Spudmonkey’s take on: Uwe Boll

For anyone unfamiliar with the name Uwe Boll – consider yourselves lucky. Stop reading here. You’ll be better off in ignorant bliss. Alright, for those of you still with me, you know that Uwe Boll is possibly the worst director of all time. He’s also a pretty deplorable person (having literally set up and rigged boxing fights between himself and critics who trashed his movies). This man has single-handedly bastardized two video game franchises, both BloodRayne and Alone in the Dark, through his movies. Both were so unbelievably bad that they earned 4% and 1% on RottenTomatoes.com, respectively.

To be fair, it should be noted that the stories from both video game sources weren’t exactly amazing. However, they were compelling enough and they managed to culture a following in the gaming community that outright rejected the films after they hit screens. Boll destroyed that and managed to create two totally lifeless, failed blockbusters. It’s what was done with so many comic book characters in the movies recently (case in point: the Ghostrider and the Fantastic Four movies), but there’s no chance that it will end so long as some producer has the chance to gain some quick cash by whipping out a quick, poorly crafted film.

The reason I talk about all of these things is that I feel like the entities who own these video game properties should take a little more pride in their work, and not agree to outsource the creation of a film in their universe by some jackass director who has no intention of sticking to the heart and soul of the original intellectual property. As well as that, though, we as video gamers need to start demanding better story lines for our interactive fiction, so that the developers know that we do want those things. Bioshock is a recent example of a video game where the fiction and the universe surrounding the video game were amazingly well thought out. It received more perfect scores from all the respected reviewers than any other game of 2007. This is good, but if we are to continue experiencing great interactive storytelling, we need to keep this up and encourage the next great game (Mass Effect, maybe?) as much as possible.


The Search for Gold

I can rmember a long time ago when I was only a 7th grader, and i bought my first playsation. The game i wanted to buy was not in the store, so i picked up a game with a really hot chick on the front, and hoped it would be good. Some obvious reluctance shown across my father’s face as i threw the game up on the register to purchase. Nodding his head, we went home and my brother nad I embarked on a journey through the world of Lara Croft.

Beleive it or not, two years later i saw the same girl, posted on the movie theater’s entrance, sexily staring at me with e “behind the shouler” look. Angelina Jolie, bustily clad in the famous white tanktop and excessively short shorts, clutching on two her oversized pistols was the deliverer of this glance. Astonished that a vidoegame could become a good movie, I did what any seventh grader did when he wasnted to see a movie he didn’t know if he could see with just anyone, I found a date.  When i arrived, and awkwardly told my 7th grade buddies we were getting tickets for the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie, they were just as giddy as I was. (later I learned that this was because of the size of Miss Jolie’s breasts) Beyond the reasons of my friends, I went to explore the creation of the Lara Croft character into film.

I was shocked to see that the demographic of the movie. As I walked into the theatre, i was met with 40 and 50 year old men, eager to see the actress in a semi-nude scene. Grossed out, i took my seat and watched the film. The Cinemotography was almost comic-book like, with every scene like a new comic book adding to an overall series. I was not impressed. I too, was only amused by this scene the old men were there for. The characters were so shallow, so transparent, it was hard to beleive anything they did/said. Everything in the movie was spectacle, and the line as deep as a puddle.  Though entertained, I wish i had those 10 bucks back.

Matt Shelton

Sometimes I See Bad Movies on the Weekend

It was just this past weekend that my R.A. came into my room and said something I’ll never forget…or at least that I haven’t forgotten yet.

He said, “You wanna go see Resident Evil 3?”

My answer was of course yes. So we grabbed some money and another guy from my hall and embarked on a twenty-minute odyssey to the movie theater. The movie was of course a horrible action movie. It has always surprised me how movies that can do so much with their settings just throw it all away in the name of pointless action. The t-virus with its strange mutations, including Alice’s psionic powers and how they affect her, the mobs of zombies themselves, and the umbrella corporation’s unlimited power are all rich places for a little social critique and a lot of character development. But I suppose when Resident Evil 2 was rated PG-13 for non-stop violence (I kid you not), the lack of most of these things was to be expected.

