So we’ve all heard the news. Well, at least those of us who are gamers have heard the news. It has been announced that Tom Hardy will play Sam Fisher in the upcoming Splinter Cell movie, which will be an adaptation of the video game many of us love. And then there’s the fact that there are Assassin’s Creed, Gears of War,and Metal Gear Solid. I have mixed opinions on this, and I’ll explain why.
Empirically, movies based off of video games have been garbage. The two franchises that are most prominent in my mind are Tomb Raider and Resident Evil, both of which have spawned terrible, terrible movies.
This guy as Sam Fisher? That could work….
See, the problem is, transferring one form of media to another doesn’t always work. That’s why, oftentimes, novelizations of movies aren’t really that great. There are also many occasions where books are turned into movies, and the movies simply cannot match the book. (This is an iffy example, I generally prefer the book, but some movies adapt the source material extremely well) I think that an example that is more close to home with video game movies, though, is games that are based on movies.
And I rarely torture myself through these. On the off chance that I do buy a game that is based off of a movie, I usually find it to be dull and boring. Which is often what movies based on video games turn out to be. These two types of media, more than almost anything else, should be compatible. In many, many ways, they are extremely similar.
The problem is, movies based on video games don’t excite the fan base enough. I am in no way excited to see either Assassin’s Creed or Gears of War (Both of which are awesome franchises) get turned into movies. The reason for this is that games are interactive. Movies aren’t. Why would I go sit through two hours of Ezio running across rooftops and assassinating people when I can do that from my couch? Sure, I know I’m not actually doing it, but it’s much more interesting to be controlling the character than simply watching him.
I’d rather play it than watch it any day.
Movies based on video games often fall short in almost every single area. One of the biggest issues with them is the actors. The actors are often subpar, and not very good. And that’s a problem for movies that are based around characters that we’re all already familiar with and may have forged a connection with through the video games. If good actors can’t be found to portray the characters we’ve come to love, why should we have hope in video game movies?
But here’s the catch. Tom Hardy is playing Sam Fisher. TOM HARDY. And that guy’s got some serious talent. He’s an A-List actor, not just some random, not very good actor like those in the Final Fantasy movies, for example. I mean,the guy was Bane. He’s worked with Christopher Nolan on more than one occasion, and, seriously, once you’ve made movies with that guy, there’s no going back to being some no name. And this gives me hope. Perhaps we’ll get some more decent actors to follow in some of the other video game movies.
The Hitman movie – a video game movie that succeeded in absolutely no way whatsoever
Another problem video game movies often face is budget. I get the feeling that a lot of these movies aren’t even expected to be good, so the studio doesn’t even bother pouring precious funds into it. The result is that the effects are subpar, and the movie doesn’t end up looking that great. I mean, come on, when a video game can create better effects than it’s movie counterpart, that is pretty sad.
And I know it’s not a movie, but a counter example is Halo: Forward Unto Dawn. The five episode mini series (That definitely should be watched as a movie) had a paltry budget. It was minuscule. The thing is, though, the producers made it work. They used the Covenant sparingly, and this actually made the series better. So a small budget can still make a good movie, if it’s used correctly.
Forward Unto Dawn did a great job, despite it’s laughably small budget
Which leads perfectly into my next point: the team that works on it. How good a movie is depends a lot on who’s helming it. Give me an Assassin’s Creed movie with Joss Whedon or Christopher Nolan in the director’s chair, and I’m in, hands down. There’s a whole list of directors that could handle these movies well, even with a small budget. The problem is, they often aren’t as interested in this area, especially since it’s been proven that video game movies don’t make much money or are all that good. So all the good directors keep their distance, while the rabble create movies based on games that we’ve come to love.
But I still feel conflicted. Because, honestly, there is a lot of potential for good movies in the gaming industry. Those good movies are there, the potential is there, but they have to be done right. They have to be executed extremely well, or they simply won’t hold up at all, both as a standalone movie or against the source material. Hopefully the new Splinter Cell changes my mind, and I sincerely hope that it will.