lives of four adventurers as they traverse the arid deserts and fight off the hordes of murderous psychos...well, it's captivating cinema, surely?
To put it into context, think back to Zombieland, the zombie comedy that not only takes you on a wild ride across the United States, but also breathes humanity and great characterisation into the post-apocalyptic world. The only thing that could have Borderlands shooting itself in the foot is the characters themselves. Not a single person on Pandora is truly a “good guy”, and every one is out for something. It can make a team of unsavoury types, like the mercenaries, come across as dislikeable, if portrayed wrong. That said, I'd happily pay money to see a film that could cram even half a percent of the amount of firepower of the game into a feature.
Come at me...with your thoughts, obviously
So what do you think? I know that there are hundred of games that have epic stories just waiting to become games. Heck knows the amount of times that Halo has been name-dropped with Peter Jackson on the helm, and with the recent announcement of an Assassin's Creed picture coming soon, it's going to be a long time before Hollywood stops using videogames as source material.
Of course, this could be the industry's downfall. Heaven knows I couldn't bear to see another Resident Evil film...
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