Video Game Films; A Perspective
By Anthony Pietromonaco
Let's talk about video game movies. We've all seen them, and with a few exceptions, we've all hated them...and when I say "we", I mean both those of us who are fans of the games that inspired them and those of us who don't know the difference. As a die-hard video game fan myself, I'm going to focus on the former.
The problem is that far too often the video game source material that inspired the movies they're made after are not honored. Have you seen the 'Mario Brothers' movie? I mean, come on. How about 'Final Fantasy'? Where were the swords? Where was the magic? DOOM? I love The Rock, but they missed the point. These are films made in title of the video game franchise ONLY. When a movie studio decides to capitalize on the following established by the video game franchise and does so without the perspective of a fan of that franchise, they've killed the project before it's begun.
Video game fans are like any Sci-Fi fan. They are nerds, purists. These are people that have dedicated more of their lives to their gaming consoles than to most of their other relationships. They will spend hours discussing the preferred equipment load out in 'Call Of Duty', the death of Aeris in 'FF7', or their favorite battle in 'Shadow of Colossus'. To not consider their extremely high nerd expectations is creative suicide—and by that I don't mean throw as much visual spectacle at them as possible (a la Resident Evil flicks). In fact, until recently, most video game fans fell in love with the games that were so graphically inferior to live-action standards that they pale in comparison...yet despite this fact, video game franchises have developed followings that rival 'Twilight' and 'The Hunger Games'.
And why not? Video games are one of the most powerful storytelling mediums in existence! If you play an RPG, you are going to spend as many as 30 hours or more immersed in the world of the game, and experiencing the story AS THE CHARACTERS THEMSELVES. It's as personal as a novel, with the cinematic experience of a film. What could be better than that?
Let's talk numbers. 'Final Fantasy' is arguably one of the most famous and most popular video game franchises. Selling over 100 million copies world-wide under the franchise title. Final Fantasy 7 remains one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, heralded for its superior story, characters and creative vision, and having sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Naughty Dog's 'Uncharted' franchise is another solid, recent example—having sold nearly 17 million copies under the franchise name. 'World of Warcraft' has 10 million monthly subscribers. The list goes on...
Now let's put those numbers in perspective: what's interesting about video game adaptations is they do not follow the standard rules in terms of creation and distribution. They do not require name talent nor do they require a major theatrical release to be popular. Recently, we have seen the development of high-quality pieces of content based on video games that exist exclusively online. Warner Brothers produced a series based on the 'Mortal Kombat' franchise while Microsoft recently funded the production of 'Halo, Forward Onto Dawn'. Both of these didn't make use of traditional distribution mediums (having been released exclusively via online channels), and were extremely well produced and well received by fans...how well received? Tens of millions of views per episode! The advantage here is that the content is able to be delivered directly into the hands of the fans of the franchise, without the costs of traditional media distribution. Now with that kind of success, major Hollywood studios are beginning to take notice and are developing full-scale motion pictures using the same actors, writers and directors.
This is the first time in history when there is an opportunity to create high-quality video game based content that can be delivered directly into the hands of the fans. I expect that over the next few years, there will be a significant rise in development for this type of content...and you'll see the development of large scale feature films that have for the first time been developed by the fans, for the fans and with the fans of the franchise truly in mind.
By: Renee George & Zachary Block
When you hear the phrase, "Life Is Full Of Waves...Catch One", you can't help but to automatically channel the moment when you stare willingly onto an ocean, horizon and crashing waves with your feet dug deep into the cool sand. Yeah, that moment.
Filmmaker Zachary Block ('Fathoms Deep') set out to create "The Breaks" — an original surf series about a group of athletes rising up through the ranks of the professional surfing world while they struggle with personal injuries, rivals and competitive nature. We were lucky enough to catch the first cut trailer of this gem, and we can positively say that the feel-good feelings were alive and kicking; we want to see more of the story, characters and ahem, gorgeous cinematography.
That wasn't all we wanted, though. We had to get some words with Block, who's also Manifest Film team mate ('Karma', 'The Exchange', 'What Remains') and pick his brain about the inspiration behind creating this great series. Here's what the emerging filmmaker:
"I felt that there was a significantly empty space in the"entertaining" sector of entertainment. My motivation for creating the show was to bring about a feeling of summer fun and friendship set in
an exciting and already infamous setting. At least once in everyone's life they want to be a Southern California kid. Whether you're from Montana, Canada or Thailand, surfing culture has no doubt reached you and stricken you with the contagious desire to put away life's baggage and hit the beach."
Ready to hit the beach? Like The Breaks on Facebook for an up-close and personal oceanic view.
TV Series Takeover: Zach Block & "The Breaks"
By: Renee George
When my eyes first feasted on this first concept art piece by Marco Valasquez, a jolt of suspense captured me; I was hooked on the first puzzle piece to 'Then There Were Two', the pilot episode to our series 'What Remains', slated to shoot a month later. I thought, "It's actually happening — a live-action video game inspired sketch has started the adventure." Before it was time to turn the focus back to pre-production, I had one remaining thought to explore.
I had seen the trailers for soon to be released video game, 'The Last Of Us', and while gazing deeper into the details of this zombie-fungus-head about to let loose on its two preyed pieces of dinner in the sketch that lied neatly on my table, the adaptation Marco executed was spot on. We have a talented one here, folks.
We immediately requested the digi-version to share on Facebook, and in the making of this site, we can now celebrate it right here with you! For the artist's bio, click here.