At the time that I’m writing this, Resident Evil: Retribution 3D will be coming out this Friday in theaters all over. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D will be following about a month from now on October 26. There are also talks floating around in the news that there are plans for a Metal Gear Solid film, Uncharted film, and an Assassin’s Creed film.
Needless to say, the track record for many video game-to-film adaptations is not very good. It seems like for every decent one that’s made, there are at least 2-3 crappy ones to follow. I can understand how they go wrong, but it always baffles me because it doesn’t always need to be that way. Video game-to-film adaptations can be done if you go the right direction with it. If Hollywood can pull off book-to-film adaptations, I feel like there shouldn’t be an excuse why video games can’t be done.
We’ve had many video game-to-film adaptations over the years and I’m quite surprised at some of the games that have been overlooked. That’s what this highly opinionated article is all about. However, I won’t just go into which video games I think should be given a chance in film; I’ll also talk about a possible reason or two they could falter. So, let’s get to it. I’ll start us off with a bang:
Game #1: Devil May Cry
This is probably the biggest surprise to me because the Devil May Cry games have pretty much everything action films are made off: over-the-top stylized action, one-liners, sexy women, guns, some explosions here and there, ect. I could keep going on with this.
If they did do a film based off of the series, I’d personally want them to deal with Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening. Firstly because it’s an origin story for the most part. It’s not entirely an origin because it doesn’t delve too much into Dante and Vergil’s past, but that could be solved easily with flashback scenes here and there. It also has the most interesting story out of the original four games and, quite frankly, the best villains so far–ones that actually have an interesting motive for the most part. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t want to see Jester on the big screen. The guy was hilarious. Dante’s Awakening also has the the best leading lady in my opinion (translation: Lady is a sexy BAMF).
I also have ideas on who could direct the film and who could play Dante. As far as directors go, I can think of only one person at the moment–Ryuhei Kitamura. There’s only one film you need to see that could verify to you of why I picked him: Versus. That film may be lacking in plot for the most part, but the action is pretty much there (the action choreographer for Versus was the action choreographer for Devil May Cry 3 by the way).
Speaking of Versus, one of my Dante picks is right there in the film: Tak Sakaguchi. I don’t know if he knows English, but if he does then he’s a surefire pick. If you look at him in Versus, he pretty much looks just like Dante. My other pick would be Reuben Langdon–the guy who actually plays Dante in the games–mainly because he does all the motion capture work (like the martial arts for example) and he’s the voice. Also, he kind of looks like Dante too.
Devil May Cry just pretty much screams action film right from the start. I just feel like it fits so perfectly with what audiences go for when they watch those types of films.
What Could Go Wrong?
If they decide to make a film in the future, but base it off of the upcoming DmC game. This is a high probability because the upcoming game is more Western-like than the original games. However, there still is a large amount of negative reception toward that game. Unless the reception cools down after the release of DmC, it would be rather wise for Hollywood to keep away from that route if they also want to please the fanbase with a possible film.
UPDATE WHILE WRITING THIS ARTICLE:
Just to show that I don’t always pay attention to things, I just found out that a film on Devil May Cry is in the works (or at least the rights were bought for one) and it is being based off of the upcoming DmC game. Here’s the link…from 2011 (*facepalm*). However, I’ll still leave the above paragraphs up as I kind of like my ideas and also because I haven’t been able to find any news besides that news article. Feel free to let me know if there is anything else on this supposed DmC film.
Game #2: Legacy of Kain
It may not seem that special anymore, but the Legacy of Kain series was quite unique when it came out in 1996. Outside of the typical RPG at the time, the series was one of the first that brought to home consoles a very intricate, compelling, and complex story and a well-rounded voice cast of the highest caliber. The story of the series pretty much dealt with very philosophical ideas like the concepts of fate and destiny and a person’s free will. Not to mention there are vampires–kick ass vampires. Vampires, sorcerers, and dark forces waging battle on each other.
As far as what I would go for in a film, I’d make the choice of doing one on Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen. In this game, the story focuses on a vampire-turned noble named Kain who is murdered by thugs and brought back to life by the necromancer Mortanius. After killing his murderers, he is told that they were only instruments and that he must seek out the Pillars of Nosgoth (the source of Nosgoth’s life and prosperity) to find his answers. There is more to the story, of course, but I’m not even willing to go into all the details of how the story pans out.
The series may not have the same type of appeal as other video game-to-film adaptations, but there have been a slight increase in horror/action styled movies to date and as far as video game-to-film adaptations, I’d like to see filmmakers tackle a game of a more intelligent caliber. It’s not like the film audience doesn’t appreciate a complex story from time to time. We all go see Christopher Nolan films.
What Could Go Wrong?
