Will Game To Movie Adaptations Ever Work?

Written by Luke Riley

“There have been valiant attempts (Mortal Kombat, Hitman) and there are upcoming releases that should do the trick (Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed) but the inherent problem is translating an interactive medium to a passive one. What makes games fun is playing them not just watching them. A ‘Gears of War’ movie would rock though…”

Carlos Ferro

Carlos Ferro

I was fortunate enough to be able to contact Carlos Ferro – voice of Dom from ‘Gears of War’ and Da Vinci from ‘Assassin’s Creed’ – who raised a very good point. He highlights the obvious thing that Hollywood seems to forget. The objective is for two different mediums to tell the same story or evoke the same feelings to remind you why you’re a fan.

The easy example – for it is one of the very few good examples – is ‘Mortal Kombat’. Released in 1995, this wasn’t made to be a fighting video game with real actors but a fighting movie based on a video game. As an eight year old in 1995, this movie was the dream. Endless fighting, four armed warriors and a final fight above a floor of spikes. Also let us not forget the amazing theme tune, which is the perfect accompaniment to any gym session. If we’re counting animated movies then ‘Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within’ and ‘Final Fantasy: Advent Children’ can also be counted among the well made adaptions from video games.

What these movies have done well was to be a movie, not just a video game thrown onto the silver screen. Not to discredit video games, as I am a huge fan of gaming, but certain things quite simply don’t translate effectively. Video games are notorious for badly scripted dialogue, cliche male characters and female characters who don’t represent women very well. Actually, a lot of movies, particularly action movies, do these things as well, but there’s a reason games have the reputation they do. ‘Lara Croft’ was originally little more than a 90s pin-up, sprawled over countless magazines in various poses. She wasn’t the strong survivor of the recent ‘Tomb Raider’ video game reboots. This is the reason we get movies like ‘Resident Evil’, another series of bad adaptions. A movie franchise in which the female lead is very often scantily-clad and objectified is a clear sign that Hollywood presumed that their target audience was teenage virgins who live in their parents basement who’ve never seen a woman in real life.

This article is discussing why video games have rarely enjoyed successful adaptions into films, and the answer is simple; it’s because the creators have not understood or respected their audience. I have played video games for nearly 30 years now, and while the confused teen-in-denial version of myself may have enjoyed Angelina Jolie as ‘Lara Croft’, the adult me does not. It’s just a poorly made film, and if you count the even more dreadful sequel, then you have a double whammy of awful game to film translations. The reason is almost solely down to misunderstanding the audience. We have played the games, we know them, so what we want is a faithful adaption of that.

‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Harry Potter’, while these were adaptions of books, they were movies adapted from another medium and are evidence of just how successful and accomplished an adaptation can be. Video games deserve that same talent and passion behind their silver screen counterparts.

However, all is not lost, and to quote Gandalf, “Hope is kindled”. This being in the form of the upcoming ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and ‘Warcraft’ films. With stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard at the fore – actors who seem to attach themselves exclusively to movies of merit – ‘Assassin’s Creed’ should be a success. It’s also written by Bill Collage and Adam Cooper, who have previously worked on ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’.

This humble writer enjoyed ‘Exodus’ quite a lot, and these writers seem like a good fit for me. Justin Kurzel is the director of the critically acclaimed ‘Macbeth’, which also stars Fassbender and Cotillard, so with this collaboration there seems to be a level of trust and all things point to a positive movie going experience. There is also news that the film will rely more on practical effects rather than CGI, which will give ‘Assassin’s Creed’ a level of authenticity rarely seen in historically-based movies.

a-creed-warcraft

Then there is ‘Warcraft’, a movie that looks as epic as the video game and it seems nothing is being held back in order to recreate this. Duncan Jones is directing, and with credits including ‘Source Code’ and ‘Moon’, we know he understands action and more importantly characters. While the movie is CGI-laden, it looks like it will be character focused and give meaning behind their motives. It also looks like an adaption of a video game, which is the most important thing. As previously said, it’s not just a video game thrown onto the silver screen. Check out the trailer for ‘Warcraft’ here.

