Why video game movies inevitably always fail


So with the Assasins Creed movie being released in the next couple of weeks and people inevitably hyping it up and inevitably being disappointed at the end product, I decided to take a look at why we have never seen a successful video game franchise in Hollywood. The first and most likely the biggest reasons why these movie adaptations fail is because of Hollywood and it’s directors egos. Not content with sticking to the well-established source material that the game already contains, they chop and change the story because they think that they can improve on the original source material. Michael Bay and his Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise being a prime example. Not that it stops these movies from being blockbuster hits, but ultimately cater to the lowest common denominators in the movie going audience.

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Street Fighter

The second biggest problem is time, while it takes anywhere from 8-16 hours to finish a video game the average length of a movie is only between 2-3 hours long. This means you need to cut out a massive chunk of story and boil down the movie to only the most basic story elements. And that’s not even considering video games that span entire franchises. And I can hear people saying but what about games like The Last Of Us and Bioshock? Because on the surface, these games seem to be perfectly suited to get turned into video game movies. Which brings me to the third biggest issue. Gameplay, yes gameplay if you think about it the gameplay is basically the glue that ties the story of the video game you are playing together.

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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

By removing the gameplay elements from the story that ties everything together, you are basically left with gaps in the story that need to be filled. So what does Hollywood and it’s producers do? Add unnecessary characters and story to make up for the missing content, and by adding these things to a preexisting story, you are guaranteed to ruin a perfectly good story. And this is the quickest way to alienate the game’s fanbase from your movie. Sure audiences who aren’t aware of the movie origins, but the fanbase who they are trying to cater to almost immediately notices it. And trust me when I say they are the hardest market to please next to comic book fans. The fourth biggest issue is that Hollywood does not enlist the right producers and directors for these movies. Anyone remember the terrible BloodRayne by director Uwe Boll? Well, I fucken do…

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Double Dragon

I am not asking for Christopher Nolan, but these video game movies deserve experienced and talented filmmakers to helm these projects. This all comes to a head when you consider that video games are an interactive medium, so in essence, you are taking something interactive and trying to make it non-interactive. Video games and movies are two vastly different entertainment mediums, so trying to consolidate them into one or the other is always going to be both hard and challenging. We have yet to see a proper Hollywood adaptation of a video game, is it impossible no. Are we going to get a proper video game movie adaptation any time soon? I would say no. In my opinion, video games don’t need to be made into movies. My solution? Stop trying to adapt video games into movies. Simple as that.

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About larch

I am a cucumber in a fruit bowl.
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2 Responses to Why video game movies inevitably always fail

  1. Craig Lotter says:

    I though that the Prince of Persia movie was actually pretty well done. Plus the fact that they translated quite a few of the game movesets into the film action itself was a pretty neat nod to the game.

    • larch says:

      Problem is none of these movies actually did well in both review scores and box office takes. The two biggest places it does matter for a movie to get its own franchise. And browsing through metacritic no video game movie has scored above 50%.

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