My Voice: The problem with video game movies


   The new “Tomb Raider” movie is out now and while the trailers do paint a pretty picture, I can’t help but have a bad feeling about this. This is mainly because video game movies always go bad.

   Some of them do make profit at the box office, but they always get bad reviews. Some are better than others, but critics and viewers alike usually agree that video game movies are never any good, yet Hollywood keeps making them. Let’s look at some now.

   This all started on May 28, 1993 when the Super Mario Bros. movie came out. Most people say that it’s one of the worst movies ever made. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of finding that out by watching it, and I urge you not to make that same mistake.

   Earning $20,915,465, scoring a 4/10 on the International Movie Database (IMDB) and 15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it started the wave of bad video game movies to come.

   Hollywood then decided to go with a video game movie with more action; Mortal Kombat. There are two Mortal Kombat movies in total, the first coming out on Aug. 18, 1995 and “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” coming out Nov. 21, 1997.

   It was able to get a sequel because the first one made $122,195,920 at the box office and got 58/100 on Metacritic and 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Let’s be fair and consider that mixed reviews.

 1074217-483609-34  The sequel however got 3 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 11/100 on Metacritic and only earned just over $51 million. I have also seen these. If you’re thinking about watching them, DON’T.

   Believe it or not, this isn’t the first “Tomb Raider” movie to be made. Angelina Jolie took up the role of Lara Croft first. They made two “Tomb Raider” movies starring her, the first coming out on June 15, 2001 earning just under $275 million and the second on July 25, 2003 earning $156,505,388. They both got similar reviews around the 20’s on Rotten Tomatoes and around 5/10 on IMDB.

   Despite being action packed, it felt hollow. She didn’t have any charisma to her character and there wasn’t an Indiana Jones like atmosphere to it where you’re trying to solve puzzles to get to the treasure you’re looking for.

   Sure, watching Angelina Jolie raiding tombs can be fun, but was it as fun as the game it was based on? No.

   The real question is, “Why are they all so bad?”

   Maybe it’s because Hollywood just doesn’t understand what makes video games fun. Yes, some games are well known for its characters, cinematics and story telling, but what makes them fun is the interaction you have. You’re player 1. You’re in charge. You’re in control. As opposed to a movie where you just sit there and watch what’s being shown.

   When you progress in a video game and it gives more story to tell, you feel like you’ve earned it through hours of gameplay. With all the video game movies I’ve seen, it feels like some kid came in to your house, started playing on your PlayStation, Xbox or PC, and won’t let you play.

   Then there’s how long they are. A video game could be 10-20 hours long on average. That’s the length of around 10 featured films or more depending on what you’re playing. Not to mention you can replay it whenever you want after you’ve bought it, rather than having to pay to see a movie over and over again until it comes out on DVD, Blu-ray or on demand.

   Some may consider watching people play games on YouTube or on a livestream on Twitch to be a good comparison, but when we watch those, we care more about who’s playing it. It gives us the virtual equivalent of hanging out with your friends in a living room commiserating about whatever game you’re playing. There, it’s the personalities that matter, not so much as what their playing.

   Overall, these are two separate mediums of entertainment and trying to get them to cross boundaries just doesn’t seem to work since they work so differently from one another. We’ll see if Alicia Vikander can pull off being Lara Croft, or more than likely, it will be game over just like all the others were.

Samuel Christian

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