Many movie fans have proclaimed that video game movies have been casted a "curse" in Hollywood. Honestly, it is completely understandable why someone would say that because truthfully, there hasn't been one good video game movie... ever.
Assassin's Creed is making its way into theaters and movie fans were praying that this would be the movie to end the streak of horrible video game movies. If it was going to be any movie, it would be one a part of a successful franchise like this film, and it would have an amazing cast such as Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons. Now, it appears Assassin's Creed won't be lifting the video game movie curse.
Assassin's Creed Is Another Critical Failure
Sorry Assassin's Creed fans, but this movie was not received well in the slightest by critics or fans alike. Everyone who has seen it has agreed that people are better off spending money on the games than wasting $12 and two hours of your life going to see such a boring, messy movie. The current Rotten Tomatoes rating for the movie is 23% (still changing) and the critic consensus reads:
'Assassin's Creed' is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.
While I haven't seen the movie myself, it is pretty safe to say that Assassin's Creed will not be getting a sequel. When Michael Fassbender said he wasn't sure whether or not this movie will be getting a trilogy because he's not sure "how people will respond to this."
Why Do Video Game Movies Always End Up Being Lousy?
It's almost common knowledge at this point that most video game movies are horrible. While there have been ones that had redeeming elements such as Warcraft, they end up being extremely disappointing in the end. This raises one huge question: why do these video game movies keep on disappointing the fans and end up being low-quality films?
I could write about this for eternity but at the end of the day, I believe there is one main reason why video games aren't successfully transcending onto the big screen. This would be the fact that video games and movies are two completely different pieces of art and entertainment. Obviously, they both have a story and include characters and locations, but beyond that, they are vastly different.
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As ridiculous as this may sound, people tend to forget that video games aren't movies — they are games. These games are meant to be played and have a fun time doing so. When video games were first created, there was no story behind the games but to jump, duck, and dodge.
For example, the original Donkey Kong game's "storyline" featured a big giant ape capturing a girl and a plumber has to jump over barrels and climb up ladders to rescue her, asking the iconic question "How high can you get?" — simple stuff. It was never about the characters you played as or the story but about having fun completing levels and objectives.
Over time, video games evolved and so did the storylines within the game. As much as gamers love the campaigns in their favorite games, they love completing the levels and playing as their favorite characters just as much. Given this, maybe video game movies are inherently flawed because a huge part of the gaming experience is first person involvement.
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If an entire campaign is five hours long, there would probably be 30-45 minutes of actual footage where the remaining time would be dedicating to playing the game (which of course varies on the speed you complete the game). A lot of the action and juicy moments happen in the actual gameplay, which means that when you remove the gameplay, the story is often less satisfying and coherent.
How Could Video Game Movies End Up Succeeding?
Clearly, there isn't one definitive way to make a "good" video game movie. However, there are definitely some very good rules to abide by. It is important that movie studios are sure to acknowledge the past and look towards the future. One of my personal favorite phrases is "history repeats itself." A lot of these video game movies have repeated the same sins over and over again.
I believe one of the main sins that studios keep committing with video game movies is sticking too close to the source material. Believe it or not, like video game movies, comic book movies had a hard time getting off the ground before soaring in the air like they do today. One of the main factors Marvel and DC Comics really started to realize is that they have to respect the source material — to a certain extent.
You cannot make a movie or TV show about a comic book character and just use the name, location, and some basic plot points and then proceed to throw everything else out of the window. At the same time, you can't make a movie where it is exactly page-for-page of the comic book just like a lot of films based off novels do.
Recent comic book blockbusters, specifically Marvel Studios, have computed a perfect formula to making a perfect superhero movie. Superhero movies have figured out how to respect the source material while creating fresh, new stories that actually make sense on the big screen and actually are as entertaining — if not more — than your average blockbuster. In fact, it has come to the point where comic book movies dominate the box office. Will we ever be able to say the same about video game movies?
The storyline of a video game doesn't have the inherent structure to become a full-fledged movie. Therefore, you would have to use a similar method to comic book movies where you respect the video game and use that basic storyline and then expand upon it to give the viewers a fresh, new storyline. All in all, put a spin on the storyline and have fun with it. Sprinkle in some good callbacks and easter eggs to the games and you'll win over the hearts of fans and critics alike. Hopefully studios will eventually realize how to make a successful video game movie so we can move beyond the current slump.
Which video game franchise do you think would make a great video game movie?
What do you guys think? Will the video game movie curse ever be removed? If so, how will it happen? Sound off in the comments below!