What I didn’t expect was zombie crows being demolished with a flamethrower: pretty bamf if you ask me.
But a lot of action movies have possibly interesting expositions that just turn into shells for pointless violence, so what? I expected it to be a pointless action movie, and you, reader…whoever you are, probably should have to. But something hit me the other day when Professor Clayton gave us our blog topic that hadn’t really struck me before, and that is that the Resident Evil games provide all these things the movies should provide. That is, they provide a lot more character development, plot, and identification with the characters than the movies do, which is really not something I have come to expect from video games. I’m not quite sure if it’s the games’ victory or the movies’ defeat that provides this juxtaposition, but I’m gonna go ahead and guess that it’s a lotta bit of both. We’ve already covered how the movie is just an action filled empty-husk made with a little bit of exposition and a little bit of character development, but what of the games.

I’ve played a few different games in the series, and they all share the creepy noises and jump-out-at-you moments that the movies love to use, but the only game I have truly perused in its entirety is Resident Evil 4 for the Nintendo Gamecube. The game, as opposed to the movie, limits its number of characters and provides a much longer time for the player to become accustomed to them (as any video game worth its salt will take longer than 2 hours to finish). Granted, most of the time there isn’t much character development when you’re running around as Leon owning zombies with the “Red 9,” but just experiencing the terror he is experiencing makes lets the player identify with Leon.

In addition to simple exposure difference, Resident Evil 4 has a number of movie clips that provide dialog, character development, and plot advancement. Not only do these clips provide do this, but they are also interactive. At the beginning, when I was taking a break from the game and put my controller down and was subsequently beheaded by a zombie with a giant ax when I wasn’t ready to press A, this interactiveness was really annoying, but in retrospect it made me identify more with Leon. It’s not exactly me being there, but it’s much closer to being with Leon than just sitting back and watching a movie.

But interactivity is really what video games are all about, so back to dialog, development, advancement. There was probably zero meaningful dialog in Resident Evil 3. They speak a little bit to strange “t-virus mutations” whereas the video game slowly reveals the strange cult los illuminados and the evil las plagas that they worship. As one plays through the game, they find out where the plagas come from and how they’re connected to the umbrella corporation and what they intend to do. During this time they meet dethroned lords of an ancient family and remorseful scientists who aided the evil cause and the president’s daughter. The characters have desires, goals, and feelings.

In the movie, the only real desire is to survive and destroy the umbrella corporation at all costs.

Without going into detail, let’s just say I find this to be the truth with most of the video games vs. movies made from video games comparisons. Most games are not quite so developed perhaps, but almost all the movies do just as bad a job as the Resident Evil movies. It doesn’t have to be this way. Especially with Resident Evil I feel that the setting can be opened up into, if not meaningful, extremely good movies, but as of now, that hasn’t happened. For now, it seems to me that movies should leave video games to themselves, as they do a better job of things generally better done in movies (you don’t expect as much dynamic character development in a video game as you do in a movie) than the movies that copy them do.

-PChis (Melocotones)

Misconceptions of the Video Game Genre

People are too harsh when judging movies based on video games. They shouldn’t walk into a premier of Mortal Kombat, and then complain when it’s not as good as the Departed; the two movies serve completely different purposes. Most video games are designed to be exciting and action-packed, because it is more fun for gamers to be running, jumping, and shooting than simply walking and talking, as they might in a game of a more subdued nature. This energetic quality of most video games creates a better interactive environment for the gamer. Few people would want to play a video game based on Garden State or The Notebook. Even though they were very popular movies, their plots would not be conducive to entertaining video game interactions. In general, drama movies would not make good video games. There is simply not enough substance in the plot that a video game developer could make interactive in a game.

