The video game movie, from “Mortal Kombat” to “Tomb Raider,” they’re famous film ventures, but for all the wrong reasons. Why are movies based on video games so awful?
The issue with making a film based off of a video game is that there is no possible way to replicate the gaming experience on the silver screen. People didn’t and still don’t play “Mortal Kombat” for the gripping story; they play it so they can rip out spines in a virtual world. Sure, the “Mortal Kombat” movie could show a fatality on screen, but that’s not the same as getting the feeling of doing it yourself after beating a sibling, friend or rival at the game.
That’s really the heart of the problem; fans want an experience that will expand the world of the game, but they also want to experience being in the game and making those choices for themselves. Especially in choice-based games like “Mass Effect” or the “Tell-Tale” series of games, choice is a tool the player can use to shape the world around them, and it makes their version of the world different from anyone else’s. Movies, by their very nature, strip away the aspect of choice, so no film can relate to the game the way every fan wants it to expand.
What’s the biggest issue with video game movies though? The answer lies in shady business practices by a little known director named Uwe Boll, a German filmmaker who made a living off of nearly exclusively making video game movies. He would purchase the film rights to games cheap, make the movie even cheaper and then rake in the cash from unsuspecting fan-bases.
So at the heart of the matter, people don’t usually try when making a video game movie. The ones that are made are made for a quick buck off of the fans. But there is good news: That trend is changing. Movies like “World of Warcraft” and “Assasin’s Creed” are not great movies, but they still show that video games are becoming a more respected medium to adapt from. Maybe one day fans will get to see the movie they’ve been hoping for.