5 Video Game Formats That Would've Saved Famously Bad Movies
Sometimes movies just don't work as movies. Instead of being an entertaining piece of cinema, Batman V Superman became a PSA for the dangers of making movies at all. The Witch is better as anti-time-travel propaganda. And the script of God's Not Dead 2 has replaced the Bible in most Southern states. None of these work as movies, but they would work well as other things.
There are also a few movies that would really benefit from being video games. A more interactive medium would improve them, mutating their shortcomings into aspects that are nearly likable. These are movies that would work way better if you could buy useless DLC for them after a few months.
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Back when it was a more standard comic that told the tales of classic literary heroes fighting classic literary villains, and before Alan Moore killed off the main character with lightning from a demon's dick ...
... The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen was made into a movie. Sucking all the fun out of its premise, the movie attempted to introduce famous characters, give them backstory, and lay out a logical explanation for why they're working together. If you've ever watched Van Helsing and wondered to yourself, "What would this be like if I died during it?" The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen would be the hell that you'd go to.
Some movies are called "breathless roller coaster rides," and League certainly is breathless, but only because it seems like you're having plot points quickly and clumsily yelled at you from someone riding on a roller coaster. "THERE'S AN OLD GUY. HE'S IMPORTANT. GOT IT? AAAAAHHHHH. MR. HYDE IS AN APE THING, GOT IT? AAAHHHHHHH. HERE'S A SHIP, GOT IT? AAAAAHHHHH. THIS IS TOM SAWYER. GOT IT? YOU READ BOOKS, RIGHT? AAAAAAAHHHHH. MORIARTY. GOT IT? CREDITS. BYE." When you're trying to combine a roaring action movie with 200 years' worth of literature history, there is a clash of interests.
I'm using the word "interests" in the absolute broadest sense of the word.
Why It Would Make A Great Video Game:
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an action game with RPG elements. You can choose from a variety of Marvel heroes and use them to beat up whatever robots and foot soldiers Doctor Doom throws your way. The game also assumes that you know who Captain America is, so it doesn't give you any convoluted monologues or weird backstory flashbacks. The people behind Marvel: Ultimate Alliance knew that devoting 10 minutes to a "Before I was Spider-Man, I was a 90-pound geek and the only person that didn't punch me was my uncle" explanation was a waste of time. Any second not spent making robot widows was a second that didn't really matter.
This approach to a League video game would improve it by leaps and bounds. The best parts of the League movie are when it feels the most like a video game anyway, with Mr. Hyde using melee attacks against groups of henchmen:
And Nemo activating his special sword technique abilities when surrounded by enemies:
Trusting that the audience knows who these people are, even if they don't, is way more entertaining than going the Batman route and constantly re-explaining their origins every other scene.
The Invisible Man will get a few lines of dialogue that he repeats during combat (probably "Haha! Try and find me!" and "Now you see me! Now you don't!"), but the story would benefit way more from that mindless fun than it would from pulling the player aside with the introduction of every new character to lecture them about why this person is important. It's the League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. They're the Avengers of sophomore English. And no matter what time period they come from, a 70-30 ratio of adventuring to info dumping is the minimum requirement.
Before Star Wars was Disney's Star Wars, John Carter was Disney's Star Wars. Based on the book series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, it was a bland effort that could never make up its mind about how nerdy and referential it wanted to be. Also, since it came after a bunch of films that were inspired by the original John Carter books, it felt uninspired. What could've been a unique, involving experience was a generic Non Star Wars Space Fantasy #38, made almost specifically to have a two-second clip of it shown during that "EVERYTHING IS BETTER ON BLU-RAY" montage at the beginning of every DVD and for nothing else.
Why It Would Make A Great Video Game:
I'm sure that John Carter would've been retroactively improved had we gotten the planned trilogy and seen where the mythology was going to go, but they could've skipped all that by just making a Fallout 4-esque game with it. League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen has a rich history, but you can grasp its central concept without knowing about all of it. John Carter is not as familiar to people. If you asked a person on the street who he is, they'd probably tell you that he was the second president, or a co-worker who still hasn't paid back that 20 bucks that they loaned him. So a giant game where you can either choose a direct path or spend hours creeping into every cavern on Mars, looking through chests for extraneous notes and rusty weapons, would benefit them. If they're like me, they need to scratch the familiar itch of wanting excellent video game adaptations of early-1900s pulp novels.
I need it. I need it bad.
