Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Video games go to Hollywood

In our first column, we argued that video games are often a misunderstood medium, rarely receiving the credit that they deserve. What we like to think of as works of art, others simply blow off as children’s games. When compared to other creative outlets, video games are almost always ranked below films, music and television.

The recent release of “Alone in the Dark” got us talking about the number of poorly-made films that are based on video game franchises. Very rarely is a movie studio able to encapsulate the magic that makes the original games so entertaining.

Whether or not this reflects poorly on Hollywood’s abilities is irrelevant, though we tend to think it does. What does matter is that there is a sea of horrid movies based on video games, without any guiding hand to point out the few decent ones.

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When movies and video games mate, their awkward love-children are certainly not created equal. What follows are the few “special members” of this family.

Ryan:
“Resident Evil” & “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”
In all honesty, the first “Resident Evil” was a bad movie. Poor character development, terrible dialogue and a generic plot all contributed to this steaming pile of film.

Rather than using established characters from the video game series, Paul W.S. Anderson (who went on to create the masterpiece that was “Alien vs. Predator”) instead created a generic heroine named Alice who was trapped in a huge complex run by Umbrella. The best part of this film was by far the fact that a friend of mine actually walked out of it because he thought it was “too graphic.” Seriously, what do people expect out of zombie movies?

Anyway, the movie was bad. But while the original failed in almost every aspect, the sequel delivered exactly what fans of the games were looking for. Injecting characters and situations from the game into the films, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” pleased long-time fans of the series and people who just enjoy seeing zombies slaughtered in droves.

Zach:
“Super Mario Bros.”
Beyond Mario and Luigi being both plumbers and brothers, little is known about their past prior to reaching the infamous Mushroom Kingdom. The motivations behind their adventures over the ages have varied from save the Princess to … well … save the Princess, again.

And so, when the ever-so-smart Hollywood execs must have gotten their hands on the rights to what is one of the hottest intellectual properties in the video game canon, their masturbatory self-congratulation must have clouded reason from their minds, as they proceeded to tear Mario lore a new one with this film.

Starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, respectively, the story follows our heroes as they attempt to save our world from an alternate dimension. You see, in this lovely film, the meteor that killed the dinosaurs actually ripped a hole in space, creating another universe that co-exists alongside our world in which the dinosaurs proceeded to prosper and, as did the apes that remained in our world, evolve. Millions of years later, their society has fallen into a despotic state under the unscrupulous rule of Koopa (Dennis Hopper), who is searching for the missing Princess of the king he deposed so as to reunite the two worlds and rule them both.

Shigeru Miyamoto likely never imagined that his “goombas” would be turned from the small mushroom-headed characters with tiny bodies into huge, lumbering tiny-headed devolved dino-men, and yet, they were. And, much the same, Mario fans unacquainted with this black eye on the face of gaming would be wise to distance themselves from its blight — it simply hurts too much to bear.

Unless you have some penchant for masochism, this movie is an exercise in destroying one’s youth. You will never be innocent again.

Ryan:
“Street Fighter”
Though not exactly hailed as a cinematic masterpiece, “Street Fighter” was Raul Julia’s final Hollywood outing. But people weren’t concerned with Julia when it came to this film — “Street Fighter” belonged to Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Fresh from filming hits like “Hard Target” and “Timecop,” Van Damme starred as Colonel William F. Guile. The pitch for the movie had to be somewhere along the lines of: “Okay, we’re going to take the characters from the hit video game and have them fight a lot. And they’ll be fighting over … umm … the fate of the world!” Sheer genius.

The highlight of this movie is easily the Muscles from Brussels’ rousing speech to his military forces in which he says, “What I want to know is who is going home … and who is coming with meeeeeeeee??” While this alone would be pretty funny, adding Van Damme’s ridiculous accent to this dialogue makes it an instant cinema classic.

Plot issues aside, this is a great action flick, especially for fans of the games. Director Steven de Souza (“Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”) manages to cram almost every character from the games into the film, which is fairly amusing for anyone who is familiar with the series. Overall, you could certainly do worse.

Ryan Gauthier ([email protected]) and Zach Stern ([email protected]) are hopelessly addicted to all things video game related. Zach is still playing “Devil May Cry 3” and “Band of Brothers” and has started a new Human Rogue character in “World of Warcraft.” After unifying the middleweight and light heavyweight titles in “Fight Night Round 2,” Ryan retired at the ripe age of 40.

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