If you've been following movie news of late, you'll know that 2015 is guaranteed to be, arguably, the biggest blockbuster year so far. With the as-yet untitled Batman v Superman movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron and more already lined up, it's hard to imagine that there's going to be a shortage of comic-book films in the next while. And yet, surprisingly, there will be. Reports from the most recent San Diego Comic-Con suggest that audiences are, unsurprisingly, becoming tired of the constant barrage of comic-book movies and reboots.
While more adult-orientated sci-fi fare is slowly coming back into vogue and early reviews of 'Gravity' are suggesting it could be an Oscar contender, there's a feeling that we could
be moving away from the idea of comic-book movies dominating the sci-fi genre and heading towards something more thought-provoking and original. Not so, unfortunately.
In the space of just a few months, there's been at least two large-scale films announced with substantial backing behind them. Due to begin production in 2014 is World of Warcraft - based on the hugely-successful MMORPG (that's Massively Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Game) of the same name. Some footage has already debuted at San Diego Comic-Con and what's even more interesting is the director behind it. Duncan Jones (director of Moon and son of David Bowie) has been tapped to direct the bigscreen adaptation and has been incessantly tweeting and hinting about it for some time. Given his enthusiasm for the game itself and his love / knowledge of videogames, it seems like it's a winner.
Assassin's Creed is also due for the cinematic treatment and Michael Fassbender has been charging forward with this, or rather pushing silently through crowds (fans of the game will get that joke). There seems to be no end to the talent being thrown at this particular production, and not only is Fassbender starring in it, he's also producing it. Scott Frank, who previously wrote Out of Sight, The Wolverine and Minority Report, has signed on to write the screenplay. Frank Marshall, who worked on Indiana Jones and pretty much every major blockbuster, has been negotiating to produce the film as well.
So why is Hollywood suddenly trying to make videogame movies happen? Did they not see Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat? Or Resident Evil, for that matter? The reasoning is very similar to that behind all those comic-book movies. There's already a built-in audience that will buy tickets to see these films regardless of whether they're good or not. The videogame business is huge and far more profitable than comic-books or merchandising alone.
The last Assassin's Creed videogame shipped over SEVEN MILLION units and many considered it to be somewhat inferior to other games out at the moment.
But will it work? It's hard to tell at this early stage. If we consider early comic-book movies, such as The Shadow, Christopher Reeve's Superman or, to some extent, Tim Burton's Batman, they were never taken seriously. After all, the filmmakers themselves didn't take them seriously. How could they? They were comic-books. Something for children to enjoy.
But now, as this "millenial" generation begins to mature, it's clear that videogames are maturing with their audience. This generation that is reaching adulthood is the first to have
videogames as part of their makeup. Therefore, it stands to reason that videogames and the stories they tell are becoming more developed and intricate.
Videogames like Bioshock, Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire are actively influenced by movies. Most gamers liken the experience to an interactive movie, something that immerses and entertains in equal measure. Thus, taking this and turning into a movie seems easy. Yet, as we all know, there has never been a videogame film that's been worth talking about. If the talent and passion that was applied to making films like The Dark Knight or Iron Man was put to adapting Bioshock or Borderlands, we could get something truly spectacular.