Continued from Part II (here)
BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, HAVE FAITH FOR AS THERE IS A BRIGHTER DAY COMING, MY CHILDREN! BE NOT AFRAID FOR I BRING YOU TIDINGS OF…well…tiding that shit is going to get better. Much better. Assassin’s Creed better.
“Why’s that,” you ask.
Well, first of all, don’t rush me. We’re gonna get there if you just slow your fucking roll and lemme speak on this. Second of all, didn’t you just read what I wrote and thereby hinted at? The “Assassin’s Creed better” thing? Are you paying attention? No, why would you do that? You never pay any attention to me. I got my hair cut and did you compliment it? Did you even notice?! NO! NO YOU DIDN’T! Shit…any ways. Third of all, and probably less rude (sorry…quitting smoking sucks), is that the source material has gotten so much better.
I love the old school side-scrollers. They were a joy growing up and they still are…but let’s be fair, shall we. There wasn’t a whole lot of story in them. The fighting games usually had even less. Today’s games are a whole new animal and that’s what leads us to…
What makes a great video game movie?
“Katimari” might be tons of fun but I wouldn’t say that you have the built in story materials that will make for a thrilling adventure that we can all jump on. Oh I have no doubt that they could write something that would be compelling and wonderful but then you’re back on the “Super Mario” horse and trying to create a story where none existed in the first place. The audience would end up shaking their heads trying to figure out what the fuck happened. Shit, I’ve played the hell outta that game and I still kind of wonder what the fuck I was doing it all for.
There needs to be the built in dynamic with the game that transfers to the screen. You need to want to see what happens next in the same way that you want to clear that chapter or board in the game to get to that oh so sweet cut scene (they’re like geek porn pop shots). If you don’t have a source material that makes the gamer want to fight on to finish the game then you probably don’t have the material to make the audience sit through the entire movie.
Relevant Source Material
There are tons of games made every year that are “critically acclaimed” or “staff picks” and so on and so fucking what. It’s all well and good to have a great game that wins awards and the gaming community adores. But we’re not selling a movie just to gamers now are we, my sweet lil lamb chops. No we are not. We are selling it to the masses.
Your source material needs to be relevant to the world at large. Even though it’s not in my top six potential video game picks something like Rock Star’s “Grand Theft Auto” would pack people into the seats. It would be another “meh” for the lukewarm turd bucket, of that I have no doubt, but it would get folk into the theatres.
“Why’s that,” you ask.
I TOLD YOU NOT TO PRESS ME, YOU ASS MONKEY! Sorry…fuck I wanna smoke.
Right…to answer that. Folk would show up for it because they’ve heard of it. Do you remember “Hot Coffee”? I dare say that there are folk in the media who still do. And I have no doubt that if a movie were made there would be at least a dozen of them who would bring that up again.
“The game synonymous with scandal is getting the big screen treatment by BLAH BLAH BLAH…Hot Coffee…Cop killing…encouraging criminal activity as being cool…” You can already hear it, can’t you?
“Grand Theft Auto” would put asses in seats because it was part of our social conscious for so a while. Was it in a good way? Well, no but it’s still something that will attract the audience member who says, “Oh I remember hearing about that”.
For a video game to make that cross over to a movie it needs to have been a “thing” in the world at large. Not just with the gaming community but with the rest of the mouth breathing virus that is humanity.
Seriously…I think I just need to go back to smoking.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T…find out what it means to making that jump from your basement wide screen to the big screen. (Little known fact: This was actually what Aretha Franklin was originally going to sing. True story.)
Every inch of the project needs to be treated with the highest respect. You need a director who respects that he or she is making a movie and not just a “video game movie”. That’s one of the big reasons why you’ve had such success with comic book movies. Bryan Singer isn’t just a great director. He’s also a comic book fan. He loved and respected the source materials. That showed on the screen with the first two X-Men movies.
The actors need to respect that they’re acting in a movie and not just a “video game movie”. If you watch “Super Mario Brothers” and freeze frame on Bob Hoskins face there are actually times where you can see a small part of his soul wilt and die like a flower put in the microwave for too long. If the actors in front of the camera don’t have love and respect for what they’re doing then there’s very little chance that we’re going to enjoy their performances.
The studio that puts it out needs to respect that they’re putting out a movie and not just a “video game movie”. If all the company does is blast out trailer that scream “YOU PLAYED THIS AND YOU LOVE IT SO COME SEE IT” then there’s a chance that they don’t respect the source material and just want to put out a “video game movie”.
If you don’t have respect for it all then it’s just gonna be another “meh” and YOU AREN’T HELPING! STOP THAT!
