By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor
After three in-theatre viewings and several months of waiting, I recently purchased my own copy of Wreck-It Ralph on DVD. If I were silence the critic in me, Wreck-It Ralph was likely my favourite film of 2012, likely because video games are such a large part of my life. So now that video games have proven to be more than just an ‘80s fad, it’s time for filmmakers to realize that video games surprisingly do not translate well into film—at least, not for anything more than a cash grab.
We’re in 2013 now, and still there are no good films based on video games. For the better part of my life, I’ve blamed filmmakers. But really, there’s no point anymore. How can anybody adapt something assumedly already so great? And what could be dumber than watching a video game you’ve already played? The act is beyond watching a ‘let’s play,’ because at least a let’s play can stick to its source material without pissing anyone off. What the norm needs to be is movies about video games—not the story everybody knows, but the culture people are just starting to understand.
Early ‘80s films like Tron and WarGames had the right idea—really, they were beyond their time. How would someone who’s played video games their whole life adapt to being inside a video game scenario? Now we’ve got Wreck-It Ralph, which went a step further and asked, “What do video game characters do in their spare time?” Then at the heart of it all, you have documentaries like The King of Kong (2007) and Indie Game: The Movie (2012) in terms of movies that simply get “it.”
What is “it”? “It” is that we all play video games, that at some point we’ve all been immersed in a video game, and we all know what “it’s” like to be part of the gaming experience. As nice as Darren Aronofsky adapting Silent Hill 2 or Wes Anderson making a film about Kirby would be, there really wouldn’t be much of a point. How can filmmakers, no matter how great, change a world that’s already been developed?
What might be interesting would be if the right game developers decided to try their hands at filmmaking, because who understands video game culture better than the ones that make video game culture?
With a number of video games signed to be adapted into films, it’s frustrating to basically be awaiting disappointment. But maybe if we’re good, we might actually get that David Fincher-produced HBO series based on Indie Game: The Movie in the next year (drool).