Let’s reach the heights of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
[Header image: Sorceress (1982)]
Video Game Movies. They rarely work out, right? Sometimes made as a quick straight-to-video cash-in, sometimes made with the best of intentions, either way they usually fail deliver an experience worthy of fan expectations, or their source material. Alone in the Dark, Dead or Alive, BloodRayne, Dead Rising, even Far Cry. It doesn’t matter if you cast Kevin Nash as Bass Armstrong, you probably should’ve just left well enough alone.
The problem here, all things considered, is that Hollywood isn’t coming to me for ideas. ‘Cos I got your pitch: Dragon’s Crown. Give me a couple of million dollars, a mound of the white stuff, and send me back to the early 1980’s and I’ll give you a movie based on Vanillaware’s RPG brawler that would’ve set the American box-office on fire.
We’ll get in Sybil Danning as Amazon, Julian Sands as Wizard and Maggie Cheung as Elf, or the shopkeeper, or anybody (I just want her in the movie). Recently-discovered megastar Arnie can play Fighter, which will give the whole shitflick some Hollywood gloss. For the villains, we’ll hire special effects genius Tom Savini to create a horrifying roster of beasts, monsters, and demons.
Roger Corman can executive produce, to guarantee Dragon’s Crown wraps in two weeks, well under-budget and missing a ton of vitally-important scenes. Then all that’s left is casting of the pivotal role of Sorceress… Hmm… I guess I gotta give it to Cassandra Peterson, better known to Z-list movie fans as the incomparable Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
Stick in a bucketful of gore and I reckon that’ll make for a pretty sweet 75 minutes on the silver screen, wouldn’t you agree? Krull would be bricking it come the Summer blockbuster season. Can you do better? of course you can. Let us know below what video games you think should be up there on the big screen. In the meantime, here are some ideas from the Destructoid crew.
Yes I know they tried to make a movie based on BioShock the game but they were wrong right from the start. The story of Jack Ryan’s return to Rapture is one that fits perfectly in the gaming medium as the whole “Would you kindly” twist wouldn’t work as well if it was for a non-playable character. So you’ve lost one of the biggest hooks of the story due to using the wrong medium. Also, the good ending (which let’s be honest would be the film one) to BioShock was ham-fisted and ended up in a bit too neat of a bow for my liking. So what do you do with the story ripe world of Rapture? Tell the tragic tale of how its creator so driven by his ambitions could gain so much, then lose it all.
Like all good movies, the best story would come from a book and ever since reading the prequel book BioShock: Rapture it’s the only version of the story I have wanted to been seen put to screen. It switches from character to character telling of how they all came down to the marvelous wonder under the sea and then shows how all of them died horrible deaths as their collective hubris came collapsing in around them. It also was published before BioShock: Infinite was allowed to come in and taint Rapture with its stink, so it has that going for it as well. Would it be a happy movie? No, but do you really want a happy ending to a BioShock movie? I think not.
I enjoy a good movie, but I don’t enjoy them nearly as much as games, so I honestly can’t think of any game I’d enjoy more if it were simply adapted into a movie. So instead of thinking of a traditional movie, I asked myself — what would make for a great documentary? Sometimes the impact games have on people’s lives can be as fascinating as the stories in games themselves. And for all that they’ve done to bring us together and tear us apart, I’m surprised there aren’t more documentaries based around party games, most of all Mario Party.
Shockingly consistent dice rolls breeding skepticism. Bowser spaces wreaking havoc on everyone except, ironically, the person who landed on it. Purposefully thrown minigames putting short leashes on a “teammate’s” Star conquest. The explosive arguments. The remorseful nights on the couch. The heartfelt apologies and reunions. Mario Party would make for an excellent film, not for its content itself, but how it molds our relationships with our loved ones.
Then first and last place swap stars from Chance Time and history repeats itself. They shoulda… shoulda maybe played Mouse Trap instead…
Occams Electric Toothbrush
Rule of Rose is a dark coming-of-age story involving a 19-year-old orphan named Jennifer as she recovers the forgotten memories of her childhood and remembers the people she knew at the Rose Garden Orphanage. Jumping back and forth between memory and reality, the game shifts into an almost dream-like state at times. Thematically, this game deals heavily in trauma. And guilt. And the evils perpetrated upon one another, especially how girls treat each other. I’ve always found this idea fascinating and the game did something with survival horror that I don’t think has been matched.
I see the movie as Lord of the Flies set in a 1930’s British orphanage starring pre-teen girls. The entire movie, except for a few key flashbacks, takes place in the Rose Garden Orphanage. It is a twisting, dark place. Burgundy upholstered furniture and mahogany walls draped in pale electric lights that flicker and struggle to stay on, groaning with an audible hum as if the building itself was crying. Her fellow orphans are cruel to the point of caricature, as Jennifer’s memories (much like our own) paint the story with such a specific brush. Before she was old enough to have the words of the truth, she created monsters to fill in the blanks. Representations of monsters and the monstrous acts she bore witness to that her young mind could process. These are the boogeymen that haunt the orphanage.
The whole story plays out as a phantasmagoria of horror and mystery. A soundtrack heavy on cello and piano to mimic the game’s incredible score. Ti West to direct.
There’s a lot of good that can come from this week’s theme. A Bad Dudes movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Rob Van Dam where Bam Margera plays the guy who is always on fire would be good. A Tomba movie where Brendan Fraser plays Tomba and the cast of Frasier plays the Evil Pigs would be even better.
But all things considered, my bets on a BurgerTime movie directed by David Cage, starring Nicholas Cage as Pepper Pete, Channing Tatum as the Hot Dog, Debra Messing as the Fried Egg, and Michael Cera as the Pickle. Better yet, the classic BurgerTime theme music would play on loop for the entirety of the film’s 140 minute run time.
As if that we’re enough bang for your buck, those who stick around for the post-credits scene will be treated to the sight of Karnov (played by Roman Burtsev, the man they dubbed “The Fat Russian Leonardo DiCaprio“) entering the fray, officially kicking off the Data East Cinematic Universe.
Some video games lend themselves well to the cinematic format. World of Warcraft, Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed, Hitman, Silent Hill; these are all gaming franchises that are absolutely ripe for a film adaptation and I hope one day some studio can turn those IPs into decent, or at the very least watchable, films. I’d also hope some studio — perhaps Toho, Shochiku Co., or Toei Company – could find a way to fund a feature film adaptation of one of the wildest, most colorful and eternally joyous games ever created: The Wonderful 101.
If you haven’t played The Wonderful 101, you’re what’s wrong with the world. It’s a superhero game with 100 superheroes, each with their own abilities and backstories, that is filled to the brim with fine action set-pieces and engaging storyline. Think of the cinematic marvel that would be seeing 100 distinct superheroes fighting against Operation 001-C. Or think of how cool the time-slowing mechanic of Wonder Black’s Unity Bomb would look on screen. Hell, think of the toys and spin-off potential.
The Wonderful 101 flew under too many radars, locked on a console that did as well. It was passed over and forgotten by the masses, despite being one of the most inventive titles of the past decade. If gamers can’t appreciate its brilliance, maybe moviegoers will.