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What does it take to make a good video game movie?

28 Responses to “What does it take to make a good video game movie?”

  • demonknight:

    Nice. Good director=James Gunn. I agree. Except for Movie 43. But 90% of the time, I agree with him as a good director and a fantastic writer.

    • Cecil:

      I don’t really fault him for Movie 43 because there was a ton of talent in there but it all turned into a giant pile of shit. They need to make a movie about that movie to explain what in the hell happened. How does that much talent get involved in such a train wreck?

  • Jr.:

    I hope they never make a Bioshock movie. For someone to mess with what is probably my favorite game of all time would be heresy. But I’m certain itll get made someday. I just hope they keep the atmosphere and the emotion that comes from the decisions the player makes.

    A Dead Space game, however, would be perfect for adaptation. But hitting on what you said about GTA, wouldn’t it just get lost in the Aliens/Zombies/lone person on a derelict spaceship fad we’re having these days? But hell, maybe a System Shock game? Irrational just cranks out gold IMO.

    • Cecil:

      Bioshock could work in the right hands (as is usually the case) so I’m not totally against it happening. Most likely though, it will end up being more of an action flick, instead of an emotional exploration with sci-fi and action elements.

      Even though Dead Space borrows a bit from Alien, I still feel it has enough of its own identity. System Shock yes!

  • Fred B.:

    My problem with a Mass Effect movie is that it would invariably have to be massively condensed.

    Can you picture just the first game being condensed into a 2 hour movie? Even if they gave it 3 hours of runtime they’d still have a hard time giving any depth.

    Let’s just look at the sequence here, and I’m not even talking about the filler:

    The attack on Eden Prime
    the crew of the Normandy on the Citadel to prove Saren’s guilt
    Asteroid X57 to save the colony of Terra Nova from Batarian terrorists
    Feros to receive the Cipher and kill the Thorian
    Therum to recruit Liara T’soni and learn about Ilos
    Noveria to find the location of the Mu relay, kill Matriarch Benezia and deal with the Rachni queen
    Return to the Citadel, ship is in lockdown, Shepard is “grounded”, then Anderson convinces Shepard to make a move.
    Strike on Ilos, meeting Vigil and discovering the fate of the Protheans, how the last scientists managed to use the Conduit to get to the Citadel and deactivate the Keeper signal
    Final battle with Saren / Sovereign
    Ending (with the Council saved, of course)

    Now in all this, the only element that can be removed is the asteroid – which is a DLC anyway. The rest MUST be implemented in some form or other in order for the story to progress.

    We’re talking TV series potential here. A movie CANNOT do this game justice…

    • Cecil:

      TV series wise, they would have to invest in it much like Battlestar Gallactica and most channels these days just don’t want to front the money. (hence all the reality shows)

      While I do agree there is buckets of story to cover, I still think they could make a movie/movies work. Yes it would have to be a minimum of 3 hours per film, which I know the studio would fight them over.

      • Fred B.:

        I still feel a 3-hour movie would be rushing from scene to scene in order to get the story through. You still have to have some character development between missions…and the obligatory romance/rivalry between Ashley and Liara.

        Hell I even forgot to mention Virmire in my original comment… The standoff with a CGI Wrex would be inevitable as well as the dreaded choice that comes at the end… Post Virmire there would also be the obligatory breakdown after losing Kaidan/Ashley (and please have them kill off Ashley if they ever do, Kaidan is much more interesting)

        You just can’t fit all of this in a 3-hour format, not without rushing each scene and sacrificing character development to the extent of making them one-dimentional.

  • Viewer:

    To be fair, Need for Speed did make lots of money overseas and if the trend continues, it will be a major hit worldwide this year. Cars are popular, make great stunts and leave room for special effects. Why wouldn’t they make a movie about them? And in a way, Gone in 60 Seconds was already a Need for Speed movie before the Need for Speed movie, so there’s always room for more product. Carmagedon is probably the next driving game they’ll do.

    The heads of the movie companies are now people who probably have played a more complex game than Pacman (too bad they never made a Pacman movie in the early 90’s :B btw) in their life and have some ideas about the potential of adapting games.

    By the way, I didn’t get it from the video. You do or don’t like Jolie’s Tomb Raider?

