Must everything remotely "neat" be made into a movie? Don't get me wrong, I love movies. I LOVE movies. Pretty much everything that goes through my head gets filtered through the cinematic lens before it is projected upon the screen of my thoughts. Still, I have the good sense not to make all of those things movies (maybe not enough sense to spare my friends and family from verbal storytelling, but that costs a whole lot less, anyway, and my audience is usually only 1-10 people).
I just saw "Max Payne" this weekend. I'd never played the games, so I wasn't worried that they would "ruin" the story. I figured I'd at least get to see some slick visual effects, based on the trailer. Max Fail on both counts. Whether you knew the story or not, it wasn't interesting enough for you to care and the effects were not strong enough to hold the rest of the mess up. This movie was just plain bad: random and uninteresting super slow motion shots, awkward acting performances (from some pretty good actors), weather that changed from rain to snow and back again (sometimes even in the same scene), a new character introduced/killed every five minutes, and completely stupid random scenes in which nothing happens. We're not even talking gratuitous action scenes, here. NOTHING happens! My favorite was one in which the main character turns of a screaming percolator (they do NOT sound like tea kettles, btw, even if you've just cut from a shot of a woman screaming). You think, "ah, he's going to enjoy a cup of coffee! This is a character development scene. Our hero drinks stovetop coffee." Then he... puts on his coat and... LEAVES? This is a scene? I mean, someone wrote that? Based on a video game? Really? What a boring freaking game! The sad thing is that it seemed to be a worse experience for people who actually liked the games, as I understand that even the basic plot was a betrayal of the storyline.
I think there might be an inherent problem in adapting video games to movies. The joy of games is playing them. That's what makes them... games. The thing that makes good games good is that they are even more fun to play. Additionally, the ones that have great stories take a while to unfold (more than two hours, anyway) and the payoff for finding the threads of the storyline is far greater. This is not really possible to "show" someone. Video games are not really that interesting to watch passively. I mean, who wants to see a movie in which people find boxes of ammo and medical kits on the floor as we watch their life bars go up and down. Throw in some random first-person "looking around for stuff" shots and the occasional running into a wall in a story that takes seven hours to unfold, and you have... made a completely awkward cinematic experience. Not unlike this film, actually.
As I told my brother many times, it is NOT entertaining to watch someone else play a video game for two hours straight (i.e. never getting a turn). Max Payne was the movie equivalent of "hold on, hold on, let me just get past this one guy..."
When filmmakers can get over the "wasn't it cool when I found that switch that opened that secret door" first-person experience of playing a video game, they might be able to do something with it (though there have been a couple of decent ones). In the meantime, I usually just wonder, "why? Why did this HAVE to be made into a movie?" Does everything "cool" have to become a movie? Can't a good book just stay a good book? Can't a good game remain just that?"
Though I can't wait to make "Rock Band: The Movie!" It's such a fun game, how could it fail?
Don't even get me started on all of the movie remakes/sequels coming out...
("Blade Runner 2?" Are you effing kidding me?)