So what do I think would make a great jump from the video screen to big screen? Well I’ll tell you. Shit, I’ll tell you six just to give you something to mull over. BUT…
Before we do that I need to put up a caveat. I’m an XBox snob. It’s a long story and I won’t bore you with it here (if you’re not overly bored already…you’re still there right…listen I’m sorry I yelled at you…I’m having a tough day…okay…good…hug? Never mind) but needless to say Sony and I are in a fight and I’m not gonna hug it out…yet. We’ll see what happens in the future. That being said…
TOP SIX POTENTIAL FLICKS
6) Mass Effect trilogy
This game has created in three games what Star Wars and Star Trek have taken decades to do. Mass Effect has created universes, environments and species that have unlocked a fascination and awe that are almost beyond words.
For me, what makes this a truly movie worth set of games are the options you are given by the game’s up. Because of all the choices you are given and the open universe aspect of it you can play it so many different ways with differing results. AND YOUR CHOICES COULD END UP ON THE BIG SCREEN!
Seriously, how fucking cool would that be? You’re sitting in a theater with your equally nerdy pal watching this movie unfold. Then it happens. The coolest thing either of you have ever fucking seen in a movie. You’re buddy turns to you and whispers “awesome”.
“Yeah. I did that.”
You’re now in the movie. YOU’RE IN the GODDAMN MOVIE! You’re choices have played out on the massive screen before you and it’s what you did. It doesn’t get much more wonderful and fulfilling than that. Simply put: Boss.
5) Bioshock trilogy
This game has an amazing “cool” fact to it. Now, I’ve never been what you would call “cool” (Reader: NO! The hell you say. Me: Please do fuck off and die…after you get me a pack of smokes) but I have heard wonderful things about being “cool” from the kids who hang out behind the gym and smoke the marijuana drug cigarettes.
That being said, every image in this game is just breathtaking. And creepy as all hell. It’s both “cool” and terrifying just in what it is and where it is.
Add Big Daddy.
Add Little Sisters.
Shit just got real. Real spooky. Real frightening. Real painful. And, oh yeah, you’re underwater the whole time and the glass bubble you’re in is cracking. Hold your breath and try to scream at the same time.
This is good popcorn chomping just waiting to happen.
4) Red Dead Redemption trilogy
Yes, I’m well aware that the game itself isn’t a trilogy but I think that there is a strong potential to have the movie franchise work as a trilogy. I know that there’s been word floating around that they’ve been trying to adapt it into a movie but in recent years the talk has ebbed to whispers just above a silence and that’s a shame.
What about this game makes for a perfect movie? Just about everything. You have the death of the old west. You have a morally ambiguous character that can be played from hundreds of different positions. You have a story of redemption (YEAH, THAT’S THE TITLE AND I SAID IT), love and loss. You have locations, colorful characters painted with distinct, nuanced strokes and guns, OH SO MANY GLORIOUS BULLET BELCHING GUNS!
Shit, just for the little touches they can work in with the side mission you’re going to have an unnerving tale. Sam Odessa and Jenny alone make for heart wrenching theatre. The locations, the camps and the action. The game is so big and beautiful that you have so much source material to pull from.
WHY ISN’T THIS A MOVIE YET?
3) Gears of War trilogy
This game already feels like a movie and, yeah, I’m aware that there are some huge moments that are somewhat hackneyed but the delivery by the cast and the settings for it are so impressive that I’m willing to overlook them. Plus, this game has what every game just wish that they have.
You can argue the pros and cons of this game as a movie all you want but you can’t deny that Marcus Fenix is pretty damn bad ass. He’s got all the appeal of a Dirty Harry with muscles that make Arnie and Sly look like…guys who don’t really have all that many muscles. You get my point.
Imagine if you will, Delta Squad sweeping a crumbling marble palace. They’re in a lush stone courtyard overgrown with vines and moss when the ground begins to shake. The ground gives way and monsters crawl from a chasm. The boys go into combat mode and there’s gunfire, explosion, blood, guts and finally…the lancer comes out with its chainsaw bayonet and rips a bug in two!
Sign me up.
2) God of War trilogy
When I played the first game I found myself thinking, “This is the most perfect game of all time.” I have never given a game 10 out of 10 but this was a 9.99 out of 10. And then they put out the second one and it was, some how, even better. Never played the third one…this is kind of why I’m an XBox snob…and I promised I wouldn’t bore you with my anger at Sony so let’s leave it at that.
ANYWAYS…this game is custom made for a great movie. A hero’s fall, rescue, rise and fall again. This is a Hollywood tale if there ever was one.
The imagery is gorgeous. The hero is dark and brooding. He’s a man looking for vengence to start and then, well, he just wants to kill gods. Who wouldn’t want to get on that ride?
