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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
Games make for awkward films
With Metroid heading for the celluloid treatment, Daniel Etherington of BBCi Collective looks at how games have fared as films, in his weekly games column.

Samus Aran from Metroid Prime
How would Samus Aran fare as an onscreen heroine?
The fate of video games when picked up by filmmakers is a traditionally woeful subject.

A new wave of adaptations seems to be both resurrecting the old concerns but perhaps offering a ray of hope.

Recent offerings in the genre - Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and Paul Anderson's Resident Evil - have not exactly been classy but, significantly, they made money.

Anderson for one has a knack of turning out glossy pseudo-Hollywood productions made largely in Germany for a fraction of the price of the US blockbusters he is aping.

Now it looks like Samus Aran, the heroine of Metroid Prime, is making her way to the silver screen, courtesy of John Woo, who has optioned the film rights.

Making the leap

A recent story in The New York Times featured a picture of Woo playing Splinter Cell in his office.

In 2003, the veteran filmmaker also formed a games company, Tiger Hill. He is working on a title for Sega which he hopes to adapt as a movie.

For Woo; "It only makes sense to bridge the gap between filmmaker and game developer." It is all just the "entertainment industry".

Screenshot from Zelda
One of these days, someone has just got to make a decent video game movie - how about Peter Jackson doing Zelda?

However, such rhetoric is not very reassuring. German filmmaker Uwe Boll has long rabbited on about his enthusiasm for games and his passion to realise them on the big screen.

Why then was his House Of The Dead movie such a mess?

It is worrying then that Boll is about to unleash an Alone In The Dark movie on the unsuspecting world, while he also has Blood Rayne and Far Cry movies in pre-production.

Elsewhere in the industry, games as diverse as Dead Or Alive, Driver and Silent Hill, among others, are getting the movie treatment.

Dead Or Alive, from Impact Pictures (that is Anderson's lot again) raises the spectre of the Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter movies, but with more boobage.

Silent Hill, meanwhile, could not possibly hope to achieve the nightmarish extremes of the game.

But if director Christophe Gans, the man behind Brotherhood Of The Wolf, has been paying attention to recent Japanese and Korean horror cinema he could have a fair attempt.

And Anderson is going to be at the helm for the Driver movie too, which is supposedly being fast-tracked for release this year.

At least it is a game with very cinematic influences to start with, so the transition may not be so painful.

Lord of the games

With Prime being one of the best games of 2003, a Metroid movie is potentially an exciting prospect.

But so far, Woo's only foray into sci-fi was the disastrous Paycheck. And as Judge Dredd proved, filmmakers are not keen to keep the iconic elements of mysterious characters intact.

Will we see Samus helmetless and out of her power suit? Will it just be another tired Aliens clone?

One of these days, someone has just got to make a decent video game movie. How about Peter Jackson doing Zelda? Now that would be promising.

Metroid: Zero Mission is available now on the GameBoy Advance


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