    • Cecil:

      It isn’t so much that it is a bad movie, just that it is an ok movie. They could have just as easily made another “car” film but called it something else instead of making a Need for Speed movie. There are plenty of video games that should be adapted to film, this was just one that could have been made with a different name and it wouldn’t have changed the film one bit.

      Considering Carmageddon was based on the original Death Race 2000, in a way it already has a movie. (although yes, I would like to see it happen)

      You would be surprised at how much old money is still in charge of things.

      I thought Jolie was perfect for the role of Lara Croft and overall I enjoyed the films but I thought they weren’t as good as they should have been.

  • Viewer:

    Sorry for the off topic double post, but if you take suggestions about gaming videos, you could do a personal worst(and best)-game(and maybe movie)-endings video.

    In my book, an FPS game called Chaser from 2003 would probably be number 1 or 2. A game that, for no reason whatsoever, decides to ruin a decent Total Recall (without the dream element) plot with a bullshit out of nowhere twist ending like in some crappy cheap horror movie. The stupidity of this ending is so jarring it still dumbfounds me, 11 years later. Another fps called 13 (based on a comic book) would also be there.

    Again, sorry for the total off-topic…

    • jack:

      Not heard of the game you are talking about that I will need to check on YouTube but Sniper Ghost Warrior has to be one of the worst modern endings where after you kill the last target it fades to black and just says THE END.

      • Viewer:

        I’ve played SGW (best unofficial adaptation of 1993 Jeff Fahey/Tom Berenger movie Sniper, yet 🙂 ). Believe me, Chaser’s is worse.

    • Cecil:

      No worries.

      I have Chaser on GoG but never played it. Now I’m curious, I’ll have to give it a look. (been meaning to play it anyway)

  • Cristiona:

    Silent Hill was indeed good because it sort of did its own thing. I never got the people complaining about that, because the games each sorta did their own thing. I’d also like to give an honorable mention to Resident Evil, which managed to be a good popcorn flick and spawn -theatrical- releases of several sequels. Someone was doing something right.

    I think part of the trick to adapting games, especially series, is how the game world exists and how the game interacts with the world. Kind of like how Fallout is more about the world than the Chosen One or the Vault Dweller, while Tomb Raider is all about Lara Croft or Mass Effect is all about… um… whatshisname. Shepherd.

    Also, as ridiculous as an Angry Birds movie sounds, well… that’s what everyone said about the Lego Movie, too, and that was an insane hit.

    • Cecil:

      There are exceptions to every rule but I feel the structure I laid down is the best guidelines to follow. They can make some changes as needed but as long as they don’t veer wildly from the core they should do well.

      Lego had the luxury of incorporating all the licenses it has to flesh out the tale. Angry Birds just has birds and the Star Wars license. I’m sure it will make tons but I don’t see it having staying power like Lego did.

  • jack:

    Fast and Furious franchise is mostly about the cars and chase sequences and the Need for Speed film basically looks like a clone from what I’ve heard.

    • Cecil:

      Most likely they didn’t have much faith in the movie to begin with but after Paul Walker’s tragic death, they wanted to get this out there as quickly as possible to fill in the gap where there would have been a Fast and Furious movie.

  • ThatIsAnAndroid:

    If there is any Rockstar game that could make a great movie is Red Dead Redemption. Give it to someone like Clint Eastwood or James Mangold to direct and Josh Holloway to star. Condemneds another series that could work.

    There are some amazing games like Mass Effect, Bioshock and the Half Life series I honestly don’t think are film-able without taking out a lot of what makes them good.

  • jack:

    Will you be doing another video game movie review any time soon?

    I would like to see a Good Bad Flicks episode of the Resident Evil franchise.

    Mortal Kombat worked because it focused on a limited amount of characters and as the director said the story is basically Enter the Dragon.

    I liked the Silent Hill movie but I think they added to many elements into the film with Silent Hill 2 elements most noticeably Pyramid Head and made it to over the top gory that I think it would have worked better with a more minimal approach like Psycho and The Shinning.

    • Cecil:

      Most likely the next one will be Doom. No time frame right now though. I’d love to do a series retrospective on Resident Evil but it would be a massive undertaking I just don’t have time for right now. I did just upgrade my DVDs to Bluray though.

