Game to movie adaption : The thrill and the kill
Game adapted movies suck. Not to sound harsh, but it is the most widely accepted verdict. Most game to movie adaptations have been utter rubbish and the best of the lot merely hit the ‘okay’ mark. I’m sure we all hoped desperately that the talented director Duncan Jones could change our perception with Warcraft, but instead that movie falls under the weight of its ambition and source. Pretty soon, Michael Fassbender and Justin Kurzel will face intimidating odds with their movie adaption of the game Assassin’s Creed. Let’s hope that yet another movie doesn’t fate itself to failure,
But what about adapting games in a broader range? Movies have always borrowed from other art forms, and the relationship between movies and games is quite an interesting one. Whether for a joke, a cultural reference, or to heighten the action, game references provide an easy laugh and thrill factor, but most of the movies use the game style to establish a visual identity. It is an obvious fact that if you remain faithful to a game, it’s unlikely the movie will work. Moreover, you risk alienating fans, by merely making another movie in the genre that inspired the game in the first place.
The first major attempt to bring game heroes to the big screen was 1993’s ‘Super Mario Bros’. It hit the box office like a critical bomb. There’s a reason why certain game movies are considered to be “the best” among several critics are movies that feature stories and characters that haven’t appeared in the game.
For instance, characters on the screen respond to the spirit of the player. But movies take control of the narrative and put everything else in the hands of writers and directors who may or may not be capable. These movies can craft an interesting story that builds upon the narrative established in the game, but they can never give the viewer the same feeling and freedom they love when they actually play the game. The best a game to movie adaptation can do is tell a gripping story with the popular talent of its cast and crew. This is what has me kind of excited about the prospect of an Assassin’s Creed movie. The movie will apparently use awesome talent, new characters and settings that are not seen in the game, but instead adapt the themes and fundamental conflict into a whole new story. But on the other hand, rather than sitting in the multiplex, you could be playing the game that got your interest in the movie and mostly have more fun doing so.
So why don’t game to movie adaptions seem to work?
Watching a movie based on a game can feel like an incomplete and irritating experience because so much of a game’s appeal is in interacting with it. Both movies and video games struggle to create visually appealing worlds that include a stimulating plot. However, playing a game allows gamers to experience these worlds firsthand and at their own pace, as watching a movie is more of a passive experience. In simple terms, playing a game is like exploring a new town on your own, while watching a movie based on that game is like a guided tour. The basics are still there, but everything else is lost.
All things considered, at the end of the day, I would rather play the game than watch it be controlled by some dude who doesn’t even share the controller.