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Video Game Movies Are Usually Terrible, But Maybe They Won’t Be Forever.
With rumors of a Last of Us movie abound, the internet has been abuzz with gamers discussing how bad of an idea it would be. Despite how you might feel about the gameplay, most gamers and critics do agree that The Last of Us had an amazing story with great characters. One could argue that it’s more realistic setting, characters, and story would make the game ripe for a movie adaptation and Hollywood has told this kind of story with great results. But does the fact that The Last of Us is a video game make it a target for the game movie curse?
It’s a very perplexing matter for many video game fans whenever the subject of a movie adaptation is brought up. So far, adaptations have been on the up and very successful. Filmmakers have done great jobs with books and comics, such as Marvel’s smash successes and the Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games adaptations. Cartoons have been a more debatable matter when we consider the Last Airbender film, but it’s almost universally agreed upon that it’s almost impossible to name a movie based on a video game that is a good film, successful, AND true to the source material.
For those of you that don’t know, there was an Ace Attorney movie made in Japan and it did very well. It wasn’t completely true to the games, however; it not only made the series accessible to those who knew nothing about Phoenix Wright, but for fans it was a very entertaining film. In fact I recommend it. Of course, then we can turn around and see that Final Fantasy movie no one wishes to speak of.
For whatever reason, regardless of whether or not the source material has a wealth of history to draw from, video game movies are more likely to be terrible than not. The argument of getting a balance between the fans of the franchise and the general public making the movies suffer to me is no longer valid. Again there is a long list of adaptations (comics and books) that have managed on both film and television to appeal to both audiences. Video game movies no longer have the benefit of this as an excuse. I remind you that even though the Resident Evil franchise has largely abandoned any sign of trying to stay true to canon, in the beginning it made an effort and was successful with both the public and fans. It’s only later when the movies veered towards making Milla Jovovich’s character the best character ever, did it tumble down into bad video game movie territory.
Maybe it’s that those who chose to make movies based on video games don’t really understand the franchise beyond the point that it’s popular and people would go to see it. If the publishers and developers of the games were as involved in the movie making process as book authors and Marvel seem to be in their adaptations, video game movies would have a chance. For example look at Game of Thrones, where G.R.R. Martin is fully involved, or the Marvel movie franchise where the company is also involved, and compare that to the Blood Rayne movies or Resident Evil. The hands-on approach that video game publishers and developers take with film-makers serves no purpose other than to make sure that the only connection between film and game is some of the characters names and settings are the same.
But maybe The Last of Us movie will prove us all wrong. Maybe it it will be the start of a renaissance of great movies adapted from video games, because the Uncharted movie is suddenly in the works again. It could be that Naughty Dog, who is on of the top developers around these days, have learned from the mistakes past and have taken an active role in the development of these films. Well, history has proven us naysayers right, but if anyone could prove us wrong it’s Naughty Dog.