  • Marco:

    Great job! This is a topic very dear to my heart!

    As a long time gamer it’s very sad to see that this love for the game property seems to die now a days withing the game-companies themself. Where once creative minds and deeply involved gamers worked to develop new games, there are now more or less subject alien executives making the decisons. (COD franchise).

    On the other hand you still have the tiny independent devs/publishers who give a damn about their games. Telltale games or Paradox make fantastic stuff. Blizzard, even though they are a giant, still has a soul (some gamers might scream fould here but who would do such a turn around on a game like Diablo 3 for example….or comunicate with the gamers in the forums…. played few mmos and nobody does it like them).

    So in conclusion I’ve great hopes for the future. I think the Warcraft Movie can be….CAN be a game changer. And why the hell can’t the Walking Dead TV show be more like the game….. god damn was that a beautiful-sad trip.

    • Cecil:


      I always see game movies being trashed and so I felt that instead of going that route, I would talk about what needs to happen in order to get a higher quality of game movies. The biggest being that hollywood still doesn’t see games as anything more than kids toys.

  • Mike:

    I agree with everything you said. The biggest problems by far are.
    1 – choosing the wrong games
    2 – The people behind it are either unfamiliar with the material or have no passion for the film being made.

    But I disagree on a mass effect film. I’m a big fan of the series and the ME Universe and it wouldn’t work. Part of why the game is fun is because it is a kind of choose your own adventure style. Based around a specific plot that can go any direction depending on your choices. Having that style of game be put into a singular plot movie just wouldn’t work or feel right.

    However they should Definitely make a Metroid movie. I’m surprised you didn’t mention this series in the video at some point. It’s perfect for a live action film.

    The universe in the series is vast and the basic story is interesting enough for a film. That is the first game all the way up to the Prime trilogy. The fact the plot is basic and not super detailed since it mainly focuses on Samus Aran and no one else. Leaves it open for someone to write some creative story telling as long as you have a writer and team who are familiar with the series. Who also won’t turn her into some piece of shit collection of stock female hero cliches. Heck the Prime Trilogy are extremely cinematic and further prove why it could work as a film over many other series.

    It’s a great & classic game series that would definitely make an awesome film. Especially with this rise in Female hero stuff lately, it would definitely be a better choice than those Teen-Fic adaptations. Plus if it was done in the style of Ridley Scott’s Alien, or just any kind of griddy realistic sci-fi film. Preferably with a mix of practical effects and cgi to add a bit of detail. Man the aliens in that series as practical effects that would be awesome.

    Plus they need to keep the score of the games. The Metroid series by far has some of the most distinguishable and incredible musical scores in gaming. I’m sorry but it’s not Metroid if you don’t have that score.

    Sadly Hollywood would fuck all of this up and the movie in general without a doubt. That is if it happened.

    • Cecil:

      Understandable but I still think they could take one of the possible story arcs and use that a the structure for the series. I’m sure they would most likely mess it up though because the people who are producing don’t understand games.

      I’d love a genuine Metroid movie but NIN is so gunshy we may never get another NIN movie. I’m sure the first meeting with a studio would be something along the lines of “Lets change the character of Samus to a man!” and then NIN walks out.

      I love the Metroid theme. I actually have the opening of Prime in my had now.

  • Mike:

    Yeah I can see how if they did it that way it could work. It would be nice to know what happened to Liara between ME1 & 2. Or even some of the characters that you couldn’t get back for ME3. That way they can do a story that relates to the game. But since it hasn’t been told it gives them more free reign on the story. Instead of sticking to the game which would leave them more open to fuck it up. But they’d screw it up no matter how they did it.

    OMFG! I swear if they turn Samus into a guy they’ll get a whole new kind of nerd fury coming their way lol. Because if there’s one way to piss off your audience and fans before the movie even comes out. Make Samus a guy. But it’s Hollywood they might do that and then some.

    Yeah I have the complete score to all the games on my computer.

    • Cecil:

      I’m not giving up hope because while we had a lot of bad comic book movies, they finally in recent years got it right. Maybe one day the same will be said for game movies.

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