KSD: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a game studio in possession of popular franchises must be in want of new markets for its popular franchises. And so was born the most universally derided genre in contemporary film: the videogame adaptation, an unhappy marriage of game companies attempting to leverage successful brands with uncreative Hollywood studios in need of fresh source material. To date, not a single videogame adaptation has managed to crack 50% on Rotten Tomatoes (at present, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within ranks “highest,” with 44% approval).
But what, exactly, made these movies so reviled? Has it simply been a long string of particularly incompetent writers and directors? Or is there some deeper tension between games and film that prevents the “successful” importation of the former into the latter? Like mass-market games, popular film is as much as product of the boardroom as it is the writer’s desk. Alone a purely artistic or economic explanation isn’t enough to explain the game adaptation’s profound shittiness, but, taken together, they can illuminate why an entire genre of film—to be clear, movies directly based on specific videogames—was dead on arrival.