The Decaying of Video Game Movies

 "How we gonna get in there? I got two words for you: Im-possible." We've been showering acclaim (or disapproval) on video game franchises such as Tomb Raider, Super Mario Bros, Resident Evil, Far Cry, and Max Payne for decades now. These franchises have been synonymous with the video games industry, and have also been household names for years. Video game franchises that have been entrenched in media ranging from video games, television, music, comic books, and movies. Even your grandmother knows who the legendary plumbers Mario and Luigi are, doesn't she? And if she doesn't, someone will probably remind her after I've published this article. But is legendary really the right adjective? As you may also remember these franchises as hilariously dreadful video game movie spin-offs. Yes! Who could forget how much of
an abomination a movie Super Mario Bros was? Awful movies like these have in a span of two hours tarnished franchises that have deep-rooted legacies decades in the making. If only momentarily.

However, most of these movies have been sketched out of our memory
banks, thankfully. Which is the flip side of the coin in the making of
something truly awful -- it's easily forgotten, passed up, and
rocketed to the back of our subconscious minds in favor of something
truly more spectacular. The production of these video game movies seem
more like an afterthought. Are big movie studios wigs brainstorming
quick get rich schemes? Which is a sad tendency in any industry that
robs the brilliance of artistic direction. Or possibly these studios
just misunderstand what makes a good video game movie; akin to the
contagious trend of comic book movies, however those movies have
gotten a better reputation than our guest topic of honor over the
years with recent movies such as The Avengers magnetically drawing
hordes of curious new fans. The point being however is that something
has gone sour with the conception of these video game movies and
changes are needed to transcend. So what does make a good video game

That's a question that is difficult to answer, and I do not claim to
be an expert. There are many critics as it is, and these days the pen
or electronic ink is mightier than the sword. And pleasure seeking
opinions have started more wars on the internet than Stalin or Hitler
could, but they have also expressed their collective dissatisfaction
with video game movies. I do remember when the Super Mario Bros movie
did came out...ages ago, back in 1993. The movie currently has an
IMDB rating of 3.8/10 and has grossed a paltry 21 million dollars.
Consequently, looking at those sales; in a more broader sense, there's
a lot at stake here, as most new video game IP's without a lot of
market value might possibly find it difficult to recover from a fumble
if this on-going trend of plastering any 'old video game with a name on
the big screen persists. Or a movie may strike like lightning and reap
benefits from another trend: cross marketing.

Well, any IP not named Super Mario Bros might find difficulty in
recovering its footing because Mario is still as much fun as it has
always been as a video game; albeit, not a very progressive one with
recent installments. Let's take a trip down memory lane: back when I
was kid, I didn't think the Super Mario Bros movie was so dreadful. My capacity for dread just so happens to exceed all else if these video game movies are anything to go by. Which brings me to another point -- these are the type of B movies that appeal based entirely on their namesake to the not-so-keen eyes or discrimination of your typical movie goer because of the cross-marketing potential. It might ultimately result in poor reception or better ratings. Activion's and Telltale Game's Walking Dead franchises based off of the hit television series on A&E are what comes to mind. With Activion's own Walking Dead game, another video game receiving poor reception. We have had even more video game spin-offs over the years although.

Spin-offs such as Mortal Kombat based off of the hit video game
series, which produced a sequel. And a new Mortal Kombat movie that is
set for a tentative 2013 release. Along with Mortal Kombat, there have
been movies that have come out in the past decade such as Max Payne,
Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil. With the trend continuing well into
the new decade, I don't see it ceasing anytime soon. Not to put such a
pessimistic view on these movies, just to present clarity without
those rose tinted glasses Hollywood studios are accustomed to styling.
A true loss of perspective is what is at stake, and the
cross-marketing potential is unrealized here. Video game movie
spin-offs however have gotten more clever, and production has shown
progression over the years for a select few movies. Just as film and
3D technology has progressed and improved throughout the years so have
the movies.

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is demonstrative of the conjunction
between the 3D technology present in movies, and alternatively in
video games. The movie plot actually intertwines with the actual Final
Fantasy VII video game that was released back in 1997 for the Sony
PlayStation as well. The actual movie utilized reproduced scenes from
the game. It didn't try to change the mold much, nor its formula to
appeal to casual movie goers. Instead it fixated on conveying the
unrealistic feats these video game characters are capable of using 3D
technology; with more possibilities at these becoming ever more
believable to movie goers. It was a straight to DVD movie here in the
states, but it did do well and has an IMDB rating of 7.3/10, which is
average to good depending on how you rate. It sold over 410,000 in
Japan during its first week; 963,023 on DVD here in the states; over,
totaling 2.4 million units worldwide. And it ranks high up with fans
as a worthy sequel and a video game movie adaptation executed well.

