Wednesday, September 7, 2011

8 Bits: Eight Really Stupid Videogame Movie Ideas

Videogame movies, you probably hate them and probably have a good reason too. The good videogame movie is certainly not something we see every day, but it does happen from time to time. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Silent Hill movie, but that might just be me. Speaking of bad videogame movies though, there are some out there that could have been good, and then there's the ones that were doomed right from the original concept. These are the eight worst ideas that never should have been thought up for a videogame movie.

Notable Offenders:
House of the Dead (2003) Directed by Uwe Boll

We start of the list with Uwe Boll, because no videogame-movie list would be complete without him right? Well before Uwe became the punching bag of the industry he is today he made House of the Dead, his first videogame movie. Whether or not you think Uwe has improved over the years (I do) you can't deny that HotD was his worst and one of many reasons for this was his very odd decision to splice in footage of the actual HotD gamesin the middle of the movie.

Thankfully, Michael Hurst's sequel movie (which was arguably even worse than the original) had no in-game footage spliced into the movie. No videogame movie since HotD has done anything like this and let's hope it stays that way. If you want a videogame-ish experience in the middle of the movie, at least do it the Doom way and create a live-action first person scene, okay?

Notable Offenders:
Hitman (2007) Directed by Xavier Gens

Agent 47. A bald bad-ass who uses guns and other methods to subdue his enemies. Who'd be perfect for the role? Bruce Willis? Vin Diesel? Well none of them were chosen, instead we got Timothy Olyphant... Which did a really good job as Agent 47. So what's the problem? Well first of all, we got a reminder of how bad-ass Bruce Willis is in Die Hard 4 mere months before Hitman was released, but that's not all. the bad-guy in Die Hard 4 is played by Timothy Olyphant as well. Who does he play?

Olyphant plays a hacker who's a bit nerdy and in the end mostly a big wuss. Now I believe as anyone else should that an actor should not be bound by previous roles, but when a role like Thomas Gabriel is immediately followed by Agent 47, which according to many people would have been perfect for someone like Willis, you might want to push back the release a bit. Because it'll be hard to take it seriously. Some would say this is a minor issue, but I personally know people on this very site who could not shake the image of Gabriel when looking at Agent 47, and that's not a good thing.

Notable Offenders:
None, the movie was never made.

Before Paul W. S. Anderson came and ruined made his Resident Evil movies, there was the first project to put the Survival Horror masterpiece on the silver-screen led by George A. Romero himself. George had previously directed the japanese TV-ads for Resident Evil 2 and was on good terms with Capcom, he wrote a script based on the original 1996 Resident Evil game, here's the short version.

The STARS team of Raccoon City has taken shelter in an old mansion after being attacked in the forest, inside they find that there are living undead bodies that might have a connection to cases of cannibalism reported in during the last months, finally, STARS member Albert Wesker is revealed to be a traitor to the team and has led them there on purpose.

Doesn't that sound a lot like Resident Evil? It does to me. There were some differences though, Jill was the leader of Alpha Team rather than Wesker and Chris and Jill were apparently in a relationship. But those are minor changes compared to what we would get in 2002 when a Resident Evil movie finally saw the light of day. Now I don't know who turned down the script, I'm fairly sure it was done before Paul Anderson even had the idea of a Resident Evil movie, so I won't blame this on him, but he'll get what's coming to him later on...

Notable Offenders:
Alone in the Dark (2005) Directed by Uwe Boll

Wait. How can you make a movie based on the wrong game? Well allow me to explain. One of the most common complaints against Uwe Boll's Alone in the Dark is that it did not follow the plot of the game what-so-ever. This is however, a little incorrect. Alone in the Dark was a trilogy of games in the early 90's (Very good games I remind you) and in 2004 development began on a sequel to this trilogy. However, inbetween those games there was a different Alone in the Dark called Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. (From here on referred to as TNN)

TNN was an attempt at rebooting the franchise, it failed and was forgotten shortly thereafter. However, when Uwe got to see the early concepts for the upcoming Alone in the Dark game that was planned to release in 2005-06, he decided to make a movie based on the game, not having enough info on the plot for the upcoming game (it was in early development and was delayed until 2008) he went back to the latest game, TNN, and decided to make it a sequel to that game. The characterization of Edward Carnby along with his girlfriend Aline Cedric are both directly taken from TNN.

In other words, the 2005 Alone in the Dark movie was meant to be a tie-in to a game that had no connection to the game the movie itself was based on. How could this have been avoided? Well had Atari even mentioned the decision to retcon TNN before 2007 there might not have been such confusion. Today, people still think the 2008 game is based on the movie even though it had no connection the movie just as the movie itself had no connection to the original trilogy of games. Are you confused yet? This is what happens when people don't talk to eachother.