Movies that have been made into video games have more exciting interactions, and their plots usually fall into action, sci-fi, or fantasy genres. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, for example, both involve magic spell casting and fighting. Conversely, video games, active in nature, are better suited to be turned into action movies rather than drama, suspense, or comedy movies. When a producer decides to make a movie based on a video game, he is very limited to the genre of the movie he wishes to make. If he changes the script too much from the original exciting plot of the video game, to perhaps make it more mentally and emotionally engaging with extra dialogue and and less gripping action, fans will call it unfaithful and the film will lose money. For example, Resident Evil is a great video game; who wouldn’t enjoy running around and shooting bad guys exposed to a virus that turns them into cannibal zombies? I would argue that the movie Resident Evil is equally as entertaining as the video game; there are dynamic action scenes throughout the movie that make it fun to watch. Movie critics should take movies of the video game genre for what they are. They aren’t meant to connect with viewers in a deep and introspective way, as do movies that are typically given 5 stars by reviewers. A faithful movie made from a video game is not going to win an award, but it will definitely be entertaining.




For several years, Pokemon was the biggest thing in gaming, expanding from two original Game Boy games (red and blue) in 1998, to other consoles, a trading card game, and even a TV series.  And that’s not to mention the hundreds of types of Pokemon toys that children (myself included) were constantly nagging their parents for.  I embarrassingly remember being such a Pokemaniac that my username in the game was Pokejon (lame, I know).  About a year after the first game’s debut, Pokemon released its first movie, “Pokemon The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back,” which was an absolute hit at the box office, where it became the highest grossing anime film in America.  It still remains uncontested in the box office after almost a decade.  Two other Pokemon movies have been created, but neither have generated even close to as much hype as the first.  I would assume because they were released while Pokemon’s popularity was on the decline.  After 100 more Pokemon were added to the original 151, people began to rapidly lose interest, probably because they were all too lazy to memorize 100 more Pokemon.  I know that was the case for me, at least.  After selling my Pokemon card collection for 200 Kuwaiti Dinars (around 650 bucks?), I officially quit Pokemon.  My mom eased the transition by breaking my Game Boy, throwing it against the wall.


Pokemon’s first movie was so successful because not only did it grab the attention of all Pokemon fans, but it also attracted non-Pokemaniacs to watch.  It’s kind of like how everyone watches the “Harry Potter” or “Lord of the Rings” movies, whether they read the books or not.  The movie, itself, was not what you would expect from a Game Boy game.  The plot was deep and meaningful and it was evident that a massive amount of work was put into the script.  For those of you who haven’t watched the movie, it’s about Mewtwo and his creation.  A bunch of scientists employed by Giovanni (the equivalent to Voldemort and Sauron, for you Harry Potter and LOTR fans) seek to create a genetically enhanced super-clone of Mew, probably the rarest Pokemon.  The result is Mewtwo, who’s so powerful he could probably one-shot Godzilla.  After discovering that he is an experiment and a clone, Mewtwo goes berserk, killing all the scientists, destroying the laboratory, and escaping in search of the purpose of his life.  He decides that all Pokemon and their masters are evil by nature and plans to kill all of them and repopulate the world with cloned Pokemon.  He rebuilds the lab and creates his own army of clones and the action begins. Thankfully, the ending is a happy one, but I would rather not spoil it.


The movie reflected the Pokemon game effectively, by showing in many scenes the essential concept of how Pokemon can be “caught” or “captured.” The movie was also deeply influenced by the Pokemon TV episodes.  Some people go far enough to say the movie was simply a longer Pokemon episode with a more elaborate story.  I agree somewhat, as the animations and voices of the characters were exactly the same.  It can be a good or bad thing depending on who the viewer is.  But, either way, I believe it’s safe to say that the Pokemon movie represents the game it comes from a lot better than most other movies based on games.  It was a great movie to watch again and I strongly recommend it to all of you who haven’t watched it before.


