Is the 2016 Video Game Film Adaptation Line-Up Doomed?

Will the Ratchet & Clank movie be the video game film to turn the tide of a long line of poor quality adaptations? That was the question being asked by many gamers who are also filmgoers and to our disappointment, the answer was no. The first game-to-film movie adaptation of 2016 was kicked off with the utter failure of Ratchet and Clank, which cost Rainmaker $10 Million. Does the utter failure that was Ratchet & Clank The Movie send up flairs for impending multi-million dollar doom the rest of the video game adaptations still to come?

Ratchet & Clank premiered in April and while those looking to see a faithful adaption of the video game reboot will enjoy it just fine, therein lies the issue. The Ratchet & Clank movie was a carbon copy of the video game re-imagining and somewhere along the line the magic of this film was lost and ended up being nothing more than a watchable movie at best. It didn’t help that the film went toe-to-toe with the likes of Zootopia and The Jungle Book, contributing to its paltry gross of $8.2 million after three weekends in the U.S box office, which is the first major blow to the video game adaption comeback.

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Coming up next down the line of 2016 movie adaptations is Angry Birds and if you’ve seen the trailer for the film already, then you probably shuddered just as much as I did at the very mention of it. The trailer was hard to watch, but to give the creators credit, coming up with an interesting storyline about birds at war with green pigs is a tough feat to accomplish. Nevertheless, The Angry Bird’s movie will turn out to be a typical case of too little, too-late. The time for this movie to succeed was back in the early ’10s when the popular mobile game was still relevant. Too much time has passed for this film to succeed at the box office and with Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and The Nice Guys set to go up against this film, it will fall into ambiguity marking the second blow to the fabled comeback.

World of Warcraft is yet another contender in the never-ending struggled to prove that there is a place for movie adaptations on the silver screen and with a director like Duncan Jones behind the wheel, the film stands at least a fighting chance. Jones was the man behind films such as Source Code and Moon, both of which were lauded by critics and audiences alike and it helps that Jones himself is a major fan of the game franchise. Nevertheless, this hasn’t bought over gamers. A lot of flak the film is currently getting is labeling it as a “CGI fest” and most general moviegoer audience’s lack of knowledge for the property means not many people are talking much about Warcraft.

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There’s also Sly Cooper and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter coming in January, but with Rainmaker’s Ratchet and Clank flop, there isn’t much faith that Sly will do much better at the box office. The animation looks off and the story will probably be as flat as Ratchet’s while Resident Evil on the other hand is just a mess of a franchise to begin with. With Resident Evil 7 (the game) already promising to return to its horror roots, gamers are not going to be willing to watch yet another hour and a half rendition of Resident Evil 6 (the game) live action movie. So let’s chalk those up as two more blows to the video game adaptation comeback we all want so badly to work.

The only hope for video game film adaptations at this point is Assassin’s Creed and even though Ubisoft has tossed their hat as far as they could possibly throw it into the Hollywood ring with Ubisoft Pictures, they still have to play nice with 21st Century Fox who for sure had some say on what was put into the film. The main reason these adaptations are doomed to fail and the golden age of video game adaptation is not happening this year is this: “The emotional reasons people play games like uncharted and last of us, versus angry birds, is something that would be very helpful for us as we develop and market these properties. Would they want the same emotional experience from the films, or has playing the games satisfied that and they’re actually looking for something different in an adaptation?” said Amy Pascal in a leaked Sony Email.

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Although Amy Pascal has since been fired from Sony Pictures and has no sway on these films anymore, executives just like her, who do not play nor understand video games or their characters and storylines, still exist within the industry. Hollywood producers don’t care about the fanbase and if you think they care about us then you are sorely mistaken. What matters most is how do we turn a profit and how do we market these properties? These are the only questions that matter. Not the art. Not the story. Not even the message.

Now, it’s not impossible for a video game adaptation to get it right, although it may seem like that with basically every single adaptation that has been released since the dawn of movies based on hit game franchises. It’s just when people who are not familiar with the property are working on the story and feel of the film nine out of ten times that film will flop harder than a fat man belly flopping into a kiddy pool. Not everyone in the business knows the recipe to synthesis the perfect adaptation formula, but all it takes is one good film to get things started; just look at what came out of the first Iron Man film.