Monday, 26 January 2009

You've Played The Game...

...Now watch the film? For ages Hollywood has turned it's nose up at such foolish concepts as "original screenplays" and instead has been systematically raiding everywhere for ideas. I dare you to name a recent major film that isn't a sequel or ripped off of - sorry, a homage to - an old TV series or comic book. Or one that doesn't suck (and no, the Matrix doesn't count). But Hollywood were faced with a dilemma - they had run out of things to steal. Should they go down the road of Police Adacemy, and create many hilarious films.. well, films anyway. Or just find more weird and obscure shows, such as a film version of Knightmare, or Bagpuss - The Movie.

No, today is the day of computer games. Remember watching your friends play their computer games and sharing in the excitement as you leaned over their shoulder? Well now you can get the same effect at the cinema, as film producers have hired 12 year old kids to play games with a film camera pointed at them. Okay, that's a lie, it just sounds more exciting than adapting a game.

But why would anyone want to see the film of a game? For the amazing plots taken faithfully from such entertainment (collect all the coins. Woo)? Or just as a filthy, corrupt trick? Today I shall be looking at ten different films based on computer games, and deciding whether they are any good or not.
Super Mario Brothers
Based on: Super Mario. Surprisingly. Although you kinda guessed that, no?

Super Mario Bros is a film that is mocked by many, citing the... well I'm not sure really, since I am actually a fan of this film - I have it on video, and for me, buying something that doesn't have either time travellers or giant robots in is a big step

I never had a Nintendo, so I wasn't a MASSIVE Mario fan (though I did have the Gameboy version). To me then, the plot wasn't blasphemy just.. different. Of course being released in the summer of Jurassic Park didn't do it any favours, the film being full of non-rip-off dinosaurs. To my knowledge Mario wasn't one to be famous for beating up dinosaurs, but it sure beats tortoise-kings or whatever. Mock it all you want then - but tell me this - what other film features Bob Hoskins versus Dennis Hopper from a parallel dimension, complete with his army of kazoo-playing pinhead dinosaurs? We're looking at a classic, people.

Pokemon The Movie
Based on: Uh.... the Pokemon Gameboy game! Yeah!
I... don't know anything about Pokemon, so I'm going to MAKE THINGS UP.
There's this little yellow guy, right, who shoots electricity (that wasn't a racist joke, btw). And there's this cat but is not a cat and it's called MEW-TWO because they're not allowed real names. So this kid Ash, who imprisons Pokemon and forces them to fight in his twisted little games must... stop Mew-Two from living a decent, normal life and getting kitty-litter...
For heavens sake, what CAN I write about Pokemon that hasn't been covered before? Except Pokemon Porn of course. Now that's an idea I can identify with...
I watched Digimon the other day. It had an egg with legs in it. It was funny.

Street Fighter & Mortal Kombat
Based on: Street Fighter & Mortal Combat respectively. Obvious, really.
Why have I lumped these two movies together? Well for a start there's their similar theme, the fact that their games are alike, and more importantly, the knowledge that I haven't seen either of them. Ever. I used to play Street Fighter round at a friend's house. For some reason the only character I ever had any success with playing was the girl in a blue frilly dress. This disturbed me greatly.

So we've got two movies that feature characters in senseless fights kicking the crap out of each other. Why they needed to poach a game for that winning formula I don't know. But Street Fighter ruled over Mortal Kombat on account of it having not just one action hero (Jean-Claude Van Damme) but two (Kylie Minogue).

Wing Commander
Based on: Gee, guess
If any game was to be made into a film, it would be Wing Commander - this was a game that thought it was a film, having cut scenes so exciting that it would hold up the shooting spaceships to deliver video clips to you. The opportunities (for leaving the room and making a cup of tea) were endless!
The cruel irony was when it was turned into a film though - Mark "I Was In Star Wars You Know" Hamill's part from the game was given to someone else. I bet he consoled himself with his extra special guest appearance on The Outer Limits. Ah Mark, whatever happened?
The film itself was slightly... odd...

SCRIPTWRITER#1: Hi, now we've got to make this film about... spaceships!
SCRIPTWRITER#1: They fly in space
SCRIPTWRITER#2: Space eh, what's that?
SCRIPTWRITER#1: Hmm... dunno. Shall I look in this book about physics?
SCRIPTWRITER#2:  What's physics? Nah, let's just file the barcode off this World War 2 movie
SCRIPTWRITER#1: YEAH! BANG, Neeeeeeeeeeeang, look at the plane DROPPING off the ship. I bet that happens in space

Final Fantasy
Based on: Look, this bit is stupid. I'm not going to fill it in anymore.
Wow, you made a computer animation that looks like a real person. Well done. Now you can do things like never before, like film a scene of a person walking along a street for £400,000 instead of five quid. The other problem with CGI 'actors' is that they aren't - actors, that is. Looking good doesn't mean you can act like a professional. From what I've seen, this film may look good, but has as much drama as a film about two lampshades.
Hmm, come to think about it, that film with the two lampshades WAS good. Oh, that little hoppy one made me giggle...

Tomb Raider
Why this game is popular - it's not so much that the fanboy can ogle Lara Croft, it's that he can BE Lara Croft, the dream of all... or just me. Ah well. Still I haven't seen this film (a recurrent thread in this article) and can't be bothered, really. Ooh, Tomb Raider, a game I have never played nor wish to. The 'plot' or what there is of one I'm told is utter rubbish- see, it's a faithful adaptation, although Lara Croft's breasts should be bigger. They are the two biggest and most important plot points after all.

"Eh, Tron wasn't a game first," I hear you cry. Well stuff you, I've just realised I can't think of any more and am getting desperate. Anyway it's like a game, and in the end, isn't that all that matters?

Bet you didn't know that Tron was filmed in black and white and then coloured, eh? To get that computery feel. Originally the whole thing was to be made using CGI, entirely with computers. It was greenlighted, about to enter production... and then the team saw the weeks latest high-tech computer game, Pong, and cried. So instead they dressed the characters up in cardboard. So this classic film is actually a black and white movie about people wearing cardboard, although it did have magic water, and no film with magic water can be bad.

And now we come to the end of this waste of time, with only 8/10 films actually done... and one of those doesn't really count. But are films based on computer games any good?


  1. Tron will always be classic to me as is the first Mortal Kombat film. Let us not speak of the second though.

  2. I thought Running Man was based off of Pac-Man...

  3. One of the fun things about BBC4 reshowing The RKO Story over xmas was that it made clear that Hollywood has always been this derivative - RKO had an entire department back in the 'golden age' devoted to finding books, plays and articles to adapt.

  4. The Wizard was cool in that it had Kevin off 'The Wonder Years' and was a movie about games, culminating in the finale fight off against Super Mario Bros.3.

    And there was a dodgy ITV drama in the mid-90's called 'Killer Net'. It was godawful, like an adaptation of Sega Mega CD game NightTrap.