The Bad, The Good, And The Surprise Hit of Modern Video Game Movies

What Challenges Do Movie Adaptations of Video Games Still Face in 2019?

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The Pitfalls of Adapting From Video Game To Movie

Movie adapations of video games, often called video game movies, face unique challenges. Often, they are faced with the issue of translating unrealistic-looking and exaggerated character designs to something that does not look out of place next to a real-life tree, and they tend to have a large amount of story and detail that is difficult to press down into an hour-and-a-half runtime. However, there is a recent movie that has managed to accomplish this. How did this movie manage it?

Sonic The Hedgehog: You Got A Problem With Cartoons?

The coming Sonic the Hedgehog movie, to be released by Paramount Pictures and based off Sony’s video game blue cartoon hedgehog mascot, is a shining example of what the first problem converting video games to live action is.

Sonic The Hedgehog’s Live Action Design…

Sonic The Hedgehog’s Live Action Design…

…VERSUS SONIC’S DESIGN AS A GAME CHARACTER

…VERSUS SONIC’S DESIGN AS A GAME CHARACTER

 

Namely, how do you take the cartoonish proportions of characters like Sonic, with his non-human features — like a pair of eyes that take up half his face, and proportions like a pair of cherry-red shoes larger than the size of his chest — into something that can move, speak, and emote in a realistic enough way to not clash with the more grounded aesthetic necessary for a live-action production?

The answer, apparently, is not like Sonic the Hedgehog. After fans saw the trailer that debuted the Sonic movie design in action, there was major fan criticism, causing Paramount to declare the movie was being delayed from November to Valentine’s Day, causing a several month delay.

This is not a decision made lightly; the CGI and animator department has to go over every shot Sonic is in and reanimate him. How much the animators have to redo is up to speculation, but seeing as Paramount Pictures had seen fit to release a full, almost three-minute trailer, with a variety of scenes that showed off Sonic in a plethora of action scenes, there is certainly a good amount of work that needs to be redone.

To be clear, cartoons are great. Live-action is great. One is not inherently superior over the other. But it is not a one-to-one conversion. Changes have to be made, and a balance has to be carefully struck to adhere to the rules and principles of cartoon and live-action design.

Who is Allowed In Club Warcraft?

HUmans fight orcs in warcraft; And Neither Side is Truly in the wrong.

HUmans fight orcs in warcraft; And Neither Side is Truly in the wrong.

Warcraft’s reviews on Rotten Tomatoes fall into one of two camps: the audience of fans who love the source material and enjoyed the movie, and the critics who couldn’t tell the difference between a Khadgar and a Gul’Dan, and it shows.

Rotten Tomatoes marks critic reviews of Warcraft at 28% and the audience reviews at 77%. A large discrepancy, even if other movies not with video game source material have also had sharp divides between the audience’s scoring and the critics’ scoring.

However, critics tend to write not about the quality or merit of the movie, but how lost they were. “If there’s a mythology here, I missed it,” wrote Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, in a review of the movie that was positive yet confused in tone.

Warcraft, based on the decade and a half old ongoing video game World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment, is a movie packed with its mythology. The story, about humans and orcs waging war on another, paints both the orcs and humans in moral shades of grey, with villains and heroes on both sides of the conflict. Every location, spell, costume, and character is placed in with loving detail and attention to care for long-time fans of Warcraft’s source material, rewarding their diligence to being part of the club made up of fans of the source material… and leaving everyone else standing outside it, wondering what exactly those people are doing in there.

No movie is for everyone. But when a movie does not make sense to anyone except the fans who already know who, what, and where everything is before watching the movie, that movie is leaving a lot of people out of the clubhouse.

The Live-Action Rodent That Scurried Around Its Potential Pitfalls

Detective Pikachu’s Live-Action Design (as appearing in Detective pikachu, courtesy of warner bros Pictures)

Detective Pikachu’s Live-Action Design (as appearing in Detective pikachu, courtesy of warner bros Pictures)

Detective Pikachu is the most successful video game movie to date, grossing $436 million USD at the box office, surpassing the previous contender, Warcraft’s $433.7 million USD.

Detective Pikachu faced the same problems of both Sonic and Warcraft.

First, the cartoon-like Pokemon risked being unpleasant or unlikable being brought to a live-action format, with funny proportions and arms too stubby to believably feed themselves. The head of the franchise mascot, Pikachu, a rodent that generates bolts of electricity from mousy red cheeks, has a head that are the width of its body, and its long, pointed ears are about as tall.

Second, Pokemon itself is the highest-grossing media franchise in the world, with over twenty years since its first release of Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green in Japan that began the media property known as Pokemon. In other words, it also risked being alienating and impossibly dense for critics and audience members not familiar with Pokemon.