The future looks good for video game adaptions, but we’ll have to see how ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and ‘Warcraft’ fare. It feels like all hope hinges on these two adaptions of beloved franchises. Can anyone unlock the secret to successfully adapting a video game onto the big screen? Only time will tell…

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The JumpCut UK Film Awards 2015: The Nominees

After weeks of agonising over the films of 2015, our esteemed panel have finally submitted their picks for the first annual JumpCut UK Film Awards. The votes have been counted and the nominees are…


actors
Best Support Actress
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Kristen Stewart (Clouds Of Sils Maria)
Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Best Support Actor
Benicio del Toro (Sicario)
Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation)
JK Simmons (Whiplash)
Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
Best Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emily Blunt (Sicario)
Olivia Cooke (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Best Lead Actor
Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation)
Jason Segel (The End Of The Tour)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Miles Teller (Whiplash)
Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress
Abraham Attah
Alicia Vikander
Daisy Ridley
O’Shea Jackson Jr
Taron Egerton
Worst Acting Performance
Adam Sandler (Pixels)
Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys)
Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
Johnny Depp (Mortdecai)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World)

 

technical

Best Director
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Best Original Story
Ex Machina
Inside Out
The Gift
The Lobster
Whiplash
Best Adaptation
American Sniper
Macbeth
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Steve Jobs
The Martian
Best Cinematography
American Sniper
Macbeth
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian

 

Best Editing
Birdman
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Whiplash
Best Soundtrack/Score
Dope
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Whiplash
Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

genre

Best Action Film
American Sniper
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Best Comedy Film
Inside Out
Spy
The Lobster
The Night Before
Trainwreck
Best Drama Film
Carol
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Straight Outta Compton
Whiplash
White God
Best Horror Film
Crimson Peak
Insidious: Chapter 3
It Follows
The Gift
Best Sci-Fi Film
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

 

Best Documentary, Foreign, Indie or Short Film
Cobain: Montage Of Heck
The End Of The Tour
Kung Fury
The Lobster
World Of Tomorrow
Worst Sequel/Reboot
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Taken 3
Terminator Genisys
Vacation
Worst Film
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Pan
Paul Blart 2
Pixels
Vacation
Best Film
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian
Whiplash

miscellaneous

The “Guilty Pleasure” Award
American Ultra
Focus
San Andreas
Ted 2
The Interview

 

 

 

 



So there you have it – 24 categories with lots of films and individuals to celebrate. We will be opening up the voting to the public for the following categories: Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress, Worst Film and Best Trailer, and you can cast your vote here (voting closes 31st December). The rest of the categories will be decided by the JumpCut UK team, our official partners and a handful of expert guests, with all the winners announced on our special YouTube Awards Show at the end of January. 

Watch This Space: September 28 – October 4

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

This week’s sees the release of TWO of our most anticipated films of the year. First up, if you’re a Sci-Fi fan, the annual, mandatory, lost in space film lands on Wednesday. Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ has an out of this world cast (get it), including Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Get our verdict here.

And then, on Friday, swap futuristic spaceships for swords and Shakespeare with ‘Macbeth’. The idea of this one has really grown on us lately, and after watching the epic trailer, we are confident this will be a bloody, enthralling retelling of this classic tale. We could well see some Oscar nominations for this film too, if Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard pull out the performances we know they’re capable of. Get our verdict here.

ON THE TV

Monday 21:00 GMT: ITV2 are showing one of the all time greats on Monday night. We may have recommended you watch it before, but ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is certainly worthy of our persistent attempts to push you in its direction.

Thursday 22:15 GMT: The Rugby World Cup is in full swing, and although South Africa may have suffered the ignominy of losing to Japan in what people are saying is the biggest upset of all time, the country has an important history associated with the competition. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon star in ‘Invictus’ on ITV4, the biographical drama about Nelson Mandela’s ambition to use the tournament to bring a divided nation together.

Friday 21:00 GMT: The first instalment of the recent reboot of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise is on E4 on Friday night. A star-studded cast under the direction of JJ Abrams in a sci-movie, sound familiar? Why not get a feel for Abrams style when it comes to all things intergalactic, and get excited for his Star Wars offering coming later this year.

Saturday 14:45 GMT: A children’s animated film that you might not have seen is ‘The Iron Giant’, showing on Film4. Filled with political allegory and social commentary for the adults to enjoy, and stunning visuals and excitement aplenty for the children, it’s the perfect way to spend your Saturday afternoon.

Sunday 21:00  GMT: The honour of being this week’s Sunday night recommendation is bestowed upon war classic ‘Apocalypse Now’. With a brilliant cast featuring Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford and Martin Sheen, this wonderful achievement in cinema wowed critics and fans alike at the time of its release in 1979, and still continues to do so now. Don’t miss this on ITV4.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Memento: With the likes of ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Inception’ already to his name, it would appear that Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. One of his earliest films in the directing chair was the mind-bending ‘Memento’, starring Guy Pearce as Leonard, who is trying to solve the murder of his wife, but is hindered by short-term memory loss. He therefore has to come up with an ingenious method to retain the knowledge he gains in order to track down the killer. This is a thriller by definition, without the explosions. It’s more subtle and clever and will have you guessing and thinking all the way through, and for days afterwards as well.

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: Confession time – I haven’t actually seen this one myself yet. But before you rise in protest, I’m advocating this film because I too will be digging it out this week and I want you all to join me so we can have a discussion about it. See, that’s nice, right? After Benicio del Toro’s gripping performance in ‘Sicario’, I have to see more of his work, and ‘Fear And Loathing’ seems like a good place to start. Generally adored by film fans, and lamented by critics, which side will you fall on?

