Prince of Persia, Doom, Hitman, Max Payne, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider—yeah I can do this all day. There are more than enough examples of gaming franchises that have made the leap to the big screen. What about it though? With Five Nights at Freddy’s going to the big screen, a thought occurred to me: I have never been a fan of gaming movies. Before you bemoan me, let me explain.
First and foremost, a lot of these movies are terrible. Except for Tomb Raider, they were all pretty poor representations of what the games actually are. Don’t agree? Take Street Fighter for example: what were Ken and Ryu even doing assisting in a military operation like that? What was Deejay (played by Juwanna Mann’s Migel A Nunez, Jr by the way) doing working with Bison? And why, God why were the fight scenes so dry? The entire franchise is in the fighting genre and is usually centered around the conflict between Ryu and the dark hado within him (see: darkside of the force). They chose not once, but twice to focus on the military struggle between Shadoloo and basically the rest of the world.
Then there’s Mario with John Leguizamo. You can love that movie all you want to, it was doomed from the moment the gumbas were 6 foot tall. Star power is all well and good, but most of these characters have been around longer than the people they try to get to play them. Under no circumstances did I want to see Jake Gyllenhaal play Prince Dastan in Prince of Persia. Find some random, hungry actors who—gasp—actually resemble the characters they’re suppose to portray.
Maybe, just maybe, games should be left to their original media. I am admittedly not a big reader. There are thousands upon thousands of stories that I will never enjoy because it’s not my go to for entertainment. If you don’t play games, there should just be certain things you miss out on. Far better that than be introduced to a subpar version of something that is normally amazing.
I won’t be completely negative. There are magical times when the jump to a movie does actually work out. There’s one trick to it: animate it. There is no more shining example of this than Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Done hands on by SquareEnix to ensure it was legit, fit with the story, and looked beautiful. There is a clear difference when a team truly loves and enjoys what they’re working with instead of simply doing it for the love of money and deadlines. Not to say that it’s perfect, but the way the Japanese markets cinemate—just made that up, means to make into a movie, you’re welcome—their manga is usually animated. They may not always be cannon, but you never have to worry about wild creative tangents that mean nothing to the source material.
There’s always hope for the future. The current Marvel cinematic universe shows that not everything has to fall apart once it hits the big screen. With blockbusters like Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed gaming could get a better look as well. Fingers crossed, I would really hate to see Nathan Drake embarrassed in front of the masses.