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didn't want that movie anyway

Solid Snake's Voice Actor On Collapse of Metal Gear Movie:
Sources close to the project previously told Kotaku that reason for the movie not happening was money. Sony Pictures was willing to finance somewhere between $40 million ~ $80 million for the film; however, Kojima Productions and Konami balked, believing that the figure was not enough to create a proper cinematic version of the game. By today's standard, the budget would have put Metal Gear Solid at the lower end of the production scale. For comparison's sake, Sony Pictures film Spider-Man 3 had a $300 million budget.

"Video game companies are very protective of their property and there are certain things a studio requires freedom-wise to market and distribute a movie effectively in a global marketplace and sometimes getting those two things to match up is really hard," says producer Michael De Luca, who was slated to produce the film. "And in the case of Metal Gear Solid, the agendas just….not because the parties weren't amicable, it was just kind of impossible to get the agendas to match up."

I think we've seen this happen enough times by now to say there's a trend at work. The Mario Brothers movie was pretty awful, as was Doom, and this is the second big-name video game movie that's crashed and burned in as many years. Aside from the money, I think there's a couple of other things at work here that people aren't mentioning for fear of torpedoing the concept of video game-to-movie conversions once and for all. Since I don't give a rat's ass whether I ever see the Command and Conquer movie though, I'll take a stab at it.

The best video games immerse you in the experience of being the main character, or allow you to operate at a level that most of us will never get to be on IRL. You get to choose what happens, not some scriptwriter, and this makes all the difference. And you can do it as often as you want without having to pay $8 for a ticket. Immersion and choice. The first is something you don't often get from Hollywood any more, and the second is flat-out impossible with current movie technology.

Finally, it's a fallacy to think that because comic books have made a largely successful (i.e. profitable) transition to the big screen, that the same can be done with video games. Wrong. Comic books are short stories, profusely illustrated and relatively easy to convert to live-action spectaculars, especially now that CGI has become cheap enough to make all kinds of FX easy to do and credible to watch. The best video games are novels, interactive novels with lush backgrounds and story lines that suck you into the plot. I firmly believe that we're more likely to see a movie or TV adaptation of Megatokyo or Erfworld before we see HALO or any other video game on the big screen, because it'll be a lot easier to do even an insanely complicated plot on screen than it would be to make something accurately reproducing the Master Chief experience.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
I would have said that comic book based movies CAN do the equivalent of short stories, and although they can contain a wealth of material spanning decades of writing from those books, they do lend themselves easily to stories which can be refined down to movie length and still be complete stories. This is partly because of the ubiquitous nature of comic book characters - a large portion of the American population is exposed to superhero comics at least during their childhood or teens, even if they drop the habit when they reach adulthood because of the stigma that American society attaches to reading comic books. You might get an origin story with every opening film in a series - BATMAN BEGINS and IRON MAN are cases in point - but certainly in the case of Batman, you didn't *NEED* one. The only Americans who are unaware of the origin story of Batman either suffer from some form of handicap or are elitist culture snobs who were raised by elitist culture snobs - the people responsible for the stigma associated with reading comic books, in fact.

I won't argue that the IRON MAN origin story was unnecessary - IM isn't as well known outside of print as Batman, and there are living people - important people, at that - who aren't as well known as Superman. It's interesting to note, however, that the much loved TV incarnation of the Incredible Hulk made it unnecessary to open the THE INCREDIBLE HULK with an origin scene - it's referred to in a flashback, but they didn't need to waste time on it because so many people already know that story from re-runs of the TV show. That permitted them to jump right in with Bruce Banner on the run, General Ross and his Hulkbuster outfit, etc.

I'd have to agree about the problem with video game based movies - while the Resident Evil movies were very entertaining, they really boiled away a lot and focused on just enough story to have a meaningful plot. Other such movies, as you have noted, have failed to reach even this mark, and as for reproducing the FPS experience - it isn't going to happen with movies as we know them. The DOOM movie tried to re-create the visual experience of FPS gaming in some scenes, and those are the worst in the film, frankly.

Far more difficult is the challenge of presenting an interactive cinematic experience. As long as you want the viewer to be able to have control over various aspects of the main character's actions, you're not creating a movie - you're creating a game. It might be a wonderfully rendered game, but it will be a game. The characters might be *modeled* on actors to create the illusion that it's a movie, but if you as viewer are in control of the character's movements, what you'll be seeing is a 3D rendering of the actor created from baseline motion capture, etc. And once you're there - why bother with the actor's image at all, unless they bear a striking resemblance to the character? You probably already have a well established image of the character(s) from the game already, so you use them, and you pay the actors for their voice talents - which is what they do for all such games now.

Returning to the story issue - I'd have to agree that long term productions - miniseries or television series - would be a better environment for actually putting some of the more elaborate stories out there. The problem is that networks are gun shy about "wasting" money on products that are not immediately successful in tangible ways (i.e., ratings, which mean advertising revenue). Worse, they listen to reviewers who traditionally don't "get" SF/fantasy productions. They want blockbuster potential, and apparently always want it immediately.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Fortunately, the broadcast networks are dying, and their control over what people watch has slipped badly since we were young 'uns. I don't think it'll be too long before studios are marketing directly to consumers, at least in niche markets; there's an anime distributor that's managed to function for quite some years now along those lines.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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