Advice in making a good video game movie

I read somewhere that Universal is planning a DOOM movie with the Rock and some guy from LOTR who played Eomer. Question of coursre is will it suck? The Rock is also doing SPY HUNTER with John Woo in the director’s chair. As fans of video game and computer entertainment what would you advice the producers to avoid in making a video game movie so it does n’t
turn into a dud.

My advice is


He has already ruined two favourite games of mine,Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil as well as ALIENS VS PREDATOR don’t let him touch any more good franchises!!

It doesn’t matter who’s directing it. A movie based on the “Doom” series will inevitably suck anyway. What plot is there besides beasties rising up from Hell and wanting to eat everyone?

Now, Quake 1 would make a good movie, if you made it a focus on commandos infiltrating x-y-z base and facing off against fiends, shamblers and…the most annoying monsters EVER…Spawn.

I think I’d advise them not to make most of these movies in the first place… to be honest, almost every game-to-movie adaptation I’ve seen has been a simple cash-in on the game’s success, with a storyline that has little or nothing to do with the game itself. Half of the problem is that most of these popular games don’t really have a plotline to speak of [EDIT: as Arcie said], unlike novel-to-movie or movie-to-novel adaptations for example, where it’s more a matter of working out how to tell one story in a different medium. Here we’re getting generic (action) films that just bear enough of a resemblance to the game in question to have that game’s title slapped on them; Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, The House of the Dead and so on.

Sorry to sound so pessimistic on this one, but I’m not sure there’s much hope for these kinds of movies ever becoming really good; at heart they’re just knocked together in order to generate cash.

I thought the original MK film was quite good. Annihilation sucked though.

Sorry, I really was thinking of Annihilation; from what I remember, the first MK was a pretty fun action film that caught the atmosphere of the games quite well. On the other hand, Annihilation was a tragic attempt to cram as many MK characters as possible into an hour’s worth of plotless battles backed by particularly repetitive techno/dance music. Possibly the worst film-based-on-a-game that I can think of, but unfortunately there probably is worse…

The best way? For the damn writers and director and producers to actually know what makes games good. And then realize that movies are good for ENTIRELY different reasons.

It takes quite a lot of studying of media to learn the ins and outs of any particular medium, but it doesn’t seem that most game-to-movie conversions benefit from any such research.

And why is it that most Hollywood types seem to think that games are “cool” in the way that people thought neon and hypercolor shirts were “cool” in the 80’s? Every time I see a game-based movie, all I can hear is the director saying, “Man, this is totally radical to the max!” :smiley:

i still say things like that :anjou_disappointment: i’ve fallen in love with the term “fresh” again; conjoining it with terms like mega or turbo.

you certainly are correct about games and movies being good for different reasons, but do you think that it is just people pursuing it in the wrong ways, or is it something that just should not be pursued all together?

i can identify these main problems with the development process of gam-to-movie translations:

  1. poor game selection. they choose the most dead end, stupid games to make movies out of. none of them are actually interesting, though there are plenty of interesting games out there with established visual styles.

  2. in line with #1, after selecting an interesting game, do not hire some stupid writer to come up with a generic plotline that breaks from the themes and events of the game.

  3. get people that have extensive knowledge of and interest in the game to tackle things such as art direction, cinematography, musical score, etc. now i’m sure abadd is screaming “THAT WILL BE A COMMERCIAL FAILURE!!” and that would certainly be true if you disregarded step 1 or 2 but i think there are definitely games out there that posess a storyline, aesthetic style, and feeling that could easily and effectively translate to the big screen.

if the job was plopped into my lap, i would choose PSO, write the screenplay myself, and acquire the official concept art used in the game for settings, creature, and character designs.

why can’t the people with the opportunity be as smart as me- who has no such opportunity?

There is no doubt that if I directed a Halo movie, it’d rock. Or rather, a series of Halo movies.

