Movie Adaptations: For Better or Worse

Let’s face it, movie adaptations are very hit and miss. Whether it be an adaptation of a book, a TV series, or a game, these films rarely live up to the hype and the standards set before it. However when it has worked well, it’s worked very well!

The inspiration behind writing this post for sparked by something as little as a tweet. The other day I tweeted a link to a Mashable article (surprise surprise), within which it was speculated that J.J. Abrams, the successful producer who will lead the charge in creating the new Star Wars trilogy, would like to turn the popular Valve game series Half-Life and Portal into films. A daring move by J.J., and surely an ambitious thing to target considering he should have enough on his plate with the upcoming Star Wars series, among everything else he’s working on at the moment.

Now the Star Wars geek in me (I’m sorry, did I say ‘in me’? I meant ‘all around me’) wants to shake an angry fist at Abrams for not doing everything in his power to get episode VII finished asap, but with potential film adaptations of Half-Life and Portal on the horizon, I’m happy to wait in anticipation. The key word here is potential; firstly because the films are by no means confirmed, only speculated on, and secondly because they could turn out to be a pile of poo. Like Doom – what were they thinking?

So out comes exhibit A – Doom. ‘Worst, film, ever’ does not justify how bad this film made the classic game series look. They even tried to add in a first person-esque scene to, I suppose, honour the series? Well it failed, and we’ve all seen the evidence.

And swiftly following this comes exhibit B – Super Mario Bros. Yep, the movie. I was reminded of this monstrosity of a film by Ian in a reply to my tweet the other day, in which I was presented with a trailer of the 1993 film which in the space of 1 minutes and 37 seconds shattered the treasured memory I had of the film. Truth be told, the film is far worse than I ever recall. I’m sure 7 year old me loved it, but 22 year old me felt a little unwell after watching that trailer – if not only for the reason that Luigi doesn’t have a moustache in it.

I’m starting to feel a little concerned for the future of Half-Life and Portal.

I must say, I do like the Tomb Raider game series. Partly for the adventure, but mainly because of Lara Croft. I’ll be honest, some films can be cheesy and great, or at least have the ‘it’s so bad it’s good’ feel. And yes Angelina Jolie wasn’t a terrible fit for the character. But for me the Tomb Raider films fell flat. Even the Prince of Persia film was a big disappointment.

So where am I going with this? Whilst film adaptations of books have been hit and miss over the years, there have at least been some very very good and popular ones – for example The Lord of the Rings, and dare I say it, Twilight? But it seems that film adaptations of games just don’t work. Or at least they could work but haven’t yet. So please Mr Abrams sir, don’t make a movie out of the games people love. Nobody will thank you for it if it goes wrong. You’ve already taken a risk by keeping Star Wars alive, so let’s focus on getting that right.

Written by: Joe Topliffe
Twitter: @joetopliffe

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