So much time has passed that I think we’ve all forgot how prominent Pokemon used to be.  Here are some interesting facts (from http://pokemonaholic.com/pokehistory.html) that help remind us how dominantly Pokemon took over the gaming industry:

  • Six of the industry’s 10 top-selling video games in 2000 were Pokemon titles.

  • Seven Pokemon titles were responsible for 10 percent of all software units sold in year 2000.

  • As of February 2000, there were 12 Pokemon games for both Nintendo 64 and Game Boy.

  • By the beginning of 2000, nearly 27 million Pokemon games had been sold in the United States and more than 74 million Pokemon games had been sold worldwide.


Video Game Movies – Not exactly Oscar worthy

Everyone that plays video games knows that there are a ton of games that are based off of movies. Most of the time, they are based off of movies that did very successfully in the box-office (popular but not necessarily quality films), using the film’s media buzz to hype the game. Exciting action and adventure movies usually make for pretty solid video games and games like Chronicles of Riddick and Goldeneye can even be argued as being superior to the movies they were based on.  However, when the opposite transition is made and movies are based off of video games, the resulting film is almost definitely dreadful.

Video game movies are known as b-class films with low budgets, horrific acting and even worse plots. Unfortunately, for the most part, this stereotype holds true (as illustrated by the Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter movies.) Those movies in particular are based off of tremendously popular games, yet they failed to receive any sort of praise or popularity. I think the main reason they don’t receive appreciation from either gamers or critics is because they tend to stray too much from the game itself. Many video games are lacking in plot and storyline, so directors feel the need to add to and to change the story. That is where they lose the essence of what made the game so popular and in turn, make it a mediocre movie.

The only video game movie I have ever actually enjoyed watching was Mortal Kombat. It may not have been the best acted and the plot pretty much sucked, but at least it was exactly like the game was. Mortal Kombat, being a one-on-one fighting game, could not have been better portrayed than as it was: a sequence of a bunch fighting scenes complete with a breathtaking techno soundtrack. Exactly like the game, fighters entered into a tournament where they fought their way through villain after villain. They key to my liking the movie, as a fan of the game, was how it didn’t try to be more than the game.

As we await the release of Hitman, and possibly Halo, we can only hope that the directors stay true to the games and that the “something” that made them so appealing isn’t lost in an attempt to make a critical success.  They’re video game movies after all, not Oscar winners.

Videogames -> Movies

As a general rule, turning videogames into movies isn’t the best idea as most movies turn out horrid. One of my favorite quotes is from GameSpy.com. They write “Doing a top ten list of the best video game to motion picture translations is like doing a top ten on the most appealing types of cancer: even if you experience one of the “better” ones, you’re still going to experience some significant pain and discomfort.” Although true for the most part, I found a few of these vidoegame to movie translations quite enjoyable.

My first pick has to go to the Tomb Raider movies. I really enjoyed the action sequences and I didn’t think the plot was all that bad. Of course, I’ve never played the actual Tomb Raider games, which probably allowed me to enjoy the movie. In a close second is Mortal Kombat. I did play the MK games, but there never really seemed to be a plot so it was a lot easier to make one up. The action scenes and the cheesy lines are some of the best parts of this movie in my opinion. Although two of my favorite characters, Sub-Zero and Scorpion, made it into the movie, I was a little disappointed that Cyrex and Smoke weren’t included as they were my favorite characters. Third place has to be awarded to the Pokemon movies, which I’ve only seen parts of, but seemed very similar to the TV series. Yes, I’ve watched some of the Pokemon TV shows, and they weren’t half bad.

Although there are some good videogame to movie productions, I tend to avoid them. However, when a movie based on a game I really liked comes out, it’s often hard to resist (Who’s pumped for the Hitman movie?). I’ll end with a quote about the “Worst Videogame to Movie Production” as ranked by GameSpy.com: “Super Mario Brothers is kind of like Hell, except I’m pretty sure Hell has a better production designer.” – Chris Park