While DC Comics’ movies might make you think otherwise sometimes, Hollywood has seemingly mastered the formula behind a fun and successful comic book movie. That came after years of exceptional successes like Batman and Spider-Man, followed by mistakes like Halle Berry’s Catwoman and every Fantastic Four movie, though. With comic adaptations filling up the box office for now, it’s easy to assume those movies will stick around for good. But Hollywood is looking for the next big thing. Studios have been cracking at the idea of video-game movies since the 1993 release of the nightmare we call Super Mario Bros.: The Movie, with a few moderately successful takes and lots of really, really bad ones. Now, Metal Gear Solid movie director Jordan Vogt-Roberts thinks he’s going to bust the genre wide open with his adaptation of Hideo Kojima’s legendary stealth-action series.
“I think that [filmmakers] have looked at a video game movie and said, ‘Oh, that’s flashy! That’s cool!’…and there’s very little desire to really understand the tone and the atmosphere,” Vogt-Roberts, who most recently directed Kong: Skull Island, said in an interview with GameSpot. “A big part of it is not fully committing to the source material, being able to say ‘No, this is what makes this great, so let’s figure out how we translate it.'”
He compares video-game adaptations directly to comic books, where we didn’t start to see good superhero flicks with any consistency until we started to see directors who respect the source material put in charge.
It’s about the right director
“I just don’t think the right filmmakers have been paired with video-game adaptations yet. People who have had their DNA and their brains re-wired by games,” he continued. “If you grew up on video games, there’s a language to those games that I think seeps into your brain at a very young age. For me, it really does go down to that simple thing of ‘What does a game make you feel?’
Each game, Vogt-Roberts said, has a specific feel to it, and he wants to “intelligently, and in a cinematic language, recreate that feeling.”
Metal Gear in particular, with its mechanical focus on stealth and thematic focus on nuclear war, is about tension. Vogt-Roberts wants to recreate the type of tension players feel when playing Metal Gear games.
“I’m just trying to be part of a wave of guys who view the idea of talking about a video game movie and saying ‘it feels like a video game’ as a positive thing as opposed to a negative thing,” he said. “Soon people will not negatively associate games and movies. I think it’ll be a positive comparison.”
Vogt-Roberts is making big promises here. He clearly has the desire to prove that game movies can be successful. Let’s hope he can execute on that. Metal Gear Solid is in the earliest stages of development and is a long ways off, but our fingers are crossed. There are countless amazing games that would make stellar movies if done right.
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