A Video Game Movie that Might Not Suck

14 Oct

Written By: Brian “Pac” Sostak

There has been some talk around the rumor mill lately about an Uncharted movie coming to the big screen.  For those of you who don’t own a Playstation 3 or use their dvr to religiously skip all television commercials, Uncharted is one of the most successful video game franchises out right now.  The games (Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted: Among Thieves) chronicle the adventures of Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter who often finds more than he bargains for on his journeys.  While the games are innovative and very addicting, I was afraid the movie wouldn’t be able to deliver since the concept is too similar to movie franchises such as National Treasure, Indiana Jones, and Tomb Raider.  However, my skepticism was replaced by enthusiasm when I found out David O. Russell (Three Kings) was slated to direct and now reports are that Nathan Fillion has started a Twitter campaign to be cast as the lead.  Fillion has my vote, he certainly has the wit to fill Nathan Drake’s shoes, he looks the part, and its obvious he’s passionate enough about the role to give it his all.

I don't see the resemblance...

Though this is the most recent rumor of a video game franchise to hit the silver screen, it certainly isn’t alone; reports of a Halo movie has been swirling for some time and we all remember the Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short video that infected youtube earlier this year.  Unfortunately, most movies based off of a popular video game franchise suck so here’s to hoping the next round of films can do better.  If not, here are my recommendations for some other games that could use the movie treatment:

Mega Man:

Here’s an idea, skip the RoboCop reboot and go with Mega Man instead, it’s a pretty similar concept and it hasn’t been on-screen before.  The origin of the game is about a scientist (Dr. Light) who creates an android he calls Rock with his counterpart Dr. Wily. Along with Rock, the scientists create six other humanoid robots (Cut Man, Electric Man, Ice Man, Fire Man, Bomb Man, and Guts Man) to perform industrial tasks to benefit the imaginary city of “Monsteropolis”.  When Dr. Wily turns on Dr. Light and begins to use the six bots for evil, Dr. Light converts Rock into a fighting bot called Mega Man to defend the world from Dr. Wily.

The franchise has all the workings of a blockbuster movie: classic motifs of good vs. evil (Dr. Light and Dr. Wily, c’mon), potential for special effects, and tons of sequel potential.  It’s RoboCop, Iron Man, and Transformers all rolled into one.  The only pitfall I could see to this film is that there isn’t enough character development to the villains or Mega Man himself, and other than the fact that Dr. Light and Mega Man are trying to stop Dr. Wily, there really is no concrete plot to the games.

who needs a plot thought?

 Twisted Metal Black:

In the Twisted Metal series, an individual named Calypso runs a demolition derby in which contestants can compete using ballistics and other lethal weapons to try and take out their opponents .  The prize for winning the contest is that Calypso grants the winner one wish no matter how extravagant, unrealistic, or supernatural that wish may appear to be.  What separates Twisted Metal from other stories with similar ideas is that the individuals competing in the race usually have their own mysterious and twisted back stories.  Some competitors enter the race with intentions of having a noble wish granted and others with more sinister intentions. What’s revealed after completing the game is that Calypso has his own interpretation on how to grant each wish, often in a grisly manner.

Twisted Metal is Death Race meets Mortal Kombat and Saw, each of the playable characters has a well-developed back story and there’s even an iconic character to marquee the game (Sweet Tooth). 

AKA your friendly neighborhood ice cream man

 Unfortunately, a lot of the fun in the game comes from beating it multiple times with different characters to determine how each story unfolds, something that’d be difficult to do with a movie.  Also, even though there is strong character development, there isn’t much of a plot to the game aside from everyone trying to kill each other; but that didn’t stop Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter movies from being made.

God of War:

After the poor reviews that circulated around the remake of Clash of the Titans they can’t really expect the sequel to garner the same box office revenue when it hits theaters in the coming years.  Why not instead substitute Perseus for Kratos and change the title to God of War?  If any franchise on this list has a realistic shot at becoming a movie, I think it’s this one.  The games are incredibly popular, recent in release, and one of the most iconic playable characters in today’s market.  For those of you unfamiliar, here is the plot of the first God of War game (excerpted from wikipedia):

Kratos is a warrior in the service of the Greek gods of Olympus. It is revealed in a series of flashbacks that Kratos was once a captain in the Spartan army. A fierce warrior, Kratos led his army through several victories, until finally meeting an invading horde of barbarians. The Spartan is overwhelmed by sheer numbers and Kratos is on the verge of being killed by the Barbarian King, when in a moment of desperation, he calls to the God of War, Ares, and pledges his life in servitude if Ares will spare him and provide the power to destroy his enemies.