A John Carter Fallout wouldn't force the narrative into something condensed and forgettable. You could go balls-out fantasy and never once have to worry about how it's going to tie into marketing toys and T-shirts or force-feeding it that "Disney" feeling. Something the size of War And Peace is found every time you search through a raider's butthole in Fallout 4, so you'd have no trouble fitting a lot of iconic stuff from the 10-plus book series in, all while adding side quests and challenges that seem appropriate. Giving people the chance to piece together the John Carter universe through cut scenes, dialogue, and various materials is superior to shaving all of the weirdness off of it to create a limited run of Disney films. John Carter didn't have to be Not Star Wars Until We Get Another Star Wars. It could've been much more respectable.
Wrestling movies, in general, don't work, because wrestling exists outside of our reality. At least that's what professional wrestling needs us to believe. There's no logical reason why Bray Wyatt, a swamp cult leader that looks like a plot twist in a camp slasher flick, has to become a wrestler to accomplish his goals. He just is one, appearing out of a portal at the top of the stage to do his job and then disappear. Wrestling movies, unless they're like The Wrestler, don't work because it shows normal people being forced to interact with the fake pro-wrestling world. The two realities clash and threaten to rip the fabric of time and space. Also, the movies usually suck.
Nacho Libre is, by far, the best wrestling movie ever made that falls under the wrestling movie subgenre "Normal Dude Becomes A Wrestler." That subgenre also includes Ready To Rumble, which was both a comedy and wrestling's interpretation of the five stages of grief, and the two movies share one huge weakness: In their attempts to make wrestling look good, they make it look terrible. There's no way to believe that Jack Black is suddenly better than every luchador in the country if it's a real sport, and if it isn't a real sport, then where are the stakes? Wrestling doesn't work if it has to coexist with real life.
Why It Would Make A Great Video Game:
Since Ready To Rumble is based on a real company, WCW, that went under because it's hard to tell Hulk Hogan no when he asks, "Could I have all the money and all the power?" Nacho Libre is the alternative when it comes to my pitch: an open-world wrestling game.
For it to work, wrestling has to be the center of the universe. It has to be like Dethklok in Metalocalypse: the most popular thing that is, ever was, and ever will be. WWE has released a ton of wrestling games, but any time they have stuff take place in a land outside of the ring, it always comes back to wrestling -- "Throw these police officers and construction workers to their death before they ruin the ring!" and shit like that:
Nacho Libre, taking place in some colorful city where everything revolves around wrestling, would be full of that. Conflicts would be settled using wrestling moves, and the interspersed matches with "bosses" would progress the storyline. At no point would there be another "real" world that you could escape to. Sure, other characters would have non-wrestling jobs, but they'd be very aware that "You brought a headlock to a suplex fight, boy" battles could break out at any time. Also, lucha libre is less serious than American wrestling, less based around slams and submission holds, and more based around "Holy shit, that dude did four flips in the air and turned it into an armbar." It's a dynamic fighting style, practically tailor-made to deplete a gang-run building of henchmen. You'd probably have to deal with Jack Black's voice acting the whole time, but as long as he's more Brutal Legend and less Kung Fu Panda 3, it's a sacrifice that I'm willing to make.
And you'd never have to worry about wrestling seeming corny or "believable," since wrestling would be, as it should be, everything.
Sharknado is a fake orgasm of a movie. Its measured terribleness and overbearing self-awareness has been devised solely to make you live-tweet about how bad it is. It's a social media stunt disguised as Plan 9 From Outer Space. Every single line and action and CGI Jaws is created to be laughable as possible, thus making it all the more boring. At least with things like Plan 9 and Manos: The Hands Of Fate, you get the feeling that someone was behind the camera having the time of their lives. With Sharknado, you can practically hear a guy pop his collar before checking what people are saying about #Sharknado on Instagram.
Why It Would Make A Great Video Game:
As a Rampage-style game that you play on your phone when your subway commute is taking forever? A brainless flash game that appeals to modern people's most basic wants: urban ruin and infinite sharks? That is where Sharknado would truly be worth something.
No part of it ever lets you know that it knows that it's a video game. You don't see a cast made up of Bill Engvall and Kurt Angle and Tara Reid, which would instantly make it easier to stomach. There is no purposely bad dialogue and no stupid decisions being made. You play as the sharknado, eliminating all chances to cloud this product with C-list actor cameos, Syfy-Channel-approved hashtags, and anything else that isn't a fish-based storm.
