“Never Send A Director To Do A Gamer’s Job”

Dear Mr Paul W. S. Anderson,

While I like to think that I am a somewhat tolerant person, I have to admit I am concerned. It appears to me that a pattern is forming; one that cannot go without some comment or word of caution.

I am a gamer you see, not occasional or fleeting, but a fully devoted ‘this is for life’ kind of deal gamer; through and through, and always will be. Just because my ‘hobby’ involves the aid of a computer, doesn’t mean that my thoughts or my industry can be toyed with so recklessly, in the way you have done time and time again.

My problem, Mr Anderson, is that you seem to have a penchant for ruining video game based movies, in an epic proportion. Despite their monetary profit (mainly created through people similar to myself who naively trust you to do a good job) it is in fact evident that your movies tend to suck.

The man in question, doing a questionable job

I feel it my duty to tell you that just because you tried out a video game for five minutes, doesn’t mean you can release a half thought out movie with the same title and get away with it unnoticed.

Let us go back to Mortal Kombat; I know it was 1995 but it was still a tack-fest. Considering you chose to immortalise in film a game that was renowned for its violence and gore, you still opted to make a ‘15’. Newsflash, Paul, kids that are underage will find even more reason to go and see an ‘18’ rated movie simply because it’s an ‘18’, more so if it’s actually good – you don’t need to dumb it down! Credit where credit is due, it wasn’t as bad as De Souza’s Street Fighter, but that doesn’t make yours a movie marvel!

"Um, what's my fatality again?"

For the sake of keeping to point, I will swiftly skim past Alien vs. Predator and move promptly onto Resident Evil, where my biggest grudge lies.

You sir, are blasphemous.

If Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, and David Yates had done to Harry Potter what you have done to Resident Evil, they would currently be hanging from the gallows at the Tower of London with a lynch mob millions strong beating them to death with broom sticks. Just because your adaptation stems from a game instead of a novel, does not give you the right to reconstruct it entirely but give it the same name.

Your films have little to do with the actual plots that we have played through, and miss their point entirely. As well as making the movie and its sequels the Milla/Alice show (an odd coincidence, considering you’re married to her isn’t it?) you have completely disregarded what made the video games so popular.

Isolation. Umbrella. Survival Horror.

You don’t need to invent a girl, with a string of plot twists that revolve around her, to swoop in and save the world from a zombie apocalypse – that’s what Jill Valentine is for! The fact that you neglected her and Chris Redfield from the start is unforgiveable, as was making them redundant in screen time to said ‘swooping girl’ in comparison.

As your movies have progressed the relation to Resident Evil has become more and more diluted by the scene, and yet the franchise, in all its 28 game glory, has so much depth and substance that your films could have been bursting at their zombie seams.

The Executioner: walks as blindly into a job as Paul W. S. Anderson

Having recently watched the trailer for ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ I’m somewhat relieved that you seem to have at least picked up Resident Evil 5 and played it for more than 5 minutes; your knowledge of the earlier titles seems to have stretched little further than the back of the case. The presence of the chest implant, even in Claire Redfield could prove to be an interesting twist, and finally after three films you have realised the potential of Albert Wesker to be the ultimate zombie movie villain – well done Mr Anderson, you finally played the original game long enough to realise he was a double crosser eh?

I still haven’t forgiven you for the poor excuse that the Resident Evil films have been on our movie screens, but now that you’re once again set to work with the on/off ‘Castlevania’ movie let me tell you this:

* The protagonist must be a Belmont, and has to be male. Despite her links to Eastern Europe, the home of Dracula – Milla CANNOT play the hero.
* Give the character some kind of whip – but don’t go all Indiana Jones on us.
* Set it in a castle
* Get the script right
* Above all else, actually play the games before you write it!

If you really need any more help there is one other suggestion I can give you.

A film maker by the name of Kevin Tancharoen recently created tidal waves in the movie and gaming universe by directing a short film entitled Mortal Kombat:Rebirth.

YouTube it.

Everything about it is right; the grittyness, the gore, the adaptation of the game, the characters and their backgrounds into a movie plot, all because he knew the games and understood what they meant to the gaming world. My advice to you would be to relinquish all your future directing duties to this man, and others like him who know what it means to put a game on the big screen.

All this from a man that previously directed Fame, and with a budget of only $7,500; it’s amazing what passion can do to motivate you.

If I ever get my lottery win, Mr Anderson, I think you should know that a Resident Evil movie, how it should have been done, will be making its way to an independent film festival near you.

You have been warned.








9 responses to ““Never Send A Director To Do A Gamer’s Job””

  1. Leon avatar

    I totally agree! With Castlevania being one of my favourite series’, Id love to see a movie.

    But to get it right, it’s got to be all about the Belmont rivalry with the Lord of Darkness – it’s got to have dialogue where the lead uses proper english, isn’t 17 years old and actually reflects what the Belmont Clan (and the Vampire Killer heritage) are all about.

    If it were up to me, I’d love to see a movie covering the war that ended Dracula, with Julius Belmont. It’s the one major part of the ‘vania timeline that’s been omitted from game format – being explained in the Sorrow games but not actually covered as of yet.

    I mean, it almost writes itself.

  2. Michael avatar

    Yeah, but this is the thing, they have to make films that appeal to non-gamers too. People who don’t know the canon and whole backstory.

    Even if they aren’t a faithful adaptation of the game in question, they could arguably make non-gamers want to check out the source material. More recruits! XD

    In saying that (for the sake of argument ;)), I really don’t get how it’s so tough to transfer game to film. Most have a plot that would presumably move easily from one medium to the other, no? Good guy(s), bad guy(s), save the world/universe/girl/boy (delete according to gender)/all of them.

