The Big Picture: Off the Charts

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HankMan:

Srdjan Tanaskovic:
So Baz Luhrmann is making a movie based on The Great Gatsby

thats bad how?

It's in 3D
That's never a good sign

Romeo + Juliet should have been an early warning.

Ian S:

Yeah, I think Bay's been unfairly maligned for the Transformers movies myself. Looking at the old show, it's equally as stupid. And yet as you say, despite that, it's somehow above criticism for some reason. The Bay movies are big, dumb fun, but yet I can watch them as an adult (at least the first one) and not feel guilty because of it. I can't quite put a reason why, but somehow the way it was done made it acceptable for me to enjoy them, whereas I'd be embarrassed if someone caught me watching the old cartoon.

I cannot comment on Revenge of the Fallen because I have not seen it. I can comment on the Nostalgia Goggles blinding everyone to the reality of the Transformers.

The show from the 80s sucked because most cartoons from the 80 suck. Many of them existed to whore themselves out to young kids. You can count on every show unraveling along the same story lines: Decepticons are looking for sources of energon, the super macguffin for the series. The Autobots catch word of this and try to stop them. The Autobots and the Decepticons use the battles to reveal the new character suited for completing that task, who may or may not appear again depending on how popular they are. Somehow the good guys win and the bad guys retreat. Then there is a bullshit moral at the end, similar to the "Now you Know stuff" from GI Joe.

What people often do is confuse the old Television series with two things. Best Wars and the Marvel Comic.

Beast Wars took the established characters and turned them into animal machine hybrids, but it also told an interesting story with complex character development and in a way that if you missed one episode, you were not lost. Having the focus on 10 characters (later 18) instead of 80 allows you to have better stories, better development and logical conclusions to things.

As for the comic, they do not remember the American made one, but the British. The American comic iteration existed solely to whore the franchise out and had plots just as nonsensical as the show. In the British comic, you have great story arcs, nice character development, and sense of menace from the Bad guys. It was from the Marvel comic series where you learn about the war on cybertron, how Optimus is as a leader (effective, but learning), that Megatron is truly a badass who the other decepticons follow out of fear more than anything else. You never got that sense from the 80's series.

I'm surprised Bob didn't mention the Prince of Persia movie. I know it still wasn't the greatest movie ever, but it's debatably the first ever half-decent game movie. I think it's a good indication that we're finally starting to step out of the primordial sea into a potentially bright future of game movies.

And even more than that, look at comic book movies. They started out horrible too. But even if you deny that the Spider Man and Iron Man (and even some of the other recent movies) were at least "OK", friggin' Dark Knight man!

Tempest13:
To be fair, The Prince of Persia Movie wasn't that bad....but nothing extraordinary. So yeah, I guess this movie could be pretty cool, but I personally don't really care about game to movie adaptations. I get more excited about game to anime adaptions =P

It was terrible. Unwatchably terrible. There was no chemistry, the adventure was off, about halfway through I realized I didn't care for any characters in it. But that's just my opinion.

Not a fan of anime either, so that tells you something about me.

"The good for a western developer" comment has really gotten a lot of people riled up yet although I'm not suprised that Bob would come to such a conclusion. JRPG's are generally a lot more focused on the overarching plot usually with one or two subplots (Usually a romance between two protaginists) where as WRPG's are a lot more interactive, using a basic story to really let the player focus on the universe and characters which inhabit it. (Half Life 2 is a really basic example of this, the overarching plot is rather basic (Aliens bad. Kill them.) but it's all the little hiddden snipits of plot and the characters that really ties it together.) Another example of this idea is KOTOR 2 (Which is admitadly one of my favourtie game plots) overtly, the plot is pretty scant especially since the game was pushed out before it was ready but the characters (Kreia being imo the best game character in history) and a lot of the plot was hidden within the massive tress of dialogue with various characters.

