To many a gamer, the video game to movie crossover has often become a source of great sorrow, and rarely delight for those diehard fans who have had their favorite video game storylines converted to the big screen. This article serves to take a brief look at some of the video game movie crossovers I have had the fortune (or in many cases, misfortune) of witnessing. I have separated the movies into 3 categories based on my own and others impressions and opinions on the films. The good is where they got it right, the bad is where they got it wrong, and the ugly are considered the video game movies that should be burned and forgotten.
“Hitman” (2007) was an excellent example of how to make the transition from video game to movie. The Hitman series revolves around a “manufactured” assassin controlled by the player that serves a secretive assassin’s guild that contracts it’s services to and against various high rollers and political leaders around the world. Hitman got this right by sticking to the core storyline from the video game, while creating the movie’s story as a separate series of events that simply exist as a period of time in the main characters work. This tactic avoids the common mistakes of changing the game’s story too much and alienating fans, while changing it just enough to fill in the gaps left by the removal of interactivity. The character of the Hitman himself is also well portrayed, fully representing his second nature of being a killer.
“Postal” (2008) is the one and only passable work that has ever left the hands of the notorious video game movie director, Uwe Boll. Typically this man is a death sentence when attached to a game movie, however in this case, he actually managed to come through. Uwe typically makes serious game movies, however Postal as a game, was anything but. Postal had little core storyline, other than playing a character whose life had everything going terribly, terribly wrong, until the point he snapped and starts taking out everyone around him. Postal as a game was hilarious and offensive, and Uwe seems to have some talent in these areas, as Postal the movie is definitely both. Unfortunately, it was a bit too offensive for many, and the film was more or less hidden upon release, being sold at few locations and never hitting the movie screen. It should be noted that while panned by critics everywhere, they most likely never played the original game, which if you have, gives a deeper appreciation for how it was done right. Very open sense of humor suggested.
“Doom” (2005) is a prime example of where a video game movie goes to wrong by changing the story line too much while trying to reach gamers with corny gimmicks. Doom the game had very little story line. You play as a marine in a science lab on mars, where the invention of teleportation technology takes a turn for the worse, and opens a portal to hell through which demons pour out and make plans to eventually claim earth. The movie basically ignored this, changing the story instead to one where scientists discover a special gene in the Human DNA that when activated, either makes you into an evil monstrosity or more powerful, depending on whether you had the “Evil” or ” Good” gene. This concept is stupid on its own, let alone in Doom. This was changed in fear of more religious movie goers being upset, however I contest that why would anyone religious be upset about killing demons sent from hell? That seems like a good thing even to the pope himself.
“Wing Commander” (1999) is what I would consider only semi-bad. The movie manages to keep the storyline of the human Confederation fighting a losing war against the brutal Kilrathi aliens, relatively well, while refraining from gimmicks that aim to remind us of the video game, or of our gaming natures, unfortunately falls flat on poor writing. There is no simple solution to Wing Commander’s problem, as story writing is complex, and the transition from paper to screen isn’t easily foreseen. I would say quite simply that Wing Commander serves as another example of just because people like the video game, doesn’t mean the movie receives an automatic pass, you still need to create an enthralling story. Wing Commander also loses a lot points for the crap Kilrathi costumes, which look as though the director spent all the money on every other aspect of the movie’s special effects and had to run to party city with whatever pocket change was left for the last few scenes featuring the Kilrathi.
“Blood Rayne” (2006) is a prime example of the reason Uwe Boll should be forcibly prevented from directing any more movies ever again, or at least remotely serious ones. Everything about this movie screams low budget and poorly though out. It comes off as though the actors themselves realized what they were about to create would be utterly worthless, and thus tried that much less to make any of the acting believable. The original game is about a Nazi-killing vampire hottie, however in the case of this movie, it doesn’t even matter, because it’s not like you would notice anyways. Avoid at all costs.
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