Even though this year brought the most successful video game movie of all time with Legendary Pictures bringing Warcraft to the big screen, there still hasn’t really been a video game turned into a movie that has struck a chord with audiences and critics alike while also being a big hit at the box office. From the abysmal Super Mario Bros. in 1993 to more recent attempts such as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Max Payne, video game movies have a terrible track record. Now a new video essay attempts to explain why.
Here’s the video essay about why video game movies suck from The Film Guy:
Even if you like a few video game movies here and there, it’s hard to argue against the fact that most of them are pretty poorly received when they have an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 9.1%. It’s not clear which video game movies were included in that tally, but considering there aren’t many beloved titles out there adapted from video games, it’s not all that surprising.
The main problem that video game movies have, according to this video, is that video games are driven more by gameplay with the story just being what keeps the player moving through the game. But with films, it’s the story that does everything while audiences just sit and watch. It’s hard to translate the story elements of a video game, which may not be strong enough for a movie, and make it feel as engaging as the video game.
Beyond that, video game movies also have to live up to the visual representation that was put forth in the original games. This isn’t quite as worrisome when you’re bringing older games with less sophisticated graphics to the big screen, but bringing characters that we’ve only seen in 8-bit or 16-bit forms could also prove to be difficult to properly realize on films as well.
But perhaps the biggest hurdle that video game movies have is it’s hard to compete with the cinematic style that most video games have adapted nowadays. Video games are already starting to feel like movies that players control themselves, and when you take out the fun part of gameplay, you’re left with a movie that those gamers have already experienced, and it’s just not as satisfying.
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