Posted on: April 6, 2023 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

In the past, the words “video game” and “movie” used in the same sentence spelled trouble. Back then, video game movies were bad. the end of the story. They were seen as shallow and derivative cash-strapped, desperately hoping to tap into a new goldmine of potential customers, only to fail to do the necessary legwork to prevent it from collapsing on its own. Like games based on movies, not enough time or thought was put into these projects and they fell flat on their faces.

Unlike games based on movies, however, video game movies have survived to this day. And they did it by switching gears. And this was not a small change either, but a tectonic one. As a result, there has been a real shift in perspective regarding these films in recent years: what was once seen as an inevitable flop has been released worldwide to critical acclaim and fan adoration.

It was recently released The Super Mario Brothers movie She is one such example, receiving praise from fans young and old around the world. And you only have to look at its writers, actors and directors to see why: video game movies are getting better because gamers are getting older.

Image: Universal Pictures

past sins

Stepping back in time to the original 1993 release, Super Mario Bros., shows how far the fusion of the mediums has come. The 1993 film was, to put it politely, a mess. It starred big names like Bob Hoskins, John Laguismo and Dennis Hopper, but the problem was none of these people were gamers. No one involved in the production of the film really understood what the games were about, and more importantly, how they made the players feel.

Gaming was still a very niche hobby in the 90s. The arcade era was over and home consoles had recovered from the crash of 1983, yet despite a new generation of parents growing up with video games, they were still considered “to be for kids”. And no self-respecting adult saw them as anything but a childish distraction. Especially not big name movie stars.

As a result, the film had to cater to a wider audience in order to succeed. And to do that, changes had to be made. Characters became caricatures of their colorful, cartoonish selves as the filmmakers changed the bright mushroom kingdom into a gritty, realistic New York City. All in order to curb the successes of films like Ghostbusters, and visually differentiate the movie from the game as much as possible, to show the audience that it’s not “just for kids”. This resulted in great props and set design, sure, but at the cost of the game’s heart.

And therein lies the problem with most video game adaptations.

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures Entertainment
Photo: Buena Vista Pictures Entertainment

style over substance

Campy silliness plagued the video game movies that followed. Directors like Paul WS Anderson andtremor) Oh Ball saw the silly costumes, pageantry and excessive wear that dominated the games, yet ignored the characters. The stories of their films were nonsensical plots that resembled something written on a napkin the night before, sometimes lacking any coherent thought or narrative. They were bare-bones vehicles to go from one flashy set piece or hot kill to the next. The actors tried, or at least enjoyed their roles, but they weren’t given anything to work with.

by Paul WS Anderson mortal Kombat They may have used characters from the games and dressed them in their iconic outfits, but failed to capture their spirit. These weren’t the deadly fighters fans knew and loved facing each other in a fight to the death, these were amateur cosplayers swinging their arms and legs at each other endlessly. It didn’t help that the writing was so bad.

Mr. Anderson fared a little better with his Resident Evil a series of films. By setting the “stories” in an alternate universe and focusing on an entirely new character – Milla Jovovich’s Alice – he was able to create entirely new stories that were influenced by the games, but taken in a completely new direction. Unfortunately, due to the wild and wacky nature of the films, and the constant need to improve upon the previous installment, it wasn’t one that fans or critics were particularly happy with. Especially when iconic characters from the game were shoehorned in as glorified easter eggs, with no personality, drive or real stakes in the plot.

The less said about Eva Ball’s trials, the better.

Photo: New Legacy Film
Photo: New Legacy Film

lack of heart

Fortunately, this trend of truly awful video game movies died out in the early 2010s. Unfortunately, it was replaced by a wave of disappointing video game movies. Titles that worked closely with the studios that created the games, yet managed to flounder at the box office.

Movies like 2014 Need For Speed2016 years Assassin’s Creedand even, recently, of 2022 Not investigated. These were not by nature Bad movies, but they weren’t that good either. By working with the developers and producers of these game franchises, they certainly succeeded look from the games they adapted, with iconic costumes, weapons, even sound effects and camera movements perfectly recreated from game to film. They even worked with their game writers to create a story that felt like it could fit into this universe. But something still felt turned off.

What it all boils down to is not just understanding the source material – recreating the look and feel of the games – but understanding the characters. Characters drive a story. And when people flock to see a movie, they’re there to watch Good story. Games can get by with mediocre or lackluster stories because their main appeal is gameplay – the experience of seeing and doing everything yourself. Movies don’t have repeatable gameplay – they sink or swim on the number of their stories.

The people who go to see these movies don’t want to see one-on-one recreations of a beloved title – drawn-out gunfights and bloated CGI-filled set pieces – they’ll play the game if they’re after that and go further than that. No, they want to see the characters they’ve grown to love brought to life by people who love them just as much as they do; They want to see them pushed into new dangers; Or will new light shine on their classic adventures. They don’t want to feel like they’re watching someone else play their favorite game – they want to see their favorite digital heroes (and villains) like never before.

Image: Columbia Pictures
Image: Columbia Pictures

For gamers, by gamers

As gamers have matured – especially those who grew up with the original PlayStation and Xbox, and have stuck with them for generations – gaming as a hobby, as a culture, has changed in the eyes of the world. The game is no longer seen as “just a pastime to keep the children quiet for an hour or two”, the game has become a media abyss.

The video game industry will generate over $188 billion in 2022. There are huge conventions, concerts and even award shows to celebrate the best in gaming achievements. The world recognizes games as a major form of entertainment. It is accepted in all circles, and is placed on similar pedestals as cinema, television and novels. And all because those who grew up playing video games as children are now the adults who start running things. But more important to the movie business, are the directors, writers and actors who are willing to bring the digital world to the silver screen, and do it well.

Photo: Paramount Pictures
Photo: Paramount Pictures

movies like Detective Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehogand the last, The Super Mario Brothers movie, resonated so well with audiences because every person behind the screen knows how important it is to get it right. Everyone is a fan. To completely confuse Mario for a gamer would be like butchering Shakespeare for a thespian. It’s just not done.

Detective PikachuJudge Smith likes Pokémon (Obvious), Super Smash Bros.and BioshockAnd even lent his voice to quite a few big games. Sonic the HedgehogThe main actors of James Marsden and Ben Schwartz delighted the interviewers with the stories of their younger days. golden eye, Chrono Triggerand Mario Kart. and Moive of the Super Mario BrosIt’s Jack Black, well, he’s the king of all nerds. These guys love games, and their passion shines for all fans to see.

But it’s not just movies. of Netflix Castlevania and HBO the last of us They are amazing examples of how to adapt a video game story to the small screen in a way that keeps all the fun and feel of the title, while doubling down on its heart. And while movies are a wonderful way to reimagine these characters, they’re often too short to really dive in and get to know them. Perhaps the future of video game adaptations is in the long-form TV stories. Sony certainly seems to think so, with both horizon and to the war Series that are going to be adapted for television in the coming years.

Image: HBO
Image: HBO

Whatever happens, things should only get better from here. Today there are filmmakers, actors and writers who grew up with computer games and consoles from birth, who saw in video games only the art form they are rightly, and it is these people who are starting to make an impact. Yes, the future looks bright.

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