Video game movies have been, more or less, not done well at all. While there have been good movies about people playing video games, movies based off of the lore of a game have resulted in failure after failure along with some moderate semi-successes. Let’s face it, though, there has never been a huge blow out success in video game movies. Silent Hill, Resident Evil (the first one), Mortal Kombat, Warcraft and maybe you could count Wreck-It Ralph among the decent successes. Although, Wreck-It Ralph was not based off of a single existing video game storyline (and, ironically, the video game sucked). There are several reasons why the VG movies are not successful, and fail to bring in any kind of serious cash as far as audiences are concerned.
Now, there is talk of the serious successes in the indie game culture becoming feature-length films. To no one’s great surprise, producers are making the same mistakes that they always make. They think that just because something is a huge multi-million dollar success, they can capture that lightning in a bottle in another form and the property will just sell itself. This is 100% wrong! You can’t just slap a label onto a movie and just magically make people pay for it! The thought of indie games starting their own generation of movies may sound ridiculous, but guess what, Angry Birds was a phone game based on simple mechanics and a simple physics engine. IT COULD HAPPEN TO INDIE GAMES NEXT.
So, what if they make a good indie game movie? Well, that would be wonderful! Many would love to see an amazing iteration of something such as Castle Crashers in the form of a movie. Well, of course the characters would have to actually have voices when they talk, which they did not in the game, so that would kind of ruin one aspect of their identity. Then they would more than likely have to not exist in the 2D visuals, they would have close-ups and different angles. Then the ladies you have to save would have those shrill screams that no one really wants to hear. Honestly, it would just turn into your normal, generic fantasy cartoon movie that’s been done to death. Yes, there are ways of capturing it, but you would need to do some thinking, which is not the strong suit of bigwig producers.
What if they wanted to do Cuphead? Cuphead was a smash-hit success! Of course, there have been ideas of making a movie out of it. Well, there’s the problem of the cell art and the hand-drawn animation that is all but a dead practice nowadays. So they would more than likely snatch that away in favor of that balloon-like 3D CGI animation that they’re turning everything into. Well, there goes one of Cuphead’s most defining features. They couldn’t possibly have the DEVIL in a kid’s cartoon movie, so they’d have to replace him with Santa instead, so while they are on their journey to repay Santa for the bet they made against his elves, they would need to wag their fingers at snowmen and reindeer, because obviously, we can’t have scary monsters and sea beasts attacking them with intent to kill them. And the wagging fingers certainly can’t have gunshots of any kind because guns are just not appropriate for the demographic they are aiming for. Our children are entirely too fragile for such horrific images. So we will be joining Cuphead and Mugman on their voyage to the North Pole with their horrific debt to Santa Claus and the twenty large they owe Dasher.
Games are games for a reason. You can’t turn Amnesia into a full-length horror film because it would just be a samey horror flick we’ve seen twenty million times. Dark halls with torches and empty libraries and something in the background going “Ooooo!” It’s different for games because as the player we have a new way of experiencing these events and have an interactivity that we wouldn’t have through the ways of the motion picture.
Don’t get the wrong idea of this article, there can be good video game movies, and there have been some decent success rates with a small number of them. It’s just the problem of the dollar bill. Some production companies can’t see an inch in front of their nose when the thought of spending money is involved. The only thing they want is what test audiences want to see, they don’t care about the fandom that loves the property. They want to aim in all different directions, so they play it entirely safe and add in all of the things that they think the vast populace wants. Thus, they water down the premise in favor of a flavorless, soulless piece of trash that barely resembles the source material.
The biggest problem with large production companies have all the money, they just lack the creativity, while indie companies have been known to possess creativity, just lack the funds to make their movies the way they would want to. There is always a chance that some small production company will come along and create the most immaculate, money-making fan-servicing video game movie that the world has ever seen. It could be a smash hit success that could triumph even over one such as the Dark Knight or, dare I say it, Titanic. The world will all line up for miles around the corner to see this gargantuan supergiant of a film, and all shall bow down to its majesty!
That will be the day we all shall praise and recognize the glorious divinity that is Plants vs Zombies: The Motion Picture!