Honestly, if filmmakers did a film of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver first. It’s very probable because it’s this game that made the series popular–mainly because of the introduction of Raziel, a former acolyte of Kain who was turned into a vampire wraith. Most of the series has revolved specifically around his character and his struggles for revenge and to find the answers to his actual purpose. However, I find that the story is far too complex to really skip over the events of Blood Omen.
Say this franchise were made into a film series by some stroke of luck and careful planning. There are events from Blood Omen that find themselves being alluded to or at least mentioned throughout Raziel’s journey. Without any knowledge setup, starting off with Raziel would prove drastically confusing. I know this as I’ve never played Blood Omen, but I’ve played all games in Raziel’s storyline. I found myself confused during some of the cutscenes and such.
Pretty much, it’s about being careful and having a filmmaker really think about the choices. This is a title where you really can’t go the typical route that people would expect.
Game #3: Bioshock
This is pretty much my ultimate pick for a really artsy type video game film. I mean, the damn game is the Xbox 360 winner of The Art of Video Games exhibit that the Smithsonian Institute cooked up for display at the Smithsonian (which, by the way, will cease on September 30).
I do realize that a film of this game has been brought up and has been worked on in the past. Gore Verbinski, who you all may know from Pirates of the Caribbean films, would have produced it and the film was expected to have a “hard R” rating which ultimately hindered the film’s progress.
I do expect that the film would be rated R. A “hard R” though I don’t think is quite necessary. I will go on record to say that I haven’t played the game, but I have read the synopsis of the first game. Honestly, I think this film could work as a mystery film with some action thrown in (it’s a first-person shooter…it needs some in there). Much of the film could be based around Jack trying to figure out what exactly happened at Rapture that led to how it came to be at the time of his arrival, the deal with the ADAM plasmid, and Jack’s past. I expect that the action would come more during the final moments as Jack tries to stop Fontaine.
Given the film’s story, the art style inspired by Art Deco, and the idea of having the film as a mystery, it would almost be film noir-ish. Film noir is always cool and I think it would make for an interesting way to take a film adaptation.
What Could Go Wrong?
Remember when I mentioned that the film would be mystery WITH some action thrown in? That could be a problem if not dealt with carefully. It’s more of a problem because the two styles are very different from each other and, if not combined in a careful, careful manner, the film would seem to have two styles completely different from each other–almost like if you were watching two different films–and that throw off the whole balance of the film.
I’m not saying it can’t be done. Films have managed to mesh several genres together successfully (Star Wars for example), but the two styles I mentioned to use in Bioshock would have to converge into each other really carefully so as not to throw off any balance in the film and confuse the audience.
Game #4: Fallout
I mainly placed this one on the list because of the story: I think it’s a really good, gritty story to have for a film (and since we’re in a time where people want to make gritty films…more power to Fallout). Once again, I’d be talking about doing a film based on the events that happened in the first game.
If you’re not familiar, I’ll paint the picture real quick for you: Basically, from 2052 to 2077, the world is at odds with each other over basic resources–like oil–and are at each other’s throats. Countries invade each other, countries fight, countries use other country’s resources; it’s pretty much a big mess. Well, it all culminates in a nuclear holocaust event that wipes out pretty much all of the major cities in a matter of hours. The game starts you off in the year 2161 where you play “the Vault Dweller”, a resident of Vault 13 in southern Cali. The major threats that you deal with are a lack of water supply for the vault and the fact that there are mutants who are threatening to release a bio-weapon to turn people into mutants and create “The Unity.”
Pretty film-worthy, huh? I think it also speaks on a more universal term to people than most video games because, despite the fact that there are mutants in it, the setup is rather realistic. It’s not like people aren’t faced with the thought that events presented in the game’s setup can’t happen.
As far as what or how I think the game would translate out into film, I often think the film would look a bit like The Book of Eli as far as artistic look goes.
What Could Go Wrong?
The film has the setup to be an action/sci-fi film through and through, but don’t do that. Seeing as how the I said the nuclear holocaust and war over resources presented in the game is a very universal setup, use that for a film focus. Really show how the after-effects of this war that happened years ago has taken the toll on the people. The game already presents this through the use of time limits. For instance, the player at the start of the game has about four months before water supplies run out. The mutants could be portrayed as being a possible solution to the wearied people in some way in the fact that they are to create “The Unity” which is depicted a a perfect world for all those who join with them.
There might need to be some little tweaks to the plot line to pull this off (at least I think so). I know not everyone likes it when directors to that, but if they’re just small edits that make the film turn out better in the long run, I don’t think it’d be so bad. But, once again……..opinion.
Simply put…don’t make this some full-blown action film. Just because it has the capacity to be one does not mean it should be the final decision.