Funny you mentioned Paul Anderson, that was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the thread title. That man manages to ruin every film he directs.

lets not confuse this guy with Paul Thomas Anderson- who makes great movies.

something that i’ve considered (which is kind of akin) is remaking certain anime films in live action. i recently saw a movie called “memories” which was actually 3 anime movies (each about 40 minutes long). the first one was called “magnetic rose” and i thought it was absolutely great. the best way i can explain it is to say it’s kinda like a mix of “burning rangers” and “the shining” :anjou_happy:

but it is a movie that i think could be redone in live action and be appreciated by a larger science fiction fan audience.

Well, I don’t think it’s impossible to do. I just don’t think most of the people in Hollywood who propose the majority of game-to-movie ideas actually know anything about games, other than that the game industry makes a lot of money.

Imagine, if you will, a Silent Hill movie directed by Chris Nolan or David Fincher.

Or a Deus Ex movie directed by Ridley Scott (which would essentially be Blade Runner, but hey… who’s complaining?).

It can be done… it just needs to be done with the same sort of care and love that comic book movies (well, some of them) are getting.

which comic book movies do you think are getting that kind of care and love? while spiderman is breaking all kinds of records at the box office, i don’t think that they are really doing him justice (is it that hard to figure out who the right villains are?). they brushed over a lot of the defining rules and history of spiderman (web fluid, the first costume, gwen stacey) and they end up with some kind of “spiderman-lite”.

if they choose another crappy villain in the 3rd one, i’m going to kill sam raimi- god knows i should have when i had the chance all those years ago…* the only decent villains by my standards would be venom and carnage; of course they will have to botch their origins since they bothed spiderman’s.

if i had to pick the comic book movie that turned out the best, i would say batman returns but the batman movies have almost become a thing of their own.

the only other ones i can think of are daredevil and catwoman and those were clearly not awesome (not that i actually saw them).

*it seemed appropriate to say at the time but i, to the best of my knowledge, have never had the chance to kill sam raimi.

I remember the first Mortal Kombat movie. It was pretty fun. :anjou_happy: I can’t say the same for other game to movie conversions though. I never saw the Super Mario Bros one but then I’m not sure I want to know what the scriptwriters were thinking when they did that. O_o

I get the impression that most of these movie scriptwriters/directors/producer aren’t gamers (the whole Street Fighter experience makes me shudder) so they haven’t a clue that not all games would be well suited for being movies. Bestselling game doesn’t translate into blockbuster movie. At least that message seems to have gotten across, but they still haven’t figured out how to make most movie conversions palatable. Given how many failures they’ve had and how they keep on trying, I’m rather surprised somebody hasn’t nailed it yet. Maybe there’s just some inertia against it.

By the way, if Ridley Scott directed Deux Ex I’d watch it. :slight_smile:

Ah but Ermac was in it.

And he was beaten by a girl too :anjou_disappointment:

As most of you should know bte Riddley Scott is said to be the one directing a possible Halo film.

The X-Men movies have been great. Are they “film”? No. But great popcorn movies.

As for Spider-man, I thought the first one was highly entertaining. The second one was a bit disappointing, but do I feel they captured what made Spider-man, well, Spider-man? Yes. There were little details that were changed, but as we’ve been discussing, there’s really no point in doing a straight translation from medium to medium. A comic book is a (rather dense) serial work that allows the writer to go into extremely minute detail, whereas a movie needs to convey the entirety of a story within a 2-3 hour span. You pick what makes for the most interesting movie stuff, and you run with it, ignoring the rest of the stuff.

And what’s wrong with the Green Goblin? And Doc Oc? Both classic Spidey villains. To be honest, I think they were better choices than, say, Venom. Sure, Venom is cool in that “he’s so evil and badass” sort of way, but he’s much less widely known to the older generations of Spider-man fans, and I think it would have darkened the tone of the film too much (I believe a huge part of the success of the first movie was the fact that it was so uplifting in the wake of 9/11).

As for another example of a great, great, GREAT comic book movie… the Incredibles. Sure, it’s not really a comic book, but it was everything a comic book movie should be. The director/writer, Brad Bird, really knows his stuff.

