Video games can tell amazing stories. From the heart wrenching and post-apocalyptic story of Naught Dog’s The Last of Us to Undertale’s confusing lore, it seems obvious that filmmakers should be making films based off of those games. But there aren’t as many of these films as most would think.
Wheeler Winston Dixon, a professor of film studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says, “There's a very simple reason that nearly all video game movies fail; they're not interactive” (Bowles). This interactivity is why comic and book adaptations have good reviews. They place you in someone’s else’s perspective and lead you in a linear fashion. Video games don’t do that. You are the actor, director, and producer. You control what they do and how they do it. Removing that takes away the fun of video games.
But there are all films that were incredibly successful. Paul W.S Anderson’s Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil series were fairly successful with Mortal Kombat staying on box-office charts for three whole weeks. Resident Evil has grossed over one billion dollars over its six films and was an international hit (Couch).
Yet critics still pass off these as failures.
I sat at home one day and looked up a few movies to watch. There was a film that I haven’t heard of yet, Max Payne. So I decided to watch it as I have watched a let’s play (For those of you who don’t know a “Let’s Play” is a type of video where people watch other people play video games) on the first game. I thought that “Hey! Max Payne was a great game, so if it became a film it better be good.”. I was slightly disappointed (I watched this several months ago so details are fuzzy). Max wasn’t like Max. He seemed so drab and boring. There was so little character development in any of them. That there were supernatural elements even though there was never any in the games.
In conclusion, if the people want good films from video games, then the filmmakers, game companies, and fans must work together to get what the fans want and to get the critics to like it. Directors and producers should at the very least stick to the game’s story, or at the very least its basic lore. Even though the feel of control is taken away, a film adaptation could simply tell a story about a mainly unknown character. The filmmakers want to make money and earn recognition, the game company wants to make the fans happy while earning their fair share, and the fans simply want the movie to be fantastic.