If you don’t believe me take the last images of God of War II with Kratos riding on the back of a titan as it climbs Olympus. He points his blade to the summit and growls…
“Zeus! We’re coming for you!”
Put that feeling on film and I’m there.
1) Left 4 Dead trilogy
If you thought that the #1 slot would be held for Halo then please kill yourself. Please. You are infecting the world of gaming with garbage and I hate you. Thank you…now kill yourself.
Now I’ll admit it, I’m a little partial to this game for a plethora of reasons. Bella, The Doktor, The Doktor’s brother (let’s call him The Pasty Hulk) and Poopbird spent hours and hours killing zombies in this game. Maybe that’s why I’m so attached to the characters in the first two games. Oh…one moment please.
Dear Valve: Please put out a third game in this series. I know you don’t like doing a third game (Team Fortress 1&2, Portal 1&2, Half-Life 1&2) but please, I’m begging you, put out a Left 4 Dead 3. With all the boards that fans have put up online you’ve got to have enough material and ideas for a third game. Please. I’ll be your best friend. I’ll buy you a sammich. I know you guys love sammiches.
There’s a joyful simplicity to the game and what the objectives are. You need to live to make it to the end. You need to make it to the end. You just need to survive. There aren’t scores of cut scenes where you have huge character development moments. Point of fact, you really don’t know a whole hell of a lot about the people you’re playing but they take on a life of their own as you slip into their skin.
The dour Zoe.
The excitable Louis.
The crusty ole Bill.
The gruff but loveable Francis.
Even though we don’t know what their stories are their blank slates allow us to feel a part of their lives while the fear and terror of what their dealing with brings us closer to them. They never know what’s around the corner and neither do you.
Now I could say that it was just me who thinks this would make a great movie. I could but I have access to the internet. Just go ahead and look up L4D fan movies on youtube or wherever you find your online goofy footage.
Look around. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Pretty amazing, right?
I’m not the only one who wants this to be a brilliant, bloody film.
“Man I hate brilliant, bloody films.”
Shut up Francis.
There were a bunch of other games that I thought might work and I thought they deserved an honorable mention. So, yeah, here they are.
This Rock Star gem is epic and beautiful. If you ever wanted to play “LA Confidential” but were afraid of getting to close to Russell Crowe then this was the game for you. And it’s fucking huge…and that’s the problem.
This game is so big that it couldn’t work as one movie but there’s not enough of a break in the action to really make it two or three movies. You could try and trim it down but you’d just end up with the cliff notes to the game.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
It’s gorgeous. It’s massive. It’s an amazing world on par with what was created in Mass Effect but with motherfucking dragons. Again though, it’s too damn big and you just don’t have the moments of pure hook that you have in some of the other games I mentioned above.
I know you absolutely loved pumping eighty hour days upgrading your characters and smelting and going on quests but you don’t want that in a movie. In the end Skyrim wouldn’t work for the same reason that trying to do a well rounded World of Warcraft wouldn’t work. Plus, only Peter Jackson is allowed to film orcs on this scale.
Yeah, I know I mentioned earlier that fighting games didn’t make any damn sense as there’s no real story to work with. The same is true here…BUT HERE ME OUT! It could stand a chance if you think of it in the same context as “Blood Sport”.
That being said, that’s the same reason it would fail. You have iconic images and some real cool looking shit but there’s no story to be found here. If they came up with an actual story mode them I’m sure…nope, still wouldn’t work. Moving on.
Same problem as above but it could also work in the same way “Death Race 2000” and the remake “Death Race” kind of worked.
Saving Grace: Sweet Tooth, the scary as fuck serial killer clown in an ice cream truck
Failure Due To: It’s basically just a fighting game with no real story to draw from
Sorry Sweet Tooth. A lack of story is your fluoride and floss. You’ve got a ton of cool shit but no story to really tell.
FLYING MOTHERFUCKING OSTRICH KNIGHTS! FUCK! I THINK I CAN MAKE THAT WORK AS A SCRIPT!
So, I’ve been babbling about this for a while now and I’m sure you’re ready to wrap all of this up. I can do that and I can do it pretty fucking quick. Here we go.
My fellow nerdlings, the comic book bubble is going to burst. It’s going to burst hard and it’ll burst long before we want it to and long after it probably should have. But have faith and have no fear. As long as we have jingling change in our pockets and can stifle our fear of the outside world long enough to run in to a movie theater there will always be big studios looking to cater to our desires so they can separate us from said jingling change.
Comic movies might die out before you know it but we’ll see our video game heroes up on screen to take their places. NOW WHERE’S MY MOTHERFUCKING LANCER?!