As a gamer, hearing about movie adaptations of my favorite video games used to get me excited. I remember when Sony adapted Resident Evil on the big screen, I was leaping with joy but left the theatre somewhat satisfied, but definitely not happy.
The director of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid movie, Jordan Vogt-Roberts shared his insights as to why video game adaptations are always almost received in a negative light. In an interview with GameSpot, Vogt-Roberts has this to say.
"I think that [filmmakers] have looked at a video game movie and said, 'Oh, that's flashy! That's cool!'...and there's very little desire to really understand the tone and the atmosphere," he said. "A big part of it is not fully committing to the source material, being able to say 'No, this is what makes this great, so let's figure out how we translate it."
This insight is evident on almost all video game movies existing right now. Vogt-Roberts believe that film makers should be able to understand the core theme of a game, how it makes the players feel, and be able to translate it into a movie.
"I just don't think that the right filmmakers have been paired with video game adaptations yet--people who have had their DNA and their brains re-wired by games," he said. "If you grew up on video games, there's a language to those games that I think seeps into your brain at a very young age."
"For me, it really does go down to that simple thing of: What does a game make you feel?" he continued. "I don't care if you're playing Halo or Gears of War or Call of Duty or Destiny or Zelda or Metroid--all of those games make you feel something specific. Each of them has a definable difference in what they make you feel and how they make you feel those things. What I'm fascinated in is saying 'How do you intelligently, and in a cinematic language, recreate that feeling?
Hearing this from the director of a future movie based on one of the well-loved games out there makes me feel better and confident in the project. I believe Vogt-Roberts is heading in the right direction. Of course, we should not expect the upcoming movie to be a scene by scene translation of Metal Gear Solid since the game itself is almost like a film with its iconic long cutscenes.
The fact that he is determined to understand the game’s essence, and make the viewers feel the tension of sneaking around enemies is a promising idea. Maybe we would finally get a movie that is faithful to its roots and doesn’t just slap the game’s title, add some iconic characters, and call it a video game adaptation. Yes, I’m talking to you, Anderson.