As the line between movies and games continues to blur, we must step back and ask ourselves: Do we really want some of these crossovers? We've spent years loyal to our favorite franchises, but when they finally get a chance to "shine," more often than not, the only thing these game movies illuminate is the complete lack of understanding the movie makers had about the game they've just butchered. Gamers of every walk of life struggle with a mainstream society that neither understands nor identifies with them. We all accept it as a given that the only thing an average citizen knows about video games is whatever he picks up from angry politicians, soap-boxing on the airwaves.
But movies represent the potential for a crossover into our world. It's a chance for non-gamers to see the settings in which we invest so much of our time and interest. A chance to at least understand our interest in the game world, if not become entranced themselves.
And this is, of course, one of the reasons that a poorly-done adaptation drives all gamers mad. It seems inevitable that as soon as that mysterious creature known as "Hollywood" gets its hooks into our favored realms, it manages to completely mangle and befoul a beautiful thing, leaving only a desiccated husk behind.
The most frustrating thing about all this is that these movies could be good. If you're making a movie based on Tomb Raider, we're not going to go into the theater expecting Citizen Kane. However, we're also not going to expect a movie experience so painful that watching it conjures up memories of Malcolm McDowell receiving the Ludivicio Technique in Clockwork Orange. If you had taken Tomb Raider and made it a simple story of an attractive, tough, intelligent woman searching for a lost artifact, maybe even throwing in some clever dialogue, it could have worked. Lara hunts down the four pieces of the scion, travels the world, has some great action scenes in exotic locations, kicks Natla's butt and we're all happy. No time travel, no planetary alignment - and especially no wacky fathers building supernatural timepieces!
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I like to think of myself as a mature, experienced person. I've been around the block, traveled the world, loved, suffered rejection - the whole nine yards. I know better. Yet every time Hollywood rings their bell, I can't help but start drooling more than any Pavlovian mutt ever drooled. No matter how hard I struggle against my nature, I can only stand idly by, audience to my inevitable heartbreak, as my hopes are dashed time and time again. If I figured out a way to detach my willpower, bombard it with gamma radiation until it became green and super-powered, I still couldn't help myself. As soon as I catch the slightest hint of an adaptation coming, the vicious cycle begins and I'm swept along in its wake.