Notable Offenders:
Super Mario Bros. (1993) Directed by Rocky Morton, Annabel Jankel, Roland Joffé and Dean Semler.

EVERYONE who've seen this movie knew this would be on here. Even if the movie itself holds a campy-place in my heart, I can not deny the complete idiocy in the concept of taking Super Mario Bros. and tossing them into a different dimension that looks like a cross between Highlander II's future and the world of Blade Runner through a Alice in Wonderland'ish rabbit-hole. Seriously? Not only is there nothing the game suggesting something like that happened to the two plumber brothers, but no sane human being should suggest that to begin with.

I guess having four different directors could be a way for the movie to go this way, but even in that case it seems like a too pieced together to be the fault of too many creative minds. The Super Mario Bros. movie is probably the reason Nintendo will never allow for a proper Zelda movie, and to be honest, maybe that's for the better. Imagine what hollywood might do to Link if they had their hands on him, they'd probably turn him into Shia LaBeouf!

Notable Offenders:
Resident Evil (2002) Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

At first, this was not meant to be on the list, then I remember when Milla Jovovich explained the creation of Alice in an interview earlier this year. Okay, listen here. Milla is a Resident Evil fan, so she approached her husband Paul about making a Resident Evil movie. She wanted to play Jill Valentine. What was Paul's response? Well, we don't know word for word, but based on the explanation given to us by Milla herself, it went something like this: The characters of Resident Evil are not famous enough Milla, we need to create a new character so that the movie goes can relate to the story. They don't know who Jill is, so we can't have that.

Think about that for a minute. Yep, it makes no logical sense at all. Not only would the characters still be "new" since it's the first in a movie series but the only thing tossing them away for this reason does it alienate a fanbase and make the movie-goers misunderstand what Resident Evil was originally about. I'm all for creative freedom, but when the reasoning is as stupid as this is, there's no excuse. Personal hatred for the movies aside, this was just a dumb choice as he outright admits to not making a Resident Evil movie, but instead a movie where his wife can jump around doing silly action-stunts half-naked just because he can. Which is fine, but then don't call it Resident Evil.

Notable Offenders:
Kane & Lynch (2013) Directed by F. Gary Grey
Alone in the Dark II (2009) Directed by Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer

Okay, I'm not trying to be racist here. But let's face facts. Lynch is a white, old, fat, redneck asshole. He's a relic of an old time and he's realistically portrayed as such. That's not a character you can cast a young, black, handsome rapper in. Okay? Let's reverse it, let's say we make a remake of Shaft starring Jason Statham. Would that work? No. Because Shaft is grounded in a reality that makes the character certain things, and one of them is being black. Now if it's a minor character I can understand, but when it comes to a main character like Lynch is it won't work.

Especially with a perfect casting as Bruce Willis as Kane making the decision even odder. Now I realise I'm sounding racist, but I hope you understand where I'm going with this. Some characters are white, some are black, some are asian and you can't just pick and choose. I have not seen Foxx as an actor, so I can not speak for his talent, but whether or not he can pull off Lynch is a question of looks, and I'm pretty sure he don't want to turn a Michael Jackson just so he can play a loser in a movie based on two games that have not even been that successful.

I wrote up AitD2 as well, not because Jamie Foxx is playing Lynch in it, but because Rick Yune plays Edward Carnby. The same character Christian Slater played in the original. It brings up horrible continuity-issues along with the already established character-traits being messed up. I'm going to stop now, before I dig myself even lower. If anyone was offended, I do deeply apologize, really.

Notable Offenders:
Max Payne (2008) Directed by John Moore
Resident Evil Series (2002-2012) Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Without doubt the worst offence is deciding that you don't need to play the game you're adapting. We have the infamous quote of Paul Anderson saying that directors who don't play games should not direct game movies when he himself have admitted to not finding time to play the Resident Evil games and instead just listens in on his council of professional gamers who plays the games for him. Even the Max Payne adaptation had this issue with not even the lead actor Mark Whalberg playing any of the two games to get into character or the know more about what was going on.

I'm not saying you need to directly adapt something as it originally is, plenty of good adaptations has been made with plenty of freedom such as Conan The Barbarian or The Dark Knight. But you need to know the roots before you try to grow the plant further, and this is something people need to learn. I wanted to list more people not playing the games, but let's face it, not many would admit to not playing games. Directors like Christophe Gans (Silent Hill), James Wan (upcoming Castlevania) and hell, even Uwe Boll has proved their gaming-love from time to time, but we need the more mainstream directors to get in on it, and who knows, maybe James Wan's Castlevania will be just that.

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