    In saying THAT, comic book fans can make *possibly* crappy comic book movies. Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil, anyone?

    “If I ever get my lottery win, Mr Anderson, I think you should know that a Resident Evil movie, how it should have been done, will be making its way to an independent film festival near you.”


  3. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I’ve enjoyed the Resident Evil movies to an extent. I don’t think they protrayed Jill Velentine well or gave her enough screen time like you say, Milla is the star and therefore ce-creates some of the familiar scenes, (ie: Claire in the intro of Codename Veronica).

    Really didn’t like what they did with Nemesis, or moreso how Milla was able to reason with/befriend Nemesis.

    Still I do watch the movies… but it does take me a while to get around to them.

  4. TeldurUK avatar

    The Resident Evil films were very disappointing. Like you said, with so much material to work with, why on earth did he instead decide to practically create his own take on the series.

    Speaking of game-to-movie titles, I went and bought the Super Mario Bros film (yep, the one with Bob Hoskins!). Another great example of how NOT to bring games to our cinema screens. A poor film, but one I felt I needed to add to my DVD collection!

    Mr Anderson can breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t one of his.

  5. Gilo avatar

    Nice blog! As it happens, I wrote my uni dissertation on (more or less) the exact same subject, so I totally feel your pain on the game-to-film woes we are forced (and oddly compelled) to endure.

    In my opinion, the biggest problem – nay, sin – these films are committing is not even trying to consider the most important character arc in all videogames: the player-character arc.

    When you play a game for the first time, generally you’re not as good at the game as you are by the time you reach the game’s conclusion. You probably won’t know how high or far your character can jump, how many bullets it takes to drop a particular foe, or their attack patterns.

    As you play the game, you learn all of this. It’s called ‘mastery’, and mastering a game’s controls and its rules is one of the things we gamers love about playing games. It’s very satisfying, and means we get to gradually turn the characters under our control into superheroes; it’s one of the many reasons we grow to hold these characters dear, while also making us consider the wafer-thin plots of some games (*some* games!) to be timeless masterpieces of storytelling.

    Unfortunately, the characters in game-to-film adaptations seem to be playing with cheat codes enabled. In the Tomb Raider films, Angelina Jolie doesn’t bat an eyelid, no matter how ridiculous the foe she is faced with (and not even at Daniel Craig’s fairly ropey American accent). The cinematic Prince of Persia was a free-running pro more or less from birth. They had no room to grow, to improve, to become more than they were at the start of their adventures – the literal opposite of what we go through when these characters are placed under our control.

    I think this disconnect was really nicely summarised in the second Resident Evil movie. There’s a moment towards the beginning where some survivors of the Raccoon City zombie outbreak gather in a creepy church, stalked from the shadows by a group of lickers. They’re all a bit afraid…as you would be. If this were a game, you’d be trying to figure out if you had enough bullets to tackle the mutated foes, if there were too many of them for you to handle. You’d feel the triumph of safely sneaking past them, conserving your ammo for your next (inevitably more difficult) challenge – or of successfully confronting them, living to fight another day.

    Back in the film however…the tension is up. The lickers are about to strike and it’s not looking good for the survivors. And then – BOOM! – Alice bursts through a stained-glass window astride a motorbike, parking it handily upon one of the afore-mentioned lickers. A few bullets, backflips and explosions later, the lickers are no more and the threat level (and our interest as an audience) has been reduced to zero. The most ‘Resi’ elements (danger, vulnerability, the against-the-odds nature of the game) are irreversibly diluted by the least ‘Resi’ element (a superhero with Matrix-like abilities and infinite ammo).

    Mortal Kombat, for all it’s faults, is a surprisingly close adaptation in terms of tone, plot and the visuals of the game, itself a gaudy tacky mess (that strangely worked) of cartoon characters and cartoon violence. Both film and game were loose retellings of Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon (e.g. Bolo = Goro, Han = Shang Tsung), which itself didn’t have the most sophisticated of plots. In terms of a player’s experience, I think it’s the best of a (pretty damn terrible) bad bunch.

    Who knows…one day folks, one day we will have our day in the multiplex. We will walk out with a big grin and we will tell the non-gamer doubters that we KNEW there was a good game-to-film adaptation out there somewhere. That it WAS possible to take what we love, to identify everything that makes the games we hold dear as incredible as they are and translate that to the silver screen – in a way that works for film.

    And all it will take is Loz’s winning lottery ticket and getting the right minds working on the project! ^_^

  6. Simon avatar

    Your thoughts mirror mine on Resident Evil Loz. I feel like the guy in Clerks 2 who goes, “Fookin A” during the LOTR bit.

  7. Simon avatar

    And everyone else is right too. btw.

  8. Paul avatar

    I would agree with all the points listed.

    Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter & Resident Evil were all sins against the games they are based on. Had the followed the original plots of the games then they may have been more acceptable.

    For example, the film Gamer. Whilst not based on a game itself it is based around the 3PS genre. It is by no stretch of the imagination an outstanding film, it doesn’t pretend to be based on a particular game. It uses the gaming principle as its base only.
    The way that the character appears to have outstanding accuracy etc is due to the player controlling his abilities knowing the tricks of the “game” etc. During the section where the lead character has “control” of his abilities he doesn’t excel at shooting etc, but has still “learnt” from being controlled.

    As for the point mentioned by Gilo that you are “not as good as the game”, this (I believe) is due to the player and not the game itself. For example if an experienced COD player picks up the latest COD game, it is not guaranteed that the player will not excel. Generally you will improve during the game, but this is your own ability improving and learning the maps.

    In some games (for example Fallout 3) you do have to develop your abilities during the game and this should be reflected in the film (if they make one).

Leave a Reply