I can’t express enough how many times I’ve gone to a video game adapted movie and left the theater like I just paid 10-20 dollars for a Sunday afternoon cable TV special. Combine this happening at a much higher frequency along with the types of rude people you can encounter at theaters, I almost simply stop going at all and wait for home release. However, that’s not what Im here to complain and bitch about. Im here to actually kind of express how excited I am for smaller budget gaming mini-series episodes that have been released and how this should give us hope for fantastic possibilities for the future in cinema.
Case and point, a year ago the small mini web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy was relased on YouTube. With a mature rating and high view count, it was well recieved with its audience. The show’s premise originated with director, Kevin Tacnharoen’s short film, Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, portraying the original game’s story in a realistic way, a concept he eventually submitted to Warner Bros. However, it was declined. Rebirth was a small budget ($7,500) short film and later gave way to development of Legacy which was nine, 7-12 minute short episodes. This series was written by Tanchaeroen and two writers from Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Todd Helbing and Aaron Helbing. Legacy would go on to being a major success. The first episode became YouTube’s most viewed video for that week, obtaining 5.5+ million views, whereas Tancharoen’s short, also considered a success, received only 2.1 million in total on the official account. Continued success from this has now gone on to New Line Cinema, sister studio to Warner Bros hiring Tancharoen to direct a new feature-length movie based on the franchise.
Not just with the Mortal Kombat franchise, more recently Halo mini series “Forward Unto Dawn”, was met with great reception. Yet another fantastic mini-series, written by Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing. The budget however was much higher, coming in at $10million. Not being much of a Halo fan to start off with, I started watching the series thinking that it was going to just be one extended commercial for the game, a few special effects, and a weak set of characters. I can easily say that I was wrong. For the most part filled with memorable scenes, fairly decent characters and development and it honestly left me wanting more when the final episode aired. There’s no reports of an actual Halo movie in development, but the success that this mini-series was I have no doubts that in the coming years that it could very well happen.
Watching these lower budget web series movies/episodes has given me hope that there are still some quality writers and producers out there willing to give fans what they want. From absolute shit movie adaptations such as Doom (Im still upset about that, excuse my language) to Street Fighter, I hope directors and publishers take note and listen to their audience. I still remember the first bitter taste of a horrible adaptation which was Mario Bros, which had a budget of $48,000,000. To be honest, Id like to see true quality adaptations of the Warcraft Lore, Metal Gear Solid, Halo, and even Dead Space (although some may say Event Horizon is such). Movies centered around huge fan-bases in gaming behind the title can bring massive amounts of money, expose an untapped audience to experience it, and provide gamers the good quality adaptations they so desire. However, stories with such deep and lengthy lore such as Warcraft may never come to fruition because it’s simply too much to try and pack into a few 1.5-3 hour movies. Maybe video game movie adaptations should stay in a quality TV series? Game of Thrones for example rather than trying to cram the very large books into movies they cut them into ten one hour episodes. On the other hand you have Lord of the Rings movies, which did remarkably well in a few set movies. So what do you all think? Do you think the majority of video game adapted movies are doomed or is there a bright future ahead of us with the talent we’ve seen from these successful short mini-web series films?