Due Date: One of my favourite comedy actors, Zach Galifianakis, celebrates his birthday this Thursday. Since his big break in ‘The Hangover’, this portly, bearded guy has taken over the world and is arguably the funniest man around. My favourite film of his is ‘Due Date’, where Zach and Robert Downey Jr endure a road trip like no other. Not everyone is a fan of this film, but I literally laugh every minute and love the chemistry between the lead roles. If you enjoy a spot of silly humour, raise your popcorn on Thursday and say happy birthday Zach, thanks for the laughs.

Rain Man: Tom Cruise is not an actor that I like, at all. However, he is one of the stars of the show in Rain Man. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman play the estranged Babbitt brothers, the latter of whom has severe autism. Hoffman’s performance is one of the best I have ever seen and his portrayal of Raymond is enough to make grown men cry. You have been warned.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Nick Deal and Jakob Lewis Barnes.

Watch This Space: June 8 – 14

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

The day has finally come. After moths of waiting, and an unrelenting series of trailers/teasers, ‘Jurassic World’ is here. Colin Trevorrow’s relaunch of the iconic series promises terror, action and wonder aplenty. Advanced screening reviews are tending to be almost unanimous in the belief that this is the sequel that the original truly deserves, despite there being a hiatus on reviews containing plot spoilers. Get yourself along to the cinema and experience the wonder of being a child all over again, in what people are tipping to be the hottest blockbuster of the year. 

A slightly unusual film is also released in UK cinemas this week in the form of musical ‘London Road’. The plot follows the struggles of a local community in Ipswich after their quiet community is shattered by a series of murders. A story based on the real events of 2006, this film is an adaptation of the very successful West-End musical, and the original cast star alongside two of Britain’s finest actors in Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman. This film has already gone down well with critics so we’d expect this to definitely be worth a trip to the big screen. 

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 22:45 GMT: With Colin Trevorrow’s dinosaur-filled blockbuster hitting cinemas this week, seeing another of his feature length films in ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ on Film4 sounds like a good idea. This film is regarded as grossly underrated by the film industry and its fans, and we admit it has passed us by util now. So we’re going to sit down with you and watch this for the first time as well! 

Wednesday 23:10 GMT: Cinema at its dark and sordid best here in ‘Shame’ on Film4 this week. Michael Fassbender is the main man, playing a sex-crazed New York executive and Carey Mulligan stars alongside him as his sister. A particularly sexually graphic film that will have you recoiling in horror at one man’s path towards self-destruction.

Friday 23:10 GMT: The Colin Farrell remake may have been an absolute travesty, but the 1990 version of ‘Total Recall’ with Arnie is the perfect, action packed, sci-fi thriller on ITV.

Sunday 15:40 GMT: George Miller isn’t just into car chases and mad men, he also loves all singing, all dancing penguins. See the proof with ‘Happy Feet’ on ITV2.

Sunday 21:00 GMT: Whilst ‘Age Of Ultron’ may have disappointed upon release earlier this year, you can see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in style with ‘Iron Man’ on Film4. 

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Romeo + Juliet: With the epic trailer for ‘Macbeth’ landing last week, we thought it apt to forage into the Shakespearean collection for more. Starring the impeccable Leonardo DiCaprio, and Claire Danes (Homeland), this is a stunning modernisation of the ultimate romantic tale. A reimagining perfectly brought to life by the master of contemporary/classical contrasts – Baz Luhrmann.

The Green Mile: We each had a go at putting together a list of our top 50 films of all time last week. The result of hours of gruelling decision making, was two lists with a diverse range of films on both sides. But one film which stands out as being a must see, is Tom Hanks’ brilliant depiction of a death row officer. If you haven’t seen it already, get ready for a heartbreaking yet magical story. One of the only films which never fails to send me to tears.

Black Swan: What better way to celebrate Natalie Portman’s upcoming birthday this week ,then to relive arguably her best ever performance. ‘Black Swan’ is a truly wonderful cinematic experience, with an utterly mesmerising soundtrack. A film that investigates personal ambition and the lengths that someone will go to to live out their dream. Haunting and disturbing, this psychological thriller is not for the faint-hearted, but it is one of our favourite films so we recommend you get your hands on a copy and get watching! 

Pan’s Labyrinth: Following Barcelona’s victory in the UEFA Champions League at the weekend, we thought it would be appropriate to dig out one of Spain’s more notable cinematic contributions. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is dark and twisted retelling of the Spanish Civil War from the viewpoint of a small girl with a vivid imagination. This film is as violent as it is disturbing and unsettling, but we recommend it all the same. 

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal