Tag Archives: video game movies

Analysis: The Last of Us movie

The San Diego Comic Con is quite an exciting time when it comes to announcements. Doesn’t matter is your a massive geek or a casual fan of entertainment. It doesn’t even matter if your into comic books, movies, video games, television, or anime. Everyone can get something out of Comic Con, and sometimes you won’t even see certain things coming.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than a year since The Last of Us endured and survived on store shelves. The little game has come a long way since then with multiple award nominations, an upcoming next generation Remastered edition, and now a feature length movie to coincide with our Uncharted movie news.

Even though we’ve known that plans were being made for this movie for a good while, to get a confirmation and big announcement was such a surprise. It’s even more exciting (and terrifying) for me because The Last of Us is my favorite game of all-time. If Hollywood can get this right, we’ll have a beautiful and epic blockbuster coming our way.

I know this movie is light-years away from now, but we can still analyze what we know now and see how much our current facts really tell us about this project. Additionally, I want to share my thoughts on what I want to see from the film.

The first thing we know is that movie will be distributed by Screen Gems, a Sony-owned company. From what I gathered, Screen Gems is one of 4 specialty production arms known for a mixed assortment of genres, but most notably horror and action. Their film library is actually not too great. Their most notable films include the remake of CarrieThink Like a Man (including Too), the Underworld series, and Dear John. However their most known and profitable movies are the Resident Evil movies. In fact, their highest grossing film is Resident Evil: Afterlife. This is actually quite concerning. The Resident Evil movies don’t sit too well with gamers nor with many moviegoers. These guys clearly aren’t the best at video game adaption.

To the credit of Screen Gems though, while many of their movies are sub-par at best they do house some noteworthy movies. Heck, I actually liked the Underworld movies. Besides, it’s not fair to the movie to assume the worst too quickly.

What was announced at Comic Con was that Sam Raimi was the producer of the movie and Neil Druckmann is writing the film.

Sam Raimi is known for many movies whether as an actor, director or producer. I personally know him best for directing the Spider-Man trilogy. He is also known for movies like the Evil Dead series, the Darkman movie, and Oz the Great and Powerful as well as TV shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. I think Raimi is a trustworthy addition to the staff, especially since I’m a fan of a lot of his work.

As for Neil Druckmann, well… he’s the writer and director of the freaking game! Could you have picked a better choice to write a movie about The Last of Us? We’ll at least have a well written film here. If you need to be further assured, he also worked on the Uncharted series.

There currently is no confirmed director, but I can see wither Druckmann or Raimi filling that position. I wouldn’t oppose to it much either. Together with Screen Gems, I see a pretty good combination of people. All benefactors seem to be focused on horror and action, Raimi knows how to make a fun blockbuster, and Druckmann assures that we’ll have a faithful representation of the game in this movie.

The one place we have for speculation is the cast. Who will play Joel and Ellie? Let’s keep in mind that Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann have the absolute final say on casting choices.

We already have a good idea for Ellie as she already has a potential actress picked out: Maisie Williams. For those of you like me who don’t know, she is best known for playing Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. Now I just started watching the show, so I’m not too familiar with characters at the moment. However is this goes through, I couldn’t be happier. She looks like a perfect candidate, though my one concern is if she will look 14 by the time filming starts. Her character Arya is also known as a head-strong, tough character lending her perfectly to a role like Ellie.

Fans are reporters are also suggesting Elle Fanning of Maleficent and Ellen Page of X-Men: The Last Stand and Beyond: Two Souls among others for the role.  I’m not really against these choices either, but I like many others prefer Maisie Williams for the role.

As for Joel, that’s anyone’s guess. Popular opinion from the fans seem to lean on Hugh Jackman. I have to agree that Jackman seems like the perfect candidate. Especially when you consider his portrayal of Wolverine, he can definitely pull off Joel’s personality. This would be my first choice. Josh Brolin is another popular choice, and I wouldn’t oppose to him either given that he does have Joel’s look about him.

The one aspect I’m wondering about is how the story will be executed. I say this because movies nowadays go for about two-and-a-half hours give or take, especially major blockbusters like this one is trying to be.  The Last of Us is over 3 hours long with cutscenes alone; and this is without the action scenes represented through gameplay. Obviously there’s going to be elements that are cut, but which parts?

The game takes place in the span of a year, following 4 stories spread across the 4 seasons. Each season minus Spring introduced new characters that greatly impacted the story, such as Tess, David, Marlene, Tommy, Henry and Sam. The most efficient route is to either rush certain parts or cut them entirely. I’d imagine Henry and Sam’s part could be cut, Tommy’s would be side-lined, and David’s would be shortened. I think it would be a shame to do that, but time is the enemy of many movies. (Just ask The Amazing Spider-Man 2). I could be entirely wrong, though. I trust that Neil Druckman will represent all his characters in a way that makes sense.


 

Well, that’s my side of the whole movie. I’m insanely excited as I am nervous. Keep in mind my observations could entirely far-off, but this is the way I personally see it. Do you guys agree at all, or do you feel differently. Let me know so we can speculate together.

I’m Sbox180. Thanks for reading!

Sbox Soapbox: The Future of Video Game Movies

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It is abundantly clear that video games and films are phenomenal on their own, but horrible together. Between the mindless Resident Evil movies, the dull Alone in the Dark movie, and just the Super Mario Bros movie in general, these types of adaptions don’t have a good track record. Every now and then you get a decent or good one, like Mortal Kombat or Pokemon, but they aren’t too common.

But that doesn’t stop Hollywood from trying anyway, with a slew of game-to-movie adaptions on the way for years to come. To our surprise though, these movies are actually starting to look and sound good. Even if we don’t have much of an idea of how it will be, we still get excited for these movies just in the hope that it will be decent.

There are currently 21 planned productions of video game films. These include reboots of already-existing films like Mortal Kombat, Agent 47 and Tomb Raider, CG animated films like Ratchet & Clank and Sly Cooper, live-action films like Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed, and oddball choices like Angry Birds and Minecraft.

Can these movies be good? Is the world finally ready for video game films to be great? Is it even possible to have a great movie based on a game?

Well one thing to consider is what makes these films bad to begin with. The two most common complaints of these movies are that it failed to be a good movie or that it failed to represent the game. There are films like Tekken (which I actually like) and Resident Evil that took liberties with the source material to the point where it was unfavorable to fans, but could please some movie-goers. Then there are films like DOA: Dead or Alive and Bloodrayne that failed because the film itself was bad.

I think that hope for game movies were restored by Wreck-It Ralph. It was a big movie with a big name like Disney, featured actual video game characters, and captured the essence of what makes video games great while also telling a good story. What that film did right was understanding gaming, treating it with respect, and being general. It’s a great movie that got a lot of gamers gain hope once again for these adaptions.

But what’s different now from back then? Why have hope for these projects when so many others failed?

Well I believe that the change in attitude coincides with a change in gaming. Let’s compare Super Mario Bros with Assassin’s Creed. Not the actual games, but more the time both games were introduced. Games have come a long way from 1985 to 2007. For one, the way games tell stories takes a more cinematic approach now that wasn’t that common in the 80’s and even early 90’s. Super Mario Bros for example has a very weak story of two plumbers fighting a koopa to save a princess. There wasn’t much potential from the get-go. With Assassin’s Creed, you have a deep storyline told through easily recreatable cutscenes. There is a bunch more hope in one project from the other.

I’m not saying you can never make a game like Mario into a good movie. Japan already beat us to that with The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach, and there were a whole bunch more reasons our Mario movie was terrible. However, you can’t deny that games nowadays have more cinematic potential.

Not to say that these movies are guaranteed successes though. Max Payne, Hitman and Silent Hill also came from games with good stories that ended up bad movies. However, I’ll refer back to Wreck-It Ralph and say that the way filmmakers view video game movies can be forever changed. With that film’s success and popularity they can see what works and apply it to their projects. We are already seeing with the trailers for Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank that they are already taking lessons. So far it looks like those films will take their source more seriously.

But there is one other issue that may be difficult to tackle. Like I said, video games are taking more cinematic approaches to story-telling. How are these movies going to top these stories that are already renowned as they are? You have projects like The Last of Us and Metal Gear Solid that are considered the some of the best stories in gaming. On their own they can be films. It’ll be interesting to see how Hollywood attempts to build on these already existing stories when they are already well-told as they are.

Overall, I think that there is reason to have hope for movies based on video games. With how games are now, we are probably on the cusp of the first great game movie, but there is still reason for concern. We’ve been wrong about this before. Who knows where it’ll go from here, but we can only hope that direction is up.

What do you guys think? Are game movies just bound to be terrible no matter what, or is there a ray of hope somewhere that film and games can be one? Are you excited for any upcoming video game movie?

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!