Fact #1: In the current economy, Hollywood movie executives are largely afraid to stick their necks out for anything. No one wants to be the guy whose advice is to blame for getting the studio to spend money on an expensive failure. This is why we're currently inundated with remakes and adaptations - making your greenlight recommendation based on "the original material already made X amount of money!" comes with less personal blame potential than "I think this should get made." Even if the original material is a line of toys, or a boardgame.

Fact #2: Sooner or later, they are going to run out of comic book superheroes who're worthy of their own movies - though, hopefully, not before I get to see a live-action Iron Fist, or Christina Hendricks in a Power Girl uniform.

Fact #3: Prince of Persia is making decent money, and garnering mostly decent reviews.

Conclusion: We're only a few years away from a possible deluge of high end videogame adaptations. It'll likely be mostly current hot franchises as opposed to more established fare - much in the way that we got Spawn before we got X-Men - which means a lot of hot young stars will be lining up to audition for the coveted role of "largely-unseen-man-perpetually-holding-gun-within-his-own-field-of-vision." But, then, you never can tell.

In any case, here's a bunch of games I'd really, really really rather not have to sit through as movies - with the caveat that "movies" in this case refers to big-budget, blockbuster format Hollywood films. Anime adaptations? Lower-budget, fan-focused versions made in (just for one example) certain games' native Japan? That I'm more open to.

In any case, here we go:

Left 4 Dead: Rule #1: If the only narrative appeal of a game is getting to play something that's already been a movie or a bunch of movies, it makes no sense to make a movie of it. Zombies are over, unless your name is George Romero.

Call of Duty: See above. The WWII COD games are all about letting you play through Saving Private Ryan. No way is a WWII COD movie going to be anything but a pale copy of that. The Modern Warfare series could work if you filmed it as a brutal satire of war movies, which is the only context in which I could imagine taking MW's ridiculous Tom-Clancy-and-Michael-Bay-trading-24-fan-fiction story style.

Shadow of the Colossus: Wait! At least hear me out before you send the angry letter.

I love this game. One of the things I love about it is the way it tells a compelling story in the context of a fundamentally game-ish setup of "go to X, kill Y" missions. Too often, games seeking to tell good stories assume that means "cinematic" stories, i.e. sandwiching pieces of a movie in between the gameplay. Shadow worked without going that route, but as such its narrative of repeating monster battles is wholly unfilmable, except maybe as a short.

Could it be done? Sure, but it would mean adding characters and subplots, diluting the purity that made the game itself special. I doubt that's what most of its fans would want to see happen.

Uncharted: Of all the stuff on this list, this is the one I'm most torn about including. I don't have a PS3, so I haven't experienced either Uncharted all the way through, so it's possible that content I didn't get to would make it a "must-film" franchise. Not likely, but possible.

What makes me ultimately include it is the knowledge that the stuff I like about the games, mostly summarized as "the stuff that feels like a movie," wouldn't be as impressive as a movie. Meanwhile, the stuff that would translate would probably be the stuff I didn't like, i.e. everything having to do with Nathan Drake, the most inhumanly obnoxious douchebag of a game hero outside of Leisure Suit Larry.
Seriously, here's a quick bit of calculus: Tomb Raider minus Angelina Jolie plus Dane Cook. Sound like a good idea to anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so. And while we're at it...

Comments on