It’s inevitable that as the video gaming industry begins selling multi-million units of a game that there is going to be a crossover where the video game is made into a movie, as the designers try and cash in on the success of the video game. However, so far most of the games that have made it to the big screen have been dire, and probably end up damaging the reputation of the original video games.
One of the most memorable was “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”; the hugely successful game, which tells the story of Lara Croft and her attempt to solve ancient puzzles doesn’t transfer to the big screen very well. While the inclusion of Angelina Jolie certainly adds some pleasant eye candy, it doesn’t hide the fact that the movie is very disjointed. The plot is very weak, and expects the viewer to simply enjoy the action, which is done very well, without really understanding why Lara Croft is trying to solve the puzzles, and what her main goals are. It simply ends up feeling like a live-action reality show rather than an adaptation of a great video game. It’s basically an Indiana Jones clone without the plot and characters.
Another example of this is the movie “Resident Evil”; the game itself probably started the whole Zombie-fest in the gaming industry, and its simple plot and general mayhem made it so good. The problem is the audience requires far more than exploding zombies and a pretty mean sexy lady to please them. As we follow the gorgeous Milla Jovovich into the science facility that accidentally released the virus creating the zombie filled ‘hive’ we immediately realize that there isn’t going to be any depth of character or subtle plot lines. As a gory-action modern day B-movie Resident Evil is great, but if you really want depth then don’t waste money on this movie.
I had more hope for the adaptation of the Dungeon Siege game. With a stellar cast (Statham, Liotta, Reynolds etc.) I really expected a fantastic movie that would get the best out of these talented actors. At least there is a plot in the movie; an evil army of Krugs is slowly destroying the world under the command of Gallian (Liotta), with King Konreid in desperate trouble. However, as with all fantasy movies, the villain makes a mistake and kidnaps the wife of a farmer (Statham) and the rest is history!
So what we ended up with in “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale” was a typically predictable fantasy movie that would not have been out of place alongside 80s movies like “Krull”. Liotta looked out of place as an evil wizard, and Statham simply looked bored. The land looked very a-typical for a fantasy movie and you simply never approached the believability factor required to make this type of movie work. It is a nice movie to look at, but like much art, a simple glance is enough, not a whole feature length movie.
“Max Payne” wasn’t much better. After growing up watching the fantastic “Blade Runner” I was hoping that a great ‘disturbed’ character from a video game would be brought to life, especially with the inclusion of Mark Walhberg as the main character. This movie tries to do too much, bringing in the emotional turmoil of Max Payne and trying to fill the plot with links to the past, and how these all connect to the murders Max Payne is investigating. What we end up with is a dour movie that fails to deliver the emotional content while providing some interest with an average action flick. The movie was too convoluted and failed to convince the audience about the inner demons that the main character has in the video game.
Out of all the adaptations of video games I have seen, “BloodRayne” is perhaps the only one to capture the character of the game pretty well. Rayne, the half vampire half human (played by Kristanna Loken) is a great character and the movie really has done justice to the video game, however, the movie is too simplified and becomes a blood fest that really shirks on the plot, and despite the inclusion of Ben Kinglsley, the movie loses itself in action rather than emotive plot. The dialogue is superficial, and the plot almost seems like an afterthought – as an action movie it’s intriguing, but yet again there really is no depth.
And finally we come to probably one of the worst adaptations of all. “Doom” was one of the most influential video games of all time; it was a sinister, blood filled quest to destroy demons, but when you come down to it, it really didn’t have a plot – and to be honest it didn’t need one. I was therefore surprised that there was going to be a movie based on the game. What resulted was a very poor movie that failed to capture the excitement of the original Doom game play, and didn’t deliver on the plotline, or the acting – the Rock, with his squad of soldiers who are sent to clean up some mutant monsters are very wooden. The movie ended up being just another slug fest zombie bashing B-movie and really failed to deliver.
It seems that movie makers really think the gaming audience wants a movie that is full of blood and guts, sexy women and hunky men and nothing else – they fail to recognize the sophistication of the gaming community and continue to churn out very poor movies.