the film snob

A cyberspace journal about my experiences as an NYU film school grad student, reviews of current and classic films, film and TV news, and the rants and raves of an admitted (and unapologetic) film snob.

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Esse Quam Videri -- To be, rather than to appear

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Playing Games

I've never been much of a video game guy. When I was a kid, we had the original “Pong” but that was as close as my mother would allow my siblings and I to get to video games. All through the Nintendo craze, we were reading books. Frankly, I'm indebted to my mother for her foresight.

That said, there were occasional forays into gamedom. Some family friends had “Zaxon” in the early 80s when I was in elementary school and I played that until I beat it. Then there was a gap of well over a decade and a half. The next time I picked up a controller was in my makeshift barracks room in Bosnia. One of the Marines I was rooming with had “Goldeneye” and “Star Wars: Shadows of Empire” and we played those until we were masters. The alternative was going off base and getting shot at. After I got out of the Navy and returned to the States, a friend seduced me into hours at his place playing “Halo.”

And I discovered something. I do enjoy playing video games. Truly. Which is why I will never buy a gaming system. I know that if I do, I will be playing it constantly, to the detriment of all social skills, familial bonds and life responsibilities.

So what's a guy who likes video games and movies to do? Wait until they combine them, of course!

I know what you're saying. Video games to movies are a testy, frankly, despicable genre. And I would agree with you. But I think Halo has the goods. It has an impressive enough mythology, a rich enough storyline and a fleshed-out enough universe to really give a filmed version the undergirding it would need to work (there are already "Halo" novels). Now, the only trick is getting the right people behind the camera.

Universal Pictures finally announced a director today for the eagerly anticipated, Peter Jackson-produced Halo film to be released in the summer of 2008. Award-winning short-film director, Neill Blomkamp will make his feature film debut with Halo. While part of me always balks at huge projects being given to untried talent, there are certainly short-film directors out there with whom I would rest easily giving them such responsibilities. Let's hope this guy is one of them.

Halo should, by all intents and purposes, be the sort of film the I would get very snobby about. Then again, the SciFi addict in me is hoping against hope that it will be the sort of larger-than-life-guilty-pleasure-eye-candy that one occasionally craves and needs at the movies.

P.S.--In an unrelated bit of film news, I also saw a headline this morning that read: "Brett Ratner Helming Brazil Remake" and about fell out of my chair. I was busy preparing a letter-bomb to put an end to whomever would have the audacity to remake Terry Gilliam's masterpiece until I read a bit further and discovered the headline was referring to, Boys From Brazil, the 1978 film with Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck about a diabolical plot by Nazis in South America to revive the Third Reich through the use of cloning. Shew!


Blogger Justin said...

I was a Goldeneye nut

1:42 PM  
Blogger Grinth said...

Quite frankly there are more than a few videogames out there that have stories far more worth telling than the ones put out by the Hollywood factory press.

I have to admit though I never got into Halo so I know nothing about the storyline in that game.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Isn't that the truth!

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Grinth said it.

I'm not much of a gamer (no time), but I have a fine appreciation for the medium. And it is, of course, a rich and evolving form of media
(And video games have genres. They are not a genre.) - though it might be tough to defend them as art, but even those days are numbered.

There are some sublime experiences out there. I like looking at Halo, and watching other people play for a few minutes, but it is a little on the twitchy side for my tastes. Zelda, on the other hand, I will defend passionately as a worthwhile pastime to anyone who will listen.

To define it as games=bad/movies=good is as silly as comparing any other two medims that way. Minute for minute, I would rather my kid solve the puzzles in Zelda or use strategy in, say, Civilization, than watch Garfield 2.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Brandon Fibbs said...

Maybe I should hand over my Film Snob title to you two! I'll start referring to myself as The Genre(s) Snob.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Maybe it's the reason I'm not really a writer...but I've played Halo a bit (a friend has a 12-player set up and a 5-foot screen) and I don't really get that there is a plotline.

It's a pretty standard post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, shoot-em-up scenario, as I recall, with lots of very very boy-toys. Plasma rifles, and tanks, and all sorts of goodies fun to play with, but I feel like any movie they make out of this is going to be just another version of the "bombs and boobs" crap like Independence day made for all those damned 12 year olds.

I do hope I'm wrong.

3:04 PM  

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