Following the success of Sonic The Hedgehog at the cinema a reader makes suggestions for four more video game movies.
So, Sonic The Hedgehog, of all things, looks to be the highest-grossing video game movie of all time and the secret to its success is… 90s nostalgia and coming out at a quiet time of the year when there weren’t many other kids films out? Not exactly the most cunning secret to blockbuster success, is it? Especially when the most potent 90s nostalgia is the return of Jim Carrey rather than Sonic himself.
But the movie is fine. Not as good as Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, which in turn was still not that great, but at least they’re both functioning movies that don’t make you think that everybody involved has a) never played a video game before in their life b) never made a movie before in their life. Which pretty much sums up the rest of video game movies.
Since there is some sign of progress, I thought I’d come up with this short list of the games that do have some promise for being turned into a movie. Whether it’ll ever happen though, who knows…
The Legend Of Zelda
For some reason whenever anyone talks about possible Nintendo movies the two that come up the most are Mario (which, of course, already has a film) and Metroid. Despite the fact that Mario’s story and world is surreal nonsense (it’s fine for the game but not for a movie) and Metroid doesn’t have any speaking characters (I think we’d all like to forget Adam). Zelda though is a relatively straightforward fantasy adventures, with a large cast of articulate villains and allies. Sure, Link doesn’t speak but this would be a way to let him, and give him a personality, without spoiling the immersion of the games. In other words, there’d be an actual point to turning it into a film.
In previous years Zelda hasn’t been as big a name, but Breath Of The Wild has given it a real boost so now is the best chance there’s been for a movie (or Netflix show, I don’t really care which). My preference would be for a CGI animation, but then I’d say that for most of these as to my mind that keeps a connection to the source material that’s lost when you’ve just got someone wandering around in Lara Croft cosplay.
Now, don’t groan but I think this could actually work. The obvious problem with Fortnite is that it doesn’t have any well-known characters or story but I think the way to do it is to have some ordinary players sucked into the world as if it was real, like the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon or something. Hijinks would obvious ensue but if they had the nerve there’d also be the opportunity to make a serious point: that pretending to shoot people 24 hours a day is not the healthiest of fantasies.
With a decent script and actors I think it could work well, without being too preachy, and would actually add some kind of purpose to these films, beyond just: look, someone dressed up as one of your favourite characters acting nothing like they do in the games.
The weird thing about Overwatch it has a really complex lore, with every character having a really involved backstory, but absolutely none of that is in the games. I’ve picked up some of it just by being a fan but there’s a lot of stuff that could make for good stories and a good film. And again, there’d be an actual purpose to it. It wouldn’t just be trying to copy a few scenes from the game (it can’t, it’s a multiplayer game) but would be offering a proper story and characterisation where even quite dedicated fans might not know the details.
You’d have to narrow the group of main characters down a lot but I don’t see that as a problem as a lot of them are interlinked, so you just pick a group like Brigitte and her clan or Tracer and Widowmaker and you’ve still got yourself plenty of scope for a sequel.
There are lots of problems with suggesting games with a complex story for turning into a movie, not least of which is that a story game can run anything from 12 hours to 60+ and often times they’re heavily based on an existing film. There’s no point in Uncharted or GTA because they already rip off tons of movies that already exist. Which is fine in the context of a game but not when you want to turn it back into being a film.
Half-Life borrows a lot from Aliens and other 80s and 90s sci-fi action films but most of it isn’t very specific. More importantly, and again I think this is the key for all these choices, there’d be an actual point to the film because it could distil the story down into a more digestible form and may even be the most obvious way to set up a third game. I’d consider Half-Life 2 to be one of my favourite games ever, but I’ll be honest, I’m a little hazy as to what exactly is going on in the story, especially the details and stuff that was just hinted at. Make a movie though and I can catch back up and then look forward to a new game.
By reader Ansel
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