Magazine article Metro Magazine

Let the Games Begin

Magazine article Metro Magazine

Let the Games Begin

Article excerpt

Uwe Boll is the Devil

Uwe Boll is the devil. It's a statement that can be taken as defamatory but this does not change the fact that it is true in the hearts and minds of gamers worldwide. Why is he the devil? House of the Dead (2003), Boll's first but unfortunately not last foray into the realm of videogame-to-film transpositions, ranks up there as undoubtedly the worst of its kind and also one of the worst films made in the last decade. Although it can be quite successfully argued that all of the films based on game franchises have been sub-par, with such awful examples as Street Fighter, Super Mario Brothers and Tomb Raider leading the way, House of the Dead is truly indicative of the problems facing the genre, as well as of the problems facing the games industry as a whole. To boil it down to the simplest of explanations, there is a marked lack of respect shown to the material by the vast majority of the mainstream press and, as a result, the general public.

It Has Begun

One need only to look in the direction of Hollywood at the moment to see that comics and computer games are the two major forms of media being optioned for film transpositions. Within the last decade we've seen titles such as Super Mario Brothers, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat (1&2) and Double Dragon. Aside from being movies based on incredibly successful gaming franchises, all of the aforementioned movies have one other thing in common: each of them suffered due to the fact that the filmmakers ignored what made the games popular in the first place and instead chose to simply use the name and some of the characters. Super Mario Brothers is a prime example of this phenomenon. Arguably one of the most recognizable game franchises of all time, Super Mario Brothers is about an overweight plumber in love with a princess who keeps getting kidnapped by his nemesis, the evil Bowser. To break the games down to their most base elements, they mostly involve Mario jumping on monsters' heads whilst trying to make it to the next level and one step closer to Princess Peach. The movie on the other hand ignored what all of the fans of the franchise knew and loved about the game and instead presented a garbled mess about two Brooklyn plumbers, a magical stone and an ultimate dimension ruled by anthropomorphic dinosaurs. Street Fighter is also an excellent example of the lack of respect given to the source material. Street Fighter the game never had much of a plot but has deep backgrounds and bios for all of the characters. Instead of using these backgrounds for the characters in the film, the filmmakers opted instead to rewrite the game history and characters, infuriating fans of the game, the core of their audience. In the film, Indian mystics were transformed into genetic scientists, heroic main characters were transformed into cowardly comic relief petty criminals, and an American soldier was transformed into a Belgian meathead. In the next two years we can expect to see Uwe Boll take the reins of Alone in The Dark and BloodRayne and other, more famous directors, such as John Woo, make game-to-movie transpositions such as Metroid, Tekken, Dead or Alive, Doom and Silent Hill.

Licence to Thrive

The major question that has to be asked is why the studios have optioned the game licences if they do not actually use the source material in anything but the most basic way. The answer is simple: audience. Making a movie based on a game licence brings with it a core audience--the fans of the game. Unfortunately this audience does not seem to be given any credit when it comes to intelligence or even taste. The common conception of gamers as an audience seems to be that they are willing to fork out their hard earned cash to see anything based on their favourite franchise. So far the theory has proved true more often than not. As games become more advanced so do the stories, so it will be interesting to see if future game movies will actually utilize the plots of the games or will continue the disrespectful trend of simply using the name and a few of the characters to effectively dupe the audience into forking out their cash. …

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