And yet, Detective Pikachu worked. The VFX department for Detective Pikachu and The Pokemon Company worked closely together and used the real world as much as possible for inspiration, extensively studying real animals as the basis for Pokemon’s fictional ones. Anatomy posters of Pokemon were drawn up, the cinematography was made to allow the live-action and CGI to blend together, and a careful balance was deliberately made between cartoon and realism.

Even more, the movie didn’t leave anyone out. Detective Pikachu is an adapation of a short spin-off of the Pokemon games, also titled Detective Pikachu. The game is a simple mystery story about a boy who teams up with a talking Pikachu with a detective hat to find the boy’s father.

It was a good choice for an adaptatioon: the game itself is simple, with a clear beginning, middle and end. And the adaptation made use of how easy the source material was to understand: the movie Detective Pikachu stands at 68% critic score and 80% audience score, beating out Warcraft in audience reviews and winning over critics by a landslide in comparison, even if critics still concluded that while they could follow along, the movie was made for the fans.

Detective Pikachu has managed to avoid the pitfalls that its recent past and current future rivals have fallen into. A lot of care went into avoiding the pitfalls that would plague other video game movies. Paring down a dense mythology into a smaller piece, allowing the film to take time to explain the core premise of its world to potential new audience members was a smart idea. Ensuring that the CGI characters struck a balance between their cartoon counterparts and what a completely realistic take on them would be took time and effort. Video game movies are not impossible. As with all adaptations across mediums, it is not a perfect art, but it can be done, and done well.

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Jean-Michel Vaillancourt

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Jean-Michel Vaillancourt is a D&D fanatic, a video game enthusiast, a book-lover, and an eternal seeker for the art of storycraft in modern TV pop culture.


Top 8 Horror Movies for Halloween

October is the month of all things spooky. From pumpkin carving to trick or treating nothing makes the Halloween spirit more vibrant than horror movies. Sit back and enjoy as I tell you why these are my top eight horror films to watch leading up to the big day!

8. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Mika and Katie begin to film suspicious activity going on in their house which turns into a disturbing discovery that there are supernatural pursuits occurring.

Now if you’re in the mood for a heart-pounding, sweat inducing, terrifying experience, the Paranormal Activity franchise has all the suspense and terror you could ask for. It is one of the scariest movies Oren Peli has directed, which called for the production of 4 more movies. 

7. It (2017)

Every 27 years in Derry, a series of children go missing and a clown known as Pennywise menaces the kids of the town resulting in a regroupment of “loser” kids who fight the identity.

Contrary to popular belief, not every film remake is bad. Andres Muschietti’s adaption of ‘It’ is a blissful blend of scary and comedic relief with a touch of drama, thanks to a certain love triangle. The actors in this adaption will make you laugh and shrivel with fear. Definitely don’t skip out on this one!

6. Beetlejuice (1988)

Andy and Barbara Maitland are left haunting their household after they pass away in a car accident. While a new family of three, including a depressed daughter named Lydia move in, the Maitlands take initiative and try to scare them out of their house. With the help of a dead entity named Beetlejuice, who ends up causing more harm than good, the plot begins to unravel.

The wit and the comical relief in this movie calls for a less scary feature compared to the ones on this list, but don’t be fooled, Beetlejuice is still a Halloween classic. Directed by the Halloween king himself, Tim Burton, he knows his way around a fantasy-horror adaption.

5. Child’s Play (1988)

Birthday boy Andy receives the present of a lifetime; a good guy doll. Having a selection of catch phrases, body and eye movements, all you need is a pair of batteries to bring your doll to life. After strange things start occurring in the Barclay household, including the death of Andy’s mom’s friend, Karen Barclay starts to suspect that something supernatural is going on. 

Scary dolls. Scary dolls that come to life. Enough said. 

4. Dead silence (2007)

An unexplainable murder occurs, leaving a distraught man named Jamie, a widow. Coincidentally enough, a mysterious package was left on his doorstep, remaining in Jamie’s hands, a dummy doll. Returning to his hometown desperately for answers, he discovers the bone-chilling legend of Mary Shaw, the ventriloquist.

“Beware the stare of Mary Shaw,” they said, and they were right. If you’re looking to scare yourself senseless, possessed dolls is the route to go.

3. Scream (1996)

In a quaint suburban town, horror strikes as a gruesome murder of a high school student takes place exactly a year after the murder of main character, Sidney Prescott’s mother. The town is on high alert, on the hunt for a for a masked killer, and all eyes seem to turn to Sydney. As murders keep happening people are pointing fingers to their own suspects.