Game #5: Onimusha
This is another one that has been in talks to be a film (like Devil May Cry), but has been stuck in development hell for quite awhile. In a nutshell, I do like most of what I saw that the producers had planned. I think, perhaps, the love story that they were planning on weaving into the film–had it been made–would’ve been unnecessary. I’m not saying there wasn’t one as it was hinted at that Kaede and Samanosuke did have feelings for each other, but I would keep it a bit more subtle so it wouldn’t come off as being cheesy and misplaced within the story’s context of oni-samurai fighting demons.
Takeshi Kaneshiro NEEDS to play Samanosuke; there is no argument there. He played the part in the video games (likeness, motion capture, and Japanese voice I believe), so there should be no reason as to why he shouldn’t be in an Onimusha film.
Honestly, I think the game could translate rather easily to a film. There might need to be some added elements into a film version. One such idea is further buildup to the game’s story beginning. In the game, you see Nobunaga get slaughtered at, historically, his first major win and then it shifts to you seeing Yuki-sama being abducted. You get no setup to the genma at all or at least not very much mention. I’m not saying that there has to be a direct showing of the genma really early on because mystery can be a good thing, but maybe some scenes depicting supernatural murders to show you that something eerie is up.
Even though I said that the game could translate very well into film, a couple elements probably wouldn’t. It just might be me, but the weapon designs are a bit anime-ish to fit into a live-action adaptation. I guess a way around this idea is that, maybe, Samanosuke could unlock bits and bits of his oni power over the course of the film (where it would finally culminate in the final battle with Fortinbras). Also, the looks of some of the main villains–Osric mostly–would not translate well. As far as Osric and Fortinbras are concerned, I feel like they’d be to outlandish. Plus, if you had actual people (who wear makeup and prosthetics) in the film, the fights would look much more organic and real-looking.
What Could Go Wrong?
If it’s not made by Japan. I honestly believe that only Japan can really capture the feel of Japanese mysticism and supernaturalism that are apparent in throughout the game. I’ve seen it in many Hollywood remakes of classic Asian films where they just couldn’t capture what made the original Asian versions so well-liked. It doesn’t translate too well because the tastes we have in films is rather different from what the Japanese have in theirs. This could be like one of those cases.
Please Japan…make an Onimusha film?
Game #6: Grim Fandango
This is probably nothing new to many people who have played the game. PC Zone even made the comment that the game would make a good film (the actual article with that quote is closed, but you can see a brief snippet of it on the Grim Fandango Wikipedia page).
There should be no argument that the film HAS to be animated. It’s probably a big ‘Duh’ thing for me to say, but only through animation do I think the game’s characters, great art style, and humor can be captured successfully. I also have a studio choice if they’d ever want to do a film of this game (they tend to do their own specific projects though): Pixar. Firstly, I think Pixar could translate the art style from this game easily into a film. The characters also look like something that Pixar would do well at animating and/or look like they’d go into a Pixar film. Secondly, I trust them a bit more than other animation studios in bringing the dialogue from the game into film pretty much intact (although I’ll get to this later).
Out of all of the video games on this list, I feel like this one is the easiest one to translate to the film medium and, honestly, I don’t think there’s anything else I could say about why it should be made into an animated film. The game itself is already one pretty much in the way that it’s styled and written.
What Could Go Wrong?
Remember when I made that mention about the dialogue being kept intact? While I do trust Pixar a bit more than other film companies to keep to Grim Fandango‘s dialogue and humor, there’s always the method of dumbing down the dialogue to fit the general audience. Things I mean in this regard are like putting in childish jokes, bad puns, grossly overheard jokes that have become cliche over the years, ect. There’s always a chance that it will happen.
I don’t think this should be a problem in the slightest because the game itself, in every respect, is already cartoon material. What’s presented, I think, could still entertain children without resorting to the things I mentioned above. Plus, you want to keep the adults who have to go with their kids to these films entertained and you don’t want to irritate the fanbase of the game.
This is why I would trust Pixar more to handle this film. Using examples like Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Up, Pixar has shown itself to be very versatile with their dealing of film audiences (being able to keep both children and adults entertained with the material they present). They’ve even gone into some darker territory with their films before, so Grim Fandango could work under them. However, you never know…you never know.
In no way am I saying that these films SHOULD be made. I’m just as livid about video game-to-film adaptations as the next person, but the thing I’m trying to point out is that it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. Given the right choices and the right point of view going into making a film based off of a video game, it could work. Sadly, that doesn’t always work: poor cast choices are made, poor screenplays get written, people sign on without knowing too much about the source material, &ect. The list goes on.
But, my ideas might not be any better. What do you think about my ideas regarding these six games? Do you think I made good choices? Bad choices? Anything you’d like to add? Any games you’d add into my list? I would’ve liked to have written about more games personally, but I felt I wrote enough here. I’d appreciate any of your comments. Just remember to keep it civil–this is all opinion, people.
*At the time I have finished this article, Resident Evil: Retribution has been in theaters for a five days now. I have not seen it and probably won’t.