It almost seems too easy to criticise movies based on video games - like shooting fish in a barrel. Even despite massive hype and major talent, most recent big-budget attempts, Assassin's Creed and Warcraft, have left audiences thoroughly unimpressed due to being all style and no real substance. And the worrying thing is that this was still actually an improvement over many of their godawful predecessors.
There are a number of mistakes that video game adaptations seem incapable of avoiding and the strange thing is, the majority of them are very easy to dodge. But then, when you combine a basic misunderstanding of the source material, a lack of competent writers and a cast that clearly doesn’t want to be there, it's hard to imagine anything but weak results.
One day there will be a movie based on a game franchise that will make audiences rejoice worldwide as the creative team behind it finally gives it the effort that it deserves. Right? RIGHT?
Until then they’ll be forced to sit through the same missteps and glaring problems again and again until everyone loses the will to complain.
8. Prioritising Visuals Over Story
There’s a lot to be said about the importance of visuals when it comes to adapting a video game - after all, the source material itself is often judged solely on how pretty it is at the highest framerate possible. So it's no exaggeration to say that retaining the tone and aesthetic of what made the original so special is one of the golden rules if you want to keep fans happy.
Add on the fact that many games take place in fantastical settings with an array of interesting fictional races and you would be forgiven for thinking that the film’s team have already had most of their work done for them when it’s time to get started on the inevitable adaptation.
The issue is that with all of this readily available information to draw from, the desire to write a compelling story seems to vanish. Duncan Jones’ Warcraft was a fine visual effort, but it still ended up being bloated, melodramatic and too concerned with its CGI orcs looking sad to be much more than a visually pleasing extended cutscene.
It’s all well and good making a movie look exactly like the game it's adapting but there also has to be something vaguely interesting going on in the world.
You can spend as much time getting animated alien landscapes just so, but there needs to be a half decent story to make audiences want to visit.