Sorry, I kinda lost my point in describing the main difference in what I see as the major differences between JRPG's and WRPG's but my overall point was that JRPG's are more like movies or books, being a lot less interactive and generally giving the player less if any control over the overarching plot. This allows the developer to give a more blatant plot as it never changes but can be irritating for players who are wondering why the characters didn't do x or why x happened at all (E.G. FF8's entire damn plot). WRPG's on the other hand are more vast and interactive which gives the player more control but since the developers have to focus on all the different choice the player can make, the plot becomes more diluted in comparison to JRPG's.

malestrithe:

Ian S:

Yeah, I think Bay's been unfairly maligned for the Transformers movies myself. Looking at the old show, it's equally as stupid. And yet as you say, despite that, it's somehow above criticism for some reason. The Bay movies are big, dumb fun, but yet I can watch them as an adult (at least the first one) and not feel guilty because of it. I can't quite put a reason why, but somehow the way it was done made it acceptable for me to enjoy them, whereas I'd be embarrassed if someone caught me watching the old cartoon.

I cannot comment on Revenge of the Fallen because I have not seen it. I can comment on the Nostalgia Goggles blinding everyone to the reality of the Transformers.

The show from the 80s sucked because most cartoons from the 80 suck. Many of them existed to whore themselves out to young kids. You can count on every show unraveling along the same story lines: Decepticons are looking for sources of energon, the super macguffin for the series. The Autobots catch word of this and try to stop them. The Autobots and the Decepticons use the battles to reveal the new character suited for completing that task, who may or may not appear again depending on how popular they are. Somehow the good guys win and the bad guys retreat. Then there is a bullshit moral at the end, similar to the "Now you Know stuff" from GI Joe.

What people often do is confuse the old Television series with two things. Best Wars and the Marvel Comic.

Beast Wars took the established characters and turned them into animal machine hybrids, but it also told an interesting story with complex character development and in a way that if you missed one episode, you were not lost. Having the focus on 10 characters (later 18) instead of 80 allows you to have better stories, better development and logical conclusions to things.

As for the comic, they do not remember the American made one, but the British. The American comic iteration existed solely to whore the franchise out and had plots just as nonsensical as the show. In the British comic, you have great story arcs, nice character development, and sense of menace from the Bad guys. It was from the Marvel comic series where you learn about the war on cybertron, how Optimus is as a leader (effective, but learning), that Megatron is truly a badass who the other decepticons follow out of fear more than anything else. You never got that sense from the 80's series.

I found the old GI Joe series deceptively deep. Though it was purely for marketing reasons.

To sell the most toys, and to make sure kids like their toys, Hasbro required their cartoons to give each character (i.e. each action figure) their own episode. The show couldn't play favorites and so they had to come up with interesting backstories for every character, hero and villain.

GI Joe ended up with this structure you see today like Lost - every episode focused on a different character, making them compelling in their own way. In my case, my favorite character was Dusty, and he got a two parter, of which he was even Court Marshalled. I was upset for years because I never saw Part 2 as my sister's week forced me to watch Jem :)

Shows like Heroes, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and even Babylon 5 borrowed this structure - and this is where it's from. JMS references this in his "How to write for TV" book.

Leaving alone the east west remark which I feel was one of the stupidest things possibile for Bob to say, both in the actual content of thre reamrk and his lack of consideration of the context of well..... him (Other M being good)

I've never played the Uncharted games but aren't they meant to be a good Indy game? so why should they be made into a movie? Like why should they even bother at all? look at the much derided Kane and Lynch 2: Dog days and you will see that game was criticised for being way to short. It was 4 hours long, which would make one incredibly long film if completely translated into film. So we should stop pretending we can translate them perfectly.

A mario movie would be god awful though, I mean Mario has great gaemplay but nos troy at all. I'm sure it would be possibile to make a good film version of it but I feel that you would have to get rid of everything that made Mario Mario to do so. Same with some of the other franchises he mentioned.

DTWolfwood:
o snap throwing cliffy-b's face on indiana jones as a douchebag, that is some burn XD

Actually it's Dane Cook. Now that's a burn so bad you'd have to be fired into the sun to much it.

omegawyrm:
Portal is the best story told in video games?

