Mike Newell, best known for the Harry Potter series and Four Weddings and a Funeral, doesn't like videogames. He can't play them, he thinks they're vapid, and talking about them "bores the arse" off him. Didn't stop him from making a Prince of Persia movie, of course.
"I'm entirely incompetent at playing videogames," admits Newell. "In the Prince Of Persia game, you have to run across walls -- I could never get more than three feet without falling into the revolving knives. I was hopeless. And yet I knew I had to satisfy the gamers with the Prince Of Persia movie. It's an important audience and it's a very vocal audience. If they don't like something, you're going to hear. I didn't want that to happen."
Newell believes the Prince of Persia movie is good because it didn't try to copy the games themselves, which he says lack human drama: "You can't do it without the human drama. And the videogame cannot do that. The videogame can do all sorts of face-pulling, all sorts of: 'I am a bad man, I have a mean jagged sword,', but it can't do any more than that.
"... Don't get me wrong -- I watched the game and took many things from it. But I haven't had the experience of feeling in a game. The one thing I do not do when I watch my son mow down Brazilians by the regiment - nor when I watched my assistants playing Prince Of Persia -- I don't feel anything, which is why I hate my son doing it."
The general message appears to be that videogames are good for Hollywood to pilfer as templates, but that it takes a movie to breathe life into the concepts, something that games cannot do themselves. I can't say I fully agree with Newell, especially as I've gotten more emotional impact from games than from most movies made over the past five years, but that's just me. What do you think? Can games ever capture human drama, and more importantly ... was the Prince of Persia film more engaging than the game?
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