Oh, and while not a comic book, here’s a good example of how the difference in a director’s influence on the same source material affects a movie. Take a look at the Harry Potter series. Chris Columbus is by no means a horrible director, but he was a bit too literal in his translation from book to movie for the first two. I’m sure he did that because that’s what the kids wanted, but compare that to Alfonso Cuaron’s Harry Potter 3. It was so much more artistic… so much more interesting. I wish more directors would pay attention to what he did with it :slight_smile:

I was expecting a better role for the great Gary Oldman in that movie altho I agree it was the best of the three.

Anyways I think making a movie out of a vieogame is still very different from making a film out of a comic book.

Videogames and comic books are actually very similar in their narrative styles. Comics require much more involvement from the audience, due to the panel structure. In between each panel, the audience must extrapolate the action that has happened, figure out how much time has elapsed, etc. There is a lot more input from the audience.

In a videogame, the user simply acts out those “in between the panels” areas with interactive gameplay.

A movie? You just sit there and watch. Sure, there are minor things that must be extrapolated by the audience (when you have scene jumps, etc.), but they are much easier to understand.

As for Gary Oldman, that was the perfect role. But yeah, too bad Sirius wasn’t in the movie more often. I suppose that was limited by how often he appeared in the book, though, eh? He’ll be showing up more in future movies, hopefully. Particularly book 5 (which I’m about halfway through right now).

I thought the first one was OK, the second one, to me, wasn’t as good, particularly the plot. I don’t want to see Magneto being the main villain all the time, I want to see some of the others (Onslaught, Apocalypse, etc, even though Onslaught was a one off series and Apocalyse isn’t around much nowadays).

Since Magneto is the most recognizable of the X-Men villains, that’s likely why they keep the focus on him. The outsider theme running through the X-Men series of mutants fitting in (or not fitting in) with the rest of humanity translates fairly easily to general audiences who may only be tangentally familiar with the source material. Magneto as a villain is directly involved in that kind of conflict.

Being accessible is a big thing. I’m not a big X-Men fan, but my college roommate was and she was trying to explain to me what Apocalypse was in the comics versus the cartoon (the older one by Fox, not the Evolution one by WB) and that he’s not a mutant but something else called an External or something like that. For me, any time that Apocalypse got involved, the series got weirder and I understood it less. He seems to be a villain that requires a lot of fan-knowledge to understand and enjoy, whereas Magneto is fairly straightforward.

If Mystique hadn’t already been established as Magneto’s flunky (and wasn’t being played by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, who has all the acting ability of a bad Saturday morning dub job) I would’ve liked to see her used as a main villain. I don’t know anything about Onslaught though, and I suppose that would say how well known he is outside of the fandom.

i had forgotten about x-men movies; they were handled decently… though any deviation from the original character design ended up making the character stupider (and was done frequently). as an example: anyone that was turned into a highschooler in the movie (nightcrawler, rogue, actually… that whole school idea was a terrible one).

i’ll give magneto accessibility, but there really were some more interesting villains that would not be all that hard to explain- though i’m not sure i would risk them implementing them for the reason i mentioned in the above paragraph.

the phoenix saga was quite possibly the worst story arc in the (or any) TV series, and so it was forboding to see them making use of it at the end of 2.

overall, they did ok.

i think an accurate depiction of spider-man’s real origins could have been portrayed quite easily without losing the audience- if nothing else, they could have left the door open for flashbacks or something, but they cemented over their dubious interpretation of history. boiling it down to the essence of spiderman to the point where venom and carnage are dissolved and green goblin (not even hob! :anjou_angry:) and doctor octopus are thought of as viable and acceptable villains doesn’t please me.

the “planet of the symbiotes” 4 issue miniseries of the amazing spiderman was one of the most creative and surreal plotlines to grace the series. in the likely event that you don’t know what i’m talking about, lets just say that it involved spiderman and venom being pursued through a city by an enormous incarnation of carnage. now, that is something that would be incredible to see on the big screen.

until then… they have a couple of softcore action movies that teens can go see with their dates.