Movie Adaptations

The lines between mediums are blurring, and today, the once proud feature film must stretch itself quite thin to reach as much audience as it can… and trick that audience into thinking they’re getting something original with each incarnation.

Just The Facts

  1. Other-media adaptations of films are created to provide additional narrative information not present in the film and/or to reach audiences that might not normally watch the film.
  2. Audiences that don't watch the film usually aren't all that interested, and audiences who do watch the film aren't interested in information that wasn't important enough to make it into the final cut of the film to begin with.
  3. It's the same shit in a shiny new wrapper that you're playing another 10, 50, or even 100 bucks for. A pleasure doing business with you!

Video Games

Video games based on movies are nothing new. Whether we actually played it our not, we all remember the "E.T." game for the Atari 2600 (though I might be thinking of Burger Time since I believe the E.T. sprite looked a lot like a moldy potato, but that's neither here nor there). But ever since gaming graphics quality caught up to movies (or is it that movie effects have caught up to games), every movie that comes out now is required to have a video game adaptation, and they all suck.

And I had such high hopes for the ���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½Away We Go���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ PS3 exclusive

And there were such high hopes for the Away We Go PS3 exclusive

With piss-poor gameplay, sub-par graphics, and a playtime shorter than a secret pipe-room countdown, all of these lackluster titles can find themselves being sold used right back to GameStop the same day they were purchased, leaving gamers to wonder why they intended on sacrificing days or even weeks of complete focus when they could just as easily provide a couple of hours of half-attentive viewing to be just as disappointed.

And it's only going to get more difficult to tell the difference. Take Avatar. Both game and film feature nothing but CGI-realistic, mind-blowing graphics. AND both feature unnecessarily-recycled story & characters. Good luck getting the right disc from grandma this Christmas.

In the end, any and all of these games can be easily organized into two categories:

The list is pretty clear

The List is pretty clear

Musicals

Show of hands, who here has sat through a musical since they graduated high school? I thought not. Would you be more inclined if musicals were based on popular films? Recent studies have shown that yes, yes you would. But you weren't always so interested in being told which to go see. Long ago, people actually paid more attention to the theatre than the movies, and many a stage musical was adapted to film because of it, yielding some of the most critically-acclaimed classics in cinema history (don't tell me you weren't required to watch West Side Story over and over again during downtime in choir class). However, in recent decades, a reverse trend is occurring in which many a film is being adapted into a stage musical, yielding some of the WORST shows in Broadway history.

Now this is not a slight against all such musicals. I can see how The Producers and The Lion King would lend themselves nicely to the medium, considering they're musicals already (at least partially). But Big? Shrek? Legally-Blonde? Legally-fucking Blonde? These films have about as much musical potential as your Guitar Hero band. And after decades of snooty showtune-enthusiasts trashing main-stream motion picture, they now turn around to find... like an generically-ironic Twilight Zone episode... their stages full of "Tony-less blockbuster drivel" and their two hundred dollar mezzanine seats surrounded by high-pitched sorority girls and screaming sticky-fingered children.

Turn off that them there movies on the TV kids! We���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½re gonna go out and get ourselves some culture!

Turn off that them there movies on the TV kids! We're gonna go out and get ourselves some culture!

Books

For those of us who were too lazy in high school to read the book, there was Cliff Notes. For those of us too lazy to read the cliff notes, we watched the movie.

So you���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½re telling me that J.D. Salinger was black AND sounded just like Darth Vader? This book is AWESOME!

So you're telling me that J.D. Salinger was black AND sounded just like Darth Vader? This book is AWESOME!

Which brings us to the most baffling of all movie adaptations... the Novelization. People can't stand to read. It's boring, laborious, and time-consuming. It's why man started turning books into movies in the first place. Currently, the three most popular films in the world are "Filmizations" of books. So why would anyone think that adapting a film back into a far LESS popular medium would be of interest or profit to anyone? No one's going to let themselves be deceived back into the classroom by a familiar banner. They may be illiterate, but they're not stupid.

So why not try to pitch it to the literary crowd then? Not with novelizations of some of the worst films ever made they won't. From Batman Forever to the Star Wars prequels, though the bookworms never leave their libraries, word does still get around.

But what of unsuspecting parents? At the height of its popularity these days is the "Junior" Novelization. Which means it's for kids, just in case that's not clear. But we can't fault these people for trying to get their children excited about sticking their face in a book. They just want little Johnny to read more, and to grow up to be literate enough to not make the same mix-up that they're about to make.

This is not the same book

This is not the same book

Misc.

Plays, TV series, comic books, cosplay performances, and board games.

Execs knew perfectly well they were just stalling until video games were invented

Execs knew perfectly well they were just stalling until video games were invented