Ares hears Kratos’ prayer and bonds the “Blades of Chaos” (a pair of blades attached to chains and forged in the depths of Tartarus) to his new servant. Kratos then returns to the confrontation with the Barbarian King and decapitates his foe. A victorious Kratos then wages war against all of Greece, and eventually leads an attack on a village occupied by worshippers of Athena. Ares tricks Kratos by placing his wife and child in the village, whom Kratos accidentally kills. Although Ares intends for this act to make Kratos the perfect warrior, Kratos renounces his servitude to Ares. The oracle of the now destroyed village curses Kratos, and the ashes of his family adhere to his skin, turning it ash-white. Now the “Ghost of Sparta”, Kratos is plagued by nightmares of his horrible deed and commits to ten years of servitude to the other gods of Olympus. Eventually tired of his servitude, Kratos summons Athena, who states that if Kratos performs one final deed—the murder of Ares—he will be forgiven for the murder of his family. Athena assigns Kratos to destroy Ares because Zeus has forbidden divine intervention.

As you can tell, God of War has a very in-depth back story and a well-developed plot, main character, and antagonist.  Additionally, movies shrouded in Greek mythology usually seem to have a strong box office draw, so couple that with the fanboy demographic and a God of War film could surely be a blockbuster.

Heavy Rain:

Heavy Rain is a game that was released solely for the Playstation 3 console and is widely regarded as one of the best video games ever made.  For anyone interested in playing the game, the plot is difficult to explain without containing any spoilers so excuse me if I’m vague.  The game revolves around four characters, each playable at different times throughout the game as they investigate the mysterious disappearance of various children and the murders of various members of the community.  It appears that the Origami Killer is behind much of the mystery of the game and it is up to these individuals to determine the outcome. 

This game plays more like a complex narrative than a video game, and it would probably be the easiest plot to adapt.  Also the narrative of the game jumps from character to character without linearity, a concept successfully used in movies such as Pulp Fiction and Trick ‘r Treat.  This game, more than any other on the list, is grounded in complete reality and plays more like a David Fincher movie than a video game.  The only criticism I have is that the game is known for its ability for the user to decide the narrative, something a film adaptation would obviously have to discard.

InFamous:

InFamous is one of my favorite video games, and with a highly anticipated sequel arriving shortly, maybe the success of the games could spawn a film franchise as well.  InFamous is a sand box style video game that takes place in the fictional Empire City shortly after it fell victim to a terrorist attack. 

The game follows the character Cole McGrath, a bike messenger who is instructed to deliver a package from an anonymous customer to the Historical District, then open it.  Unbeknownst to Cole, the package contains the Ray Sphere, and electrical bomb that wipes out the city. Cole survives the blast and soon discovers that he has new telekinesis powers.  Once the city discovers Cole was the catalyst for the explosion, him and his friend Zeke try to escape the quarantined city only to be overwhelmed by government agents.  After his arrest Cole is convinced by a government agent, Moya, to return to Empire City to seek out the Ray Sphere as well as to find Moya’s husband John in exchange for his freedom.

Marvel and DC have been incredibly successful in recent years with their superhero adaptations and it doesn’t seem like the trend is dying anytime soon.  Now is the perfect time to cash in on a movie adaptation of this popular video game franchise.  The character’s and plot are in-depth enough to create a well structured plot, the superhero angle as well as the fanboy demographic would create a strong box office draw, and the franchise will probably be at its peak with the release of InFamous 2 to Playstation 3 in the coming months.  The only setback I could see to a film adaptation is that one of the draws to the game is the karmic decision-making process the game features.  The user has the opportunity throughout the game to use Cole’s powers for good or evil and the decisions they make in the game affect not only Cole’s powers but how the members of Empire City react to his actions.  This would be difficult to capture in a film, but something along the lines of the character struggling with the morality of his powers would probably suffice.

On second thought...

What other video games do you think would make for interesting movies?  Do you think there will ever be a film adaptation of a video game that is both critically and financially successful?  Please leave your comments.

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4 Responses to “A Video Game Movie that Might Not Suck”

  1. Zach October 14, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Wow, you have some great ideas. Those video games sound like they could be perfectly made into a movie. Great blog, Brian.

  2. Sparky October 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    You give some valid arguments. I guess only time will tell. For me, I am looking forward to Sam Raimi’s adaptation of World of Warcraft. It also has the potential of being the first video game movie with a fresh tomato.

    • Brian Pac Sostak October 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

      I bet that film will draw a ton of support from the gaming community, it may have to wait a while though considering Raimi’s also signed on to do the new Wizard of Oz movie. Thanks for the comment.

  3. 網路攝影機 October 24, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    I couldn’t agree with you more, anyway l love your site layout. Is nice and clean.

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