Really?

A good experience and a good story are not the same thing.

Portal had some funny moments, but had no story to speak of. It's why I roll my eyes whenever someone claims it has a plot.

In terms of game writing, I don't think it's any coincidence that most of my favorite story-based games happen to be Eastern. Sure, Bioware and Rockstar have good writers, but most of the time their plots aren't very complex (though I was astounded that Rollingstone's Peter Travers praised GTA4's plot). I still consider Yasumi Matsuno and Masato Kato's best writing to be head and shoulders above a lot of game writers (heck, even Matsuno on a bad day makes his peers look like Naruto fanfiction writers). Probably the most memorable plots I've seen as of late have been from Blazblue, Atlus' SMT franchise (Persona included), and Suda 51.

Twuny20:

GreigKM:
Um, Bob, you do know that Valve and Bioware are western developers, right?

Wait, did you seriously just mention Valve in terms of an in-game story? They've always had horrible stories. Even Half-Life has a bland story and I love those games. In fact they made my favorite game L4D and that has almost no story at all. Biowares stories are convoluted and incredibly non-linear (exception being Mass Effect). I really think Bob is right, Western game developers can only make a good story in terms of gameplay and advancing the player from one action intensive conflict to the next. If you look at the stories in comparison to a movie story... they fall pretty flat. But I don't think they're as bad as Steven Seagal movie plots. Nothing is as bad as those...

Valve purposely doesn't go out of its way to broadcast story. I think this is why their games work out so well. They spend more time on the central game mechanics and then finding ways to play with those mechanics before bringing in the "story".

Listening to an interview with Gabe Newell, Left 4 Dead was originally an assault team vs. terrorists. They changed it to zombies as the mechanics fit better, and happened to hit right at the zombie zeitgeist.

As for story, Valve does everything to imply story rather than put it down your throat. They've had some great writing and ideas, and lets the player play with those ideas. The absolute best example of this is Portal. Here is a game told entirely through gameplay, with mythic structure along the way. There's even two mentor archetypes, as deep as a shapeshifting mentor archetype (GlaDOS), and a true mentor in Ratman. Deceptively deep.

Aiddon:

DTWolfwood:
o snap throwing cliffy-b's face on indiana jones as a douchebag, that is some burn XD

Actually it's Dane Cook. Now that's a burn so bad you'd have to be fired into the sun to much it.

omegawyrm:
Portal is the best story told in video games?

Really?

A good experience and a good story are not the same thing.

Portal had some funny moments, but had no story to speak of. It's why I roll my eyes whenever someone claims it has a plot.

In terms of game writing, I don't think it's any coincidence that most of my favorite story-based games happen to be Eastern. Sure, Bioware and Rockstar have good writers, but most of the time their plots aren't very complex (though I was astounded that Rollingstone's Peter Travers praised GTA4's plot). I still consider Yasumi Matsuno and Masato Kato's best writing to be head and shoulders above a lot of game writers (heck, even Matsuno on a bad day makes his peers look like Naruto fanfiction writers). Probably the most memorable plots I've seen as of late have been from Blazblue, Atlus' SMT franchise (Persona included), and Suda 51.

There is a story. We're just allowed to play it rather than forced through cutscene gameplay cutscene. The story is right there, and it allows us to subvert it if we want. It's far more interactive in this way.

Mirrored Jigsaw:

darthotaku:
I've seen alot of people bashing Moviebob about his "For a western developer" line, and I think it's funny that they bring up the same five games.

Name five eastern games that people will generally agree have a great story. The reason we use the same examples is because not everyone will agree on inFamous, and those who don't will ignore the post based on one example that didn't resonate with them.

I'll give you 7 because I'm feeling generous:

Silent Hill, Legacy of Kain, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Okami, The first Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

As for the 5 examples given, are you purposely limiting yourself to games that appear on the 360? If so, for what reason?

Also, generally agreed upon by who? The gnome that exists where you are pulling these names out of?

