Film Directors Should Leave Games Alone - Article

By Tom Hunt, August 25, 2012

With the debatable success of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Hollywood has noticed a slight gap in the overweight market for videogame inspired films. Unfortunately, getting a director to take such a gamble is more difficult than getting a half decent script written. However, if there was any video game that would stand a chance of moving out of the pixelated world and into film, it would be the Uncharted series. Nevertheless, history has exposed the fact that trying to cram a, say, six hour campaign into a reasonable time without missing out key plot points and characters is an unmanageable task. It’s also incredibly difficult to take something that began as an interactive experience - enjoyment of which was derived from playing it, rather than simply watching it - and maintain the same level of quality and success in a different medium altogether.

On August 24rd it was discovered that director Neil Burger, who directed such films as Limitless and The Illusionist, has left the Uncharted: Drake's Fortune movie project. Neil isn’t the first person to jump ship. David O. Russell - the director of The Fighter and Three Kings - had originally been due to direct the film, but decided to withdraw from the movie back in 2011. Marianne and Cormac Wibberly, who have worked on such films as National Treasure and G-force have been given the near impossible mission of re-writing a videogame film script.

David's tenure as prospective director for the project wasn't without controversy either. He was heavily criticised for certain script and casting ideas, including the casting of Mark Wahlberg as Uncharted’s protagonist, Nathan Drake. Which, when you look at it, is like casting Ben Affleck as Daredevil.

What I take away from this, and other similarly abortive game-movie projects, is a firm belief that directors should honestly just leave games alone. It seems, in recent years, that the 'ideas' bucket has run dry; screenwriters have turned to books or comics for 'inspiration' and the next blockbuster film. As if to underline the point, New Line Cinema is supposedly seeking a second director for a film adaptation of Gears of War. Here’s hoping that Uwe Boll doesn’t get his oleaginous hands on it.

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