Featuring famous actors such as Courteney Cox and Skeet Ulrich, this movie is a play on your classic slasher who terrorizes high school students but with a twist. It is full of classic jump-scares.

2.  Nightmare on elm street (1984)

An evil entity by the name of ‘Freddy Krueger’ torment a group of adolescents through their dreams and starts taking them down, one by one. Lead gal, Nancy has to move fast and stay awake if she wants to save her friends from this terrifying being that appears to be unavoidable.

A classic slasher-horror film turned into a whopping franchise of nine movies. You can’t go wrong with a killer that attacks you in your dreams and scars your memory with his terrifying knife-hand. 

  1. Halloween (1978)

A young boy by the name of Michael Myers on Halloween night of 1967 murders his teenage sister  and consequently gets locked up, leaving his baby sister Lory an independent child. 15 years later, there’s a psych ward transportation bus crash, leaving mental patients out on the loose including an older Michael, who sets sail to his hometown, on the hunt to finish what he started.

Now this one is a given. This holiday wouldn’t be what it is without the chilling horror that is Michael Myers. The film has had many continuations and remakes that are still being done to this day. It was directed by the legend himself, John Carpenter.

Halloween has been terrifying horror fanatics for over 41 years and will continue to do so for years to come. These are my top eight, but there are so many more to consider! If you have any suggestions for me to watch as the Halloween season hits its peak, let me know! Hope you enjoyed and will come back for more spooky content this October!





https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Nightmare_on_Elm_Street


Andy March

Andy March is a 19 year old student at Algonquin College, being forced out of her comfort zone to write about stuff she likes and post it ! Avid lover of movies, movie soundtracks, and sweet and salty popcorn.

Top 10 Family Halloween Movies


  1. HalloweenTown (1998)

    HalloweenTown is the only option to be placed at the number one spot on this list. It holds a special place in many 2000s kids hearts as one of the best Halloween films to this day. This movie follows a young girl named Marnie Cromwell who discovers that her family is a long line of witches and visits Halloweentown with her two younger siblings and then the madness begins. It has a perfect mixture of witches, goblins, skeletons, magic, all types of Halloween goodness one could only ask for in a movie for this season. You can always count on it playing on Disney channel every year and that’s when you know spooky season has started! 

  2. Twitches (2005)

    Twitches is another Disney original classic. Twin sisters, Alex and Camryn were whisked away from their world into the human realm when darkness took over their kingdom. Now that they are both in their teens they have come together to defeat the darkness and find out that they are witches! Twin witches… Twitches, get it? It is packed full of funny, sisterly moments and of course, magic!  

  3. Hocus Pocus (1993)

    One could not have a list of Halloween movies and not put Hocus Pocus on it. We follow 3 teens named Max, Dani and Allison who live in Salem, Massachusetts. One night they accidentally resurrect the infamous Sanderson Sisters. These three witches were executed around three hundred years ago for the use of dark magic; now that they are alive and walking the earth again they are determined to continue what they started and wreak havoc on the town! Each sister has their own great personality that brings something different to the movie. 

  4. Return to Halloweentown (2006)

    The final installment in the iconic Halloweentown movies brings Marnie and her brother Dylan back to the magical place of Halloweentown but this time it is to attend Witch University.  Despite the outrageous recast of Marnie, fans still loved this wrapup to their favourite childhood film series!
        

  5. Casper (1995)

    Who doesn’t love Casper the friendly ghost? He is an adorable, friendly ghost that haunts a mansion with his 2 uncles who are not so nice. In the film James Harvey and his daughter, Kat, moves into the haunted mansion in Maine. Casper and Kat quickly start a budding romance that very clearly will not work out but Casper is determined to become a human again with the help of his new friend. It is a very cute and soft halloween movie for those who like to stay away from the terrifying movies around this time of year.

  6. HalloweenTown High (2004)

    Marnie takes on a huge deal with the council people of Halloweentown. She takes in students from Halloweentown to attend normal highschool for the time being to show that humans and monsters could co-exist, but if anything goes wrong then Marnie loses her powers! Of course evil is following them wherever they go and the Cromwells must stop it. 

  7. HalloweenTown II: Kalabar’s Revenge (2001)

    Marnie once again must fight evil from Halloweentown and save everyone in the mortal world before midnight hits on Halloween night or else everyone will turn into the monster costumes that they are wearing! Can she do it? Guess you will have to watch and find out. 

  8. Twitches Too (2007)
    We are back following Alex and Camryn as they are navigating their adult lives in very different ways but both have the same thought; that their birth father is still alive. They decide to go in search for him and believe he is being held in the ‘Shadowlands’ where their evil uncle might also be held, still posing a threat. This sequel is packed with mystery and magic.