In my mind at least most videogames would be far better suited as TV material than movies. It's just a more natural fit whether you're talking how games are split into levels vs episodes on TV, or if you want to adapt an entire game franchise because it lets you spread stuff out.

Also I think people give Bioware a bit too much credit here in their defense of the story writing and it making a good movie. Think back to the first Mass Effect. When you strip out all the sidequests, the actual main story laid out is fairly weak. Done as a movie you would certainly need the initial events on Eden Prime, then a stop back at the Citadel to introduce the team and get Sheperd instated as a Spectre by proving Saren's betrayal. Then what? You don't need all the sidequests about crime families, rogue AI, or Keeper scanning. So they take off.

And the whole story falls apart. Noveria? Everything that happens there is completely superfluous to the story. The Rachni and Benezia don't seem to factor into Saren's plans whatsoever, Sheperd stops them and it accomplishes nothing. The couple of hours on Noveria boils down to getting the name of a system. Same for Feros, nothing that happens there matters except learning to interpret the mind meld data, the Thorian doesn't matter. All of this stuff is simply game padding, it has NOTHING to do with the main story which is paper thin. All you need is Eden - Citadel - Virmire (and here you could cut out the whole cloning Krogan bit, but at least two things happen here, learning about Sovereign and about the indoctrination) - Ilos - and then the final battle. And at this point you can trim half the main cast because when you think on it, none of them really matter to the main plot in terms of actually DOING anything besides fighting.

But on TV, all this is fine. TV loves padding and having lots of characters to build side stories around, it works great slowly building a main plot with little details each episode in between the padding. As a movie though Mass Effect's plot has too much fat and not enough meat when it comes to story.

I disagree with whoever criticized Prince of Persia. Yes, there was too much CGI, and some of the accents were silly, but the movie was a lot of fun. Alfred Molina was hilarious too. It needed more parkour, but overall it was good. (Thought the first 10-15 mins are awful. If you survive that, you're good.)

The Great Gatsby? IN 3D?!

...ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!

jmarquiso:

I found the old GI Joe series deceptively deep. Though it was purely for marketing reasons.

To sell the most toys, and to make sure kids like their toys, Hasbro required their cartoons to give each character (i.e. each action figure) their own episode. The show couldn't play favorites and so they had to come up with interesting backstories for every character, hero and villain.

GI Joe ended up with this structure you see today like Lost - every episode focused on a different character, making them compelling in their own way. In my case, my favorite character was Dusty, and he got a two parter, of which he was even Court Marshalled. I was upset for years because I never saw Part 2 as my sister's week forced me to watch Jem :)

Shows like Heroes, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and even Babylon 5 borrowed this structure - and this is where it's from. JMS references this in his "How to write for TV" book.

I never really got that out of watching the show. I do remember that ep with Dusty, and there was another two-parter called "Worlds Without End" where they visited a parallel Earth, but those were exceptions I thought to the usual goings-on. I actually think the new show, G.I. Joe: Renegades probably benefits more form this technique. But I can't recall having read anywhere else that the original G.I. Joe show was where this was established.

It may be alittle to early to be worth mentioning but people seem to be forgetting the extremely awesome and very well done Mortal Kombat short made by Kevin Tancharoen....the success of it and the possible sucess of the upcoming webseries(which came about sole due to the former) could result in Tancharoen getting the greenlight to direct a Mortal Kombat movie which could stand to be one of best or the first(depending on who you ask) truely great game to film adaptations

I've played Uncharted 2 and it was great game but the story is not what made it great. The stellar gameplay, crisp graphics and wonderful character interactions is what made the game great. The only thing that needs to be transitioned to the movie is characters and how they interact with each other.