You could either choose from a destruction mode, where you try to gain as many points as possible by destroying buildings; a versus mode, where you take on other sharknadoes in a battle to see who has worse taste in the Google Play store; or a story mode, where you go through the plot of the movie from the point of view of the special effects.
Your sharknado gets bigger and the sharks you suck up in the time before you come ashore directly affect what kind of sharknado you control. Whale sharks do more damage, you can shoot hammerheads at nearby buildings and people, great white sharks can eat things to give you more health, friends abandon you, college aspirations betray you, and you become a writer to deal with yourself.
The Purge isn't necessarily a bad movie, but only its sequel, The Purge: Anarchy prevents it from falling into the pit of Netflix two-star horror movies. It's just so angrily average, and it didn't help that it came out around the same time as You're Next, an infinitely better home-invasion slasher film with infinitely cooler masks. The Purge is all about a universe where all crime is legalized for 12 hours, but the first movie never shows you the universe outside of a guy's house. And the people inside the guy's house aren't that interesting, leaving you with stagnant mediocrity for 90 minutes until the movie's unfulfilling end.
It made Lena Headey boring. You know how hard that is to accomplish?
Why It Would Make A Great Video Game:
The video game adaptation could go one of two ways: a game like Batman: Arkham Knight that takes place in a huge, stylized world, or a game that would mix the horror of Alien: Isolation with the "I just hit that guy with a chainsaw attached to a milkshake" of Dead Rising 3. The former would fix the problem of the game being a story-less, joy-less romp in a character's house, and the latter would be set inside the house but fix the problem of having every character be interchangeable "What was that noise?" fodder.
The first option would also be more story-based, and would probably center around some guy's quest to find his loved one. And he has to find her soon, because if you haven't seen the Purge movies, just know that crime moves quick, dudes. The 12 hours, while constantly being alluded to, would probably only come around if you finish the game in under 12 hours and win some sort of "You Should Really Take Video Games Less Seriously" achievement. Otherwise, it would be a very loose 12 hours, because games that strictly enforce time limits are as fun as rushing to get to your flight before it leaves.
"Twelve hours is barely enough time to design my create-a-murderer."
Along the way, you could probably choose to help people who forgot that it was Purge night and went to Best Buy, or choose to help criminals that want to burn down said Best Buy, since various scenarios would illuminate the world better than four cramped walls could. And after the main story is done, you can go around and examine how the city has changed thanks to who/what you did and didn't save. This ending would have more impact than the movie's "Oh, look. Morning. Guess the story's done, then" conclusion.
If you were dancing around infernos all night, all of your friends will be like, "Man, remember when we had stuff that wasn't a pile of ashes?" And if you helped stop those nasty Purgeristas (I dare you to think of a better name), your neighbor will wistfully look at his surroundings and announce, "This wasn't as bad as some of the other Purges. Wonder why?" Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.
IT WAS YOU, TRUE HERO.
Either that, or a game where you're forced to defend a main location. Usually, these games are filled with zombies, but in this case, you'd have to rely much more on stealth, and the horror elements would be enhanced so that you're constantly hoping that you can get to the soldier in the Purgian Empire before they get to you. While there would be a very loose story, the game would primarily deal with not dying and finding out who you can trust among your family members (As it turns out, your shithole son is much more likely to reveal his family's hiding spots when he's being threatened with an ax.) Every play session would be different, as what effects each family member changes from game to game due to your actions. You wouldn't be stuck with the same gaggle of idiots each time.
It would finally destroy people's notions of the American family unit, thus finishing a quest that was started when video games were first invented. Long live video games. Boo love, familial bonds, and compassion. Booooo.
Daniel would do terribly in the Purge. He has a dumb Twitter.
What do Chuck Norris, Liam Neeson in Taken, and the Dos Equis guy have in common? They're all losers compared to some of the actual badasses from history whom you know nothing about. Come out to the UCB Sunset for another LIVE podcast, April 9 at 7:00 p.m., where Jack O'Brien, Michael Swaim, and more will get together for an epic competition to find out who was the most hardcore tough guy or tough gal unfairly relegated to the footnotes of history. Get your tickets here!
Check out more bad movies that might make fantastic video games in 5 Signs That You're Watching the Awesome Kind of Bad Movie and you'll agree with us that Hollywood needs to make another run at Hancock (that sounds dirtier than we meant it) after you read 4 Bad Movies That Could Be Awesome Remakes.
Also follow us on Facebook and maybe you can one day be part of the eventual and inevitable video game based on Cracked's Facebook.