Video Games made into Movies
To put it very crudely, it’s case of economics; the likes of Halo 3, Grant Theft Auto and Call of Duty: Black Ops took took in $300 million, $400 and $650 million in their respective opening weeks of worldwide sales, and those are figures which nobody, particularly Hollywood, can ignore. There’s also a lot to be said of the story telling capacities of computer games, and with 11 million subscribers to World of Warcraft, there are plenty of people out there who could be lured into a cinema with the right video game conversion. Money is there to be made, although sadly not much thought is often given to how these films should be made. The general norm seems to dictate that the people making the film focus too strongly on making a film that’s like a computer game, with guns and bangs and fights, rather than a film that captures any sense of the story involved in the game. Like these:
Lara Croft has had several attempts at success, and whilst no fan-boys were complaining about finally having a ‘real’ Lara (and what a Lara) to get all cross-legged about instead of a collection of pixels, both outings were undeniably awful. They could have tried to set themselves firmly in the mould of Indiana Jones, but they just never put together a Tomb Raiding story line that was as captivating as Angelina Joe padded chest (I’m afraid that they weren’t real for that film).
Resident Evil has somehow managed to get 4 films under its belt, but then it has managed to mug cinema goers out of a staggering US$647 million. For what it’s worth, I liked the first one; it was a fairly decent high budget zombie film. But then, like the undead themselves, they just wouldn’t quit. Well done Milla Jovovich. Now please, stop messing around with zombies. You don’t know where they’ve been.
For some utterly bizarre reason, beat’em ups have had several attempts at becoming blockbusters. Why add a story line to a game that itself doesn’t any real narrative quality itself?!Mortal Kombat tried on two occasions to add to its legacy – emphasis to be placed on ‘tried’. Then there was the classic (for all the wrong reasons) Street Fighter, staring Jean-Claude van Damme and a very innocent Kylie Minogue. Dead or Alive came and went, with as about as much grace as a brick to the face.
But video game movie flops aren’t a thing of the dim and distant past. Far more recent eye-wateringly expensive attempts have been Hitman and Prince of Persia, two films which encapsulate the genre as it stands so far; promising narratives and worlds left in tatters as the wrong people have been given the job of translating the story from the world of ABXY to that of acting and direction.
So should we just give up hope? Is there a dim light glowing at the end of this corridor of despair? Well, here are a few rumoured and upcoming video game film adaptations which could finally end this ever growing run of video game movie flops.
The making of this film will soon require film of its own. Or at least a feature on the DVD release. It’s been bounced from studio to studio, director to director, and if anyone is honest about it, no one really knows what we can expect from Halo:The Movie.
That said, we already have a very good film thanks to the Halo franchise. Back in the day, Peter Jackson signed on to be the executive producer of the Halo project, and selected his future Hobbit buddy Guillermo del Toro as the director. This was the first time that del Toro and Jackson would part ways, as del Toro felt his attentions were needed for his Hellboy 2. Next to step up to the directing plate was Neill Blomkamp. After five painful months of issues with scripting, production and general artistic direction, Blomkamp gave up on the whole project. But don’t shed a tear just yet! He and Jackson got together and made the cracking little sci-fi that is District 9 as a result of their Halo relationship.
The latest name to have been fed into the rumour mill is that Stephen Spielberg might have said the word “Halo” to someone, who put it on a blog or forum. It is conceivable that at some point during his collaboration with Jackson on Tin-tin, Spielberg might have thought that a Halo film sounded like a nice idea. We just don’t know. But when we do, we’ll let you know.
Much like Halo: The Movie this is a film project that’s cluttered the internet with rumour and hype for several years. So how about a helpful recap so we all know where it stands?
Back in 2008, various games websites started chattering about a BioShock movie based around the game’s captivatingly-cruel underwater world of Rapture. Yet again, Guillermo del Toro was linked with the project (he gets around a bit) before that rumour was dropped as mere speculation. Instead, Gore Verbinski, the Pirates of the Caribbean director, was apparently the man for the job, with a script to be penned by Gladiator‘s John Logan. Promising no? Well, unfortunately that team line up has already fallen away, as various more important projects have arisen for both Verbinski and Logan. Verbinski has stepped back from the position of director to producer, which sees Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) as the new director. The script writing is now in the safe hands of Ken Levine, a key figure behind the BioShock video games.
As far as what the story will be about, no one yet knows. Whether it will consist of a movie version of the original BioShock story, or if it’ll be something entirely new and awful, we just can’t say. So we won’t. Because we’d be lying to you.
No, I don’t know how it’ll happen either, but Fox have apparently set the wheels in motion to turn the classic 1980s arcade game into… well, anything that will catch the eye of some hard core gamers.
One of the more challenging video games to be made into a film, the task of transforming Missile Command into a rollicking blockbuster has been handed to producer Peter Chernin (Rise of the Apes) and Atari’s Jim Wilson. Little is known about what the storyline will consist of, although the original game does offer some minor context of protecting a Californian city during the Cold War. Whether the writers Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama decide to set it in this climate, or drag Missile Command kicking and screaming into the 21st Century is yet to be known. Stay tuned.
We like video games at Best for Film. We like films even more. We’ll let you know as soon as we find out if these two genres will ever be happily wed, and create beautiful love child.