I agree with you fully Bob on everything you said and that was some really nice thinking of course. Though- the only movie I do have respect for which I think was really good based off a game was Resident Evil. The first movie.. not the other 3- well actually the 2nd one was pretty good too. But yea, other then that..
The movies are pretty much to make money, yet made with little care since I honestly believe that Hollywood doesn't care about the media, they just want to 'gamble' with society and see how good they can do by trying out things which they don't put their hearts into it. Just my opinion *wears Bob's hat that looks cool*

I must say I agree with movie bob 2 weeks in a row now this is shocking, but no doubt the like minded escapist fans will call for blood.

jmarquiso:

I found the old GI Joe series deceptively deep. Though it was purely for marketing reasons.

To sell the most toys, and to make sure kids like their toys, Hasbro required their cartoons to give each character (i.e. each action figure) their own episode. The show couldn't play favorites and so they had to come up with interesting backstories for every character, hero and villain.

GI Joe ended up with this structure you see today like Lost - every episode focused on a different character, making them compelling in their own way. In my case, my favorite character was Dusty, and he got a two parter, of which he was even Court Marshalled. I was upset for years because I never saw Part 2 as my sister's week forced me to watch Jem :)

Shows like Heroes, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and even Babylon 5 borrowed this structure - and this is where it's from. JMS references this in his "How to write for TV" book.

Dude, I only referenced GI Joe because Transformers had a similar moralizing at the end of their episodes too.

As for this, I really cannot comment on it too much. I am pretty sure the structure of the shows to be pretty deep, but only the time I've ever seen the episodes were when they were introducing Sgt. Slaughter to the universe.

Why? Why do we need good game movies at all? Why not just good games and good movies? Some stories work better interactively and some work better purely visually, very few work in both without enough changes that you may as well make it a separate IP.
I've only played the first Uncharted and I thought it was pretty good, with some issues that didn't ruin the experience overall, but "game that feels like a film" was a stupid stupid direction to go in.

Draconalis:
Mario had his movie chance... why is he in the center of that "Never had a chance" picture?

Because he deserves a better one. So do Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, incidentally.

And while I'm thinking about it, all the people saying Bioshock has a good story and might make a good movie? No, it would be terrible, or have to be completely altered. You spend almost the entire game utterly alone, with your only motivation being get from Point A to Point B until the plot twist. It's a really cool SETTING, but as a story you could write the whole thing out in two paragraphs.

Macrobstar:
ARGH, FFS Bob stop making me hate you, uncharteds story was good i agree, but when you put in "for a western developer" seriously? WHAT PLAnET ARE YOU ON, Bioshock, Dragon age, mass effect, Red dead redemption

The guy is a hardcore Nintendo fan. Even if you try to see it with a grain of salt, after watching plenty of his videos its obvious he's got an extreme bias.

super mario brothers the movie was awesome on it's own.
it only fails when compared to the game.
together, the movie sucked.
apart it was awesome.
i'm just saying.

For some reason I too would like to see a Metal Gear Solid movie.

Or at least I did, until I realized that it would either be made by one of those movie directors an turn into an explosion fest.

Then I wondered if Hideo Kojima could do it, then I realized that we wouldn't be able to live long enough to view the entire thing from beginning to end...

*sadface*

I'm not from Hollywood, and I don't respect The Great Gatsby. That book sucked. Go read some Steinbeck or Vonnegut for good 20th century American literature.

Now I know that this is your opinion, so I'm gonna throw my own in.

I've never played either of the uncharted games, but I've watched all the cut scenes. Now, in its own right, throwing all the cutscenes together like that makes its own movie. I'm pretty sure what people are getting iffed about is this whole thing that, this director is taking this story, which is like Indiana Jones, but I'll get to that in a sec, and taking out all the main components. He's basically taking what is well known and loved, and twisting it to his own gain. Yes, the movie hasn't even started, it's just his "ideas" and whatever, but making Nathan Drake into pretty much an antiquity mob boss, and throwing family in there that the video games never even hint at, it's gonna make people a little angry. I mean the story is there, plain as day, it's not that hard to screw up, but, since he's the director, he can twist it around to the point where it's not an "Uncharted" movie, but a movie with people with the same names and "Uncharted" thrown onto the title.