Even if the movie did have its plot holes, along with a too heavy
sided focus on special effects. Another franchise: Resident Evil has
produced numerous movies and sequels, including a completely CG
animated movie entitled Resident Evil: Degeneration released back in
2008. The first Resident Evil movie starring Milla Jovovich and
Michelle Rodriguez has an IMBD rating of 6.6/10. The main difference
between these movies and Super Mario Bros is that they stayed true to
their original video game plots and had actors and actresses who could
pull off convincing roles. Movies infused with computer generated
technology. I would like to see actors and directors being okay with
laughing at themselves or breaking that fourth wall. What is the
future of video game movies?

It's hard to say but there still have been some disappointments in
this department; namely the Uwe Boll movies, whom was responsible for
some very abysmal movies. Movies such as Postal which has an IMDB
rating of 4.3, House of the Dead which has a truly horrendous IMDB
rating of 2.0, and Alone in the Dark which has an equally horrendous
but marginally better IMDB rating of 2.3. The movie is just not
marginally better than anything else in the past 20 years. No wonder
no one wants this guy touching their game controller! What movie
producers do need to realize is that like comic book movie tie ins, it
is important to stay true to the source material, rather than reinvent.
Otherwise risk losing that sparkle that drew fans in the first
place. Video game movies will always have an allure to the video game
demographic -- whether they support the movies or not at this point
is uncertain. But they also threaten to diminish the value of the
actual franchises themselves, which is not what I as a fan wants

With more video games movies to come in the future; some notable video
game movies such as Dues Ex: Human Revolution, Kane & Lynch: Deadmen
Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid, and Assassin's Creed. Which are all
TBA. Assassin's Creed video game publisher Ubisoft is determined to
bring its own movie to the big screen by opening up and structuring
its own movie production company: Ubisoft Pictures. The trend as you
can see is alive and well, and there appears to be no slowdown in
sight. As video game development calls for bigger budgets (and if it's
a cash nucleus,) publishers will find a way to milk them -- one way or
another. And one route is by auctioning off the film rights to the
highest bidder, and vice versa; movie and television studios do the
same. Maybe publishers should exercise more discrimination. It seems
like a sure fire way to capitalize off of these video game franchises
that rake in hundreds of millions of dollars each year in a multi
billionaire dollar industry. There's a lot at stake here.

Billions of dollars sure sounds like a comfy cushion, but it’s more
like a comfy cloud of smoke. Looming in the shadows of the video game
industry is that the video game industry is shrinking as stated by
data tracking service: NPD with YOY decreases for the past few years.
My waistline has expanded over those years in a shrinking market, which
sounds like inflation. The cross-marketing could work for the good of
all, especially in a time where game publishers are experimenting with
new sources of revenue like DLC. If not, good advertisements will do
wonders as well, as showcased by blockbuster games such as Call of
Duty and Assassin's Creed.

Disney movies have been widely successful over the years with their
eccentric flavors of characters animated to life and portrayed
beautifully on the big screen, and they happen to be CG movies as
well. There's even a myriad of emotions even kids can easily pick up
on so they can relate to the characters. No doubt about it! The magic
of these movies is in the fantasy. The main attraction of these movies
to me, and possibly others is that I as a fan can use it as a platform
to boost my own interests to share with my friends and family, which
could result in them even picking up the controller themselves. But I
don't see a bad movie doing any such thing. Video game movies have
made resurgence and the results are not too good. Although, what we
can learn from other industries should be assimilated; in fact, movie
producers can learn a lot from Disney.

Games are fantasies in your pocket or in your living room. The writers
constructed these dreams for the characters they create from their own
or others' life experiences; as the actors portray and convey those
dreams. Likewise, game developers have dreams constructed for the
characters they develop based on theirs or others' life experiences,
yet those dreams, that sparkle is disconnected from their movie
counterparts. When movie studios start producing the type of movies
video game fans want to see on the big screen, family and friends can
get involved as well, and the cross marketing potential can be
realized in an ever so perceivable connected world. Popcorn anyone? Or
better yet, for now; the PS3/ 360 controller?


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