  9. Scary Godmother  (2003)
    A less popular one then the ones that are above but still just as great! We follow young kids that are trick or treating on Halloween night and awaken the Scary Godmother who shows the kids that not all monsters are bad and have a fun Halloween party! This is a nice short cartoon film that everyone should experience this spooktacular season.

  10. Monster House (2006)
    Coming in at the number 10 spot is Monster House. Despite it being at the bottom don’t be fooled it is still full of thrills and Halloween fun. 3 teens have taken it upon themselves to defeat this ‘Monster House’ before innocent kids are out trick or treating or else they might meet a horrible end. This movie's ending will shock many and is another cartoon classic that should be at the top of your list.


Joey R.

Joey is a lover of books and all things related to superheroes. She is a hoarder of books and can’t keep up with her tbr pile.

Cinematic Failure? Warner Bros vs J.K Rowling

The train for Hogwarts never left without you. Every time you opened a book, you were on the train with Harry and his friends, thinking of all the things that could lay ahead. You were with them every step of the adventure, living every moment in the pages as if it were real life. So when Warner Bros mentioned that they were adapting the books into movies, all Harry Potter fans were ecstatic about Harry’s experience coming to the big screen. The story J.K. Rowling was able to tell in a magical world of her own creation entranced her readers and left them wanting more, book after book.  When the series was adapted into movies, everyone was excited.  Those who had read the books time and time again wanted to see the world they had dreamt up in their minds brought to screen.  With each movie scoring over 75% on Rotten Tomatoes most would say that Warner Bros was successful in their endeavour of bringing the world of Harry Potter to life.  And I would agree, to a certain extent.

The world Rowling created had so many vivid and intricate details that no one was expecting the movie adaptations to hold the features that the novels did.  But Warner Bros managed to leave specific details that, while not altering the plot, did change certain classic scenes that occurred in the novels. 

One of the most significant holes in the movies that I always noticed was the loss of Peeves the Poltergeist.  He appears in every book, always causing trouble and trying to get students in trouble. He is generally just a pain throughout the entire series.  He is a prankster, not liked by the other ghosts and, although his presence does not alter the ending of the series, it does affect the mood in certain moments in the books.  One of the biggest moments is when the Weasley twins are flying away from Hogwarts in the fifth novel, Order of the Phoenix. They had just spent the year tormenting Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry Official and an awful teacher who had earned a place on the teaching staff at Hogwarts.  All the students hate her, and most of the teachers didn’t like her either. I’m pretty sure readers hated her more than Voldemort in this novel.  I know I sure did! The Weasley twins did too – in this scene, they had just let all hell loose with one of their classic pranks before turning back to Peeves, who was waiting in the corner observing the whole incident unfold, and yelling out, “Give her hell for us Peeves!” while Peeves saluted them.

Rowling did a perfect job in making the audience regard Peeves as the character that you didn’t like, no matter what happened. He was never anyone’s favourite… it wasn’t for any specific reason other than the fact that he was just annoying. Peeves was the thorn in your side you couldn’t seem to get rid of, but when he salutes the Weasley twins in the fifth book, it’s a little victory for all the readers. I can remember reading so many parts and thinking “Oh no, what’s he going to do this time?”.   It’s inspiring to see him saluting students when he would never listen to anyone, ever. I think Warner Bros really messed up in leaving him out. 

Like I said before, it doesn’t alter the plot. Those who didn’t read the books will forever remain oblivious, but it’s unfortunate that they cut out such a great character. Seeing the fifth movie on screens and watching the part described above, I remember thinking, “Wow, it would’ve been so much more effective if Peeves had been there.” The moment would have felt so much more empowering and fulfilling – the twins were leaving someone behind who would continue to fight for what they had spent all year working on.  Rowling wrote him so well and he was such a fun character that added life to every scene he was in.

Regardless of my view, Warner Bros really did do a fantastic job bringing Harry Potter to life, and I really wish these little things didn’t affect my perspective of the movies. But being an avid reader of the series, the little things start to bother you.  That, of course, is only one of the aspects where I think Warner Bros messed up. If you want to hear about more differences between the movie and the books, whether it’s Harry Potter or another adaptation, let me know in the comments!

 


             

Esther J

Esther is a lover of travelling and is always going to new places. To pass time between adventures she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

Intro to Us

Did you know ‘Jurassic Park’ raptors terrifying noises were made by tortoises mating? Well, that’s why we’re here: a constant supply of our favourite movies, top 10 lists, and our best recommendations. Jumping from spooky season to the Christmas spirit, we are here to suggest our favourite horror films and the best sappy romances. Stick around and we guarantee your ‘to-watch list’ will grow and grow.

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