Again, it may not be bad, it may be a good twist on it, but the Uncharted series also had a twist on the "Indiana Jones Formula." Instead of stealing artifacts and putting them in museums, Nathan is (attempting) stealing them for profit. Then he gets into this whole mess where he has to stop the bad guys from getting the "World destroying artifact of the week."

Now what I'm saying is, if you got a story already made, do it that way, if you want to make changes, make them subtle. For God's sake, just because you have the rights to a name doesn't mean you can just do whatever you want to it. And on the Michael Bay subject. Michael Bay likes cheesy romance and goddamned huge explosions. What did you expect?

Good as always Bob, I agree with most of what you said.

And for the people saying ME, DA and Bioshock when he talks about western games, chill out. It was a generalization. He's obviously aware that there are gems in the heap of dung that are western game plots, but it'd be stupid to say "Western games have bad stories, except XXX YYY ZZZ NNN QQQ..."

Uncharted great as though it maybe is basically India Jones which is also great. So what they are gonna do is make a revamped India Jones which should be ok. As far a video game movies go I think more should take from the source material and not actually follow the story. I thought resident evil up until the fourth installment was decent.

Lastly bob one point I'd like to make. It seems to me and I've watched alot of your stuff that you are raging nintendo fanboy and avid playstation hater. Why don't you chill out on both accounts.

fuck, metal gear solid WOULD make an awesome movie...

jim carrey to play psycho mantis anyone?

HankMan:
I haven't played the Uncharted games either, but I know enough about the series (thanks to Wikipedia) to know that there IS an actual narrative in the games and that the director's changes don't exactly fit in with it. Still I suppose you're right about the fact that movie won't be bad just because the characters are changed, but what they're changed into. Which brings me to the REAL reason I have doubts about this film: Nathan Fillion isn't playing Nathan Drake.

So according to Movie Bob: Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect, Bioshock and Dragon Age don't exist. I'd hate to live in his world

Or one of the prime examples, Max Payne.

Hmm still don't get why you have something against the Uncharted franchise!? Seeing other 3rd person shooters and even FPS are more bland. To some degree Uncharted don't take themselves that serious (Watches at certain other Franchises That are even more hyped, Who do take themselves to serious.)

And well Drake is a light criminal slash big treasure hunter do being a douche fits partly that character.

This next part is for the ones who are going to refer to Indiana Jones.
And the whole Argument of that it is an Indiana Jones Ripoff is invalid as well seeing Indiana Jones has been based on other other older adventure movie genre before The Indiana Jones Franchise came to be.

LucasFilm might also want Shia Lebeouf to be Indiana Jones Next successor, I'd rather have Drake Any time!!

Uhm the Possible Uncharted movie well if it's the same guy behind Three Kings, then it might actually be quite authentic to the game if you look at dialogue, wittiness and such so that shouldn't be a problem, Then there is Marky mark (Playing it safe with a more Known actor) who i can't take seriously after watching an interview about the Max Payne movie. Him watching someone else playing the game to learn about is feels insulting and gives the impression that games are beneath him and can't take that serious. ( And the Game Industry is growing faster and bigger then the Movie Industry. That! and in all his roles he's not that witty and it doesn't suit him.

Then Nathan Fillion (FireFly or Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) is more suitable, all though Flanigan's voice is a bit passive he can be very witty.

Xenominim:
And while I'm thinking about it, all the people saying Bioshock has a good story and might make a good movie? No, it would be terrible, or have to be completely altered. You spend almost the entire game utterly alone, with your only motivation being get from Point A to Point B until the plot twist. It's a really cool SETTING, but as a story you could write the whole thing out in two paragraphs.

UNLESS they tried for something really out-there and different, perhaps emphasizing loneliness. but i doubt it would work.

maybe a thirty minute short film, but frankly it would probably be better just to play the game.
i got my mom to play on easy (and bioshock's interpretation of easy is about the same as "firstly, hold the controller with both hands") and she loved it.
so ya a bioshock movie is a terrible idea.

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