At somepoint over this past year a few individuals decided it would be a great idea to create an Angry Birds Movie, now I will try and restrain my cynicism, as when Disney announced they were planning on making a million dollar movie based on a ride everyone rolled their eyes and look how that turned out. However I find it hard to find any interest or potential within an Angry Birds movie, one that will undoubtedly spawn several sequels, I have racked my brains to find some sort of story within the concept and teaser and have continually come up short. On the flip side however another huge gaming property is coming to the silver screen; Assassins Creed, staring Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard and Brendon Gleeson. Now this is a property I can get behind but yet again my scepticism remains as the slew of video game movie adaptations we have had thus far have left much to be desired but this doesn’t mean they can’t work and can’t be a viable source of inspiration for the world of film, as throughout the years the pair have supported one another hand in hand. While they haven’t produced much more then money sucking tie-ins, they have brought us some genuine gems at the same time. Each drawing inspiration from one another and inspiring film maker and designer alike.
Of the slew of video games brought to the silver screen few have made any impact if any, even when backed by a major studio, Prince of Persia being the film in question and my main reason for scepticism around Assassins, which sadly I can not abbreviate to Creed thanks to Stallone once again trying to relive his glory days. Prince of Persia was quite simply a mess of a movie only kept alive by Bruckheimer pumping money into it, which tried to coin in on the parkour craze of the time, and casting Gyllenhaal as the titular prince, could do little to save the film. Before this however Hollywood had gotten itself hooked on Arcade Fighters, with Street Fighter in the 90’s starring the man Van Damme, Mortal Kombat, DOA: Dead or Alive and Tekken. Delivering very little and barely making a mark in any shape or form, they are all bad movies and are actually enjoyable for this, but are equally painful and engaging for fans of the game, as who doesn’t want yo see Yoshimitsu come to life before their eyes. But here is the underlying issue that is perfectly encapsulated by these films they are trying to replicate game mechanics within a film aesthetic and so far it has proven not to work. The mechanics of a game in all fairness are what normally make such a game exciting, learning each fighters move set, finding the secret paths through new skill sets, these are elements that are near impossible to put to screen, because the joy comes in discovering them and figuring out all the secrets that they can unlock and honing your skills.
But not completely impossible to bring to the screen. Resident Evil successfully made the transfer and is a personal favourite of mine, the first film only though, it ditched the creeping slow pace of the game in favour of high paced action loosely based on the first games arc, while it did away with most of the story and created a rooster of it’s own characters it had enough elements and references to the game to make it feel like part of the series while also feeling a little fresh and being a lot of fun and then there was DOOM. Again having little to do with the games and quite literally a travesty in all aspects it is the first film however that has perfectly replicated the first person shooter mechanic, before it was topped by Kick-Ass years later, doing so in the final 15 minutes and near enough saving the film from being the drool fest that it was. Check out the scene here;
While we have yet to have the perfect video game movie my faith remains thanks to these titles and there is still a want for them as Need for Speed proved last year while a mere carbon copy of the Fast and Furious franchise people loved it, because once again it took a few elements from the game but was very much its own beast. But we don’t have to continue down that path, film makers need to find an effective way to replicate a sense of a games mechanics but not push them and make them the sole focus of the film as they have thus far been the greatest downfall of the sub-genre. If the makers of Assassins stick to the story line and character development and not get hooked up on the multitude of stealth and combat mechanics, if they stick to referencing them and using them to style the film they could be onto a winner.
So here’s hoping, stay with for a later post where I’ll be looking at the flip side; the impact of movies on the world of video games.
CONTINUE? 10, 9, 8…