Of all the mediums in the entertainment industry, film is arguably the single biggest across the world. It is so successful in fact that other mediums are often adapted into film in order to achieve greater success. Out of all of these, books-to-films have been the most successful, though they have certainly had a rough track record.
But we all know the horror stories. Unlike book-to-film adaptations, which enjoy a solid number of success stories, game-to-film or tv-to-film are wildly considered to be only failures. Some of them are so bad that they fall into the anals of history as some of the worst movies of all time! ‘The Super Mario Bros.’ movie, ‘The Last Airbender’, all five ‘Resident Evil’ movies (god knows how they got five), and Michael Bay’s ‘Transformers’ series are all just a few examples.
But today, I want to ask: are these adaptations doomed to be bad forever? Are they still some of the worst films to be released? Or are they slowly but surely getting better?
“Jonah!” you may be thinking “You’re crazy! Of course they’re not getting better! They’re trash and they will never be any better!” Well, I don’t disagree with your opinion. It’s easy to see why you think that way. But today, I’d like to play devil’s advocate and argue for the other side.
Throughout 2019, we’ve gotten many hit films. Some were expected, such as ‘Avengers: Endgame’. Others were completely unexpected, such as the soulless photo-realistic adaptation of ‘The Lion King’. But among them, there were two adaptations that people looked at and went “Hey! That’s actually pretty good!”
Though there was a sizable chunk that thought otherwise. But that’s the wonderful thing about opinions. Besides, I’d say that being divisive is better than everyone agreeing that it sucks.
The first of these adaptations was ‘Alita: Battle Angel’. It brought a classic anime/manga to the big screen. Bad sign, right? Every time they’ve tried that before, it ended in complete disaster. Every sign pointed to Alita crashing and burning.
But nope! It was decently successful, especially when compared to previous live-action anime adaptations. Plus, a large chunk of the audience, and even some critics, gave the film a glowing review! After all these years, we got an anime adaptation that everyone didn’t hate!
Even if an equally large portion of the viewership didn’t like it. And people stopped talking about it practically a day after it came out. But we’re making progress people!
A few months later, we got another adaptation that people actually enjoyed. This time, it picked up a largely beloved video game franchise. Thus, it had the largest expectations out of any video game movie. I am, of course, referring to the Pokemon film: ‘Detective Pikachu’.
Once again, the film was given a fair number of positive reviews. Sure, the American box office didn’t bring in big numbers. But thanks to other countries, the film enjoyed decent success! It was a fun, charming children’s movie.
Based on Pokemon. We had films for Mario, Doom, Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat. And the first good one was Pokemon.
Pokemon confirmed as best franchise.
Sure, neither of these films are masterpieces. As I’ve said, they are highly divisive. But that’s the key word: divisive.
With previous anime/game adaptations, everyone was pretty united in saying “This is bullshit!” But the adaptations we’ve gotten in recent times are putting a divide between everyone who watched them. Some thought they were good, others thought they sucked.
It isn’t a huge improvement, don’t get me wrong. But hey! Baby steps are better than not walking at all.
There is certainly hope for more adaptations in the future. Whether it be a film or a series, I certainly feel that the quality of these anime/game films are slowly getting better. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get a truly great one sometime soon!
Not counting Netflix’s ‘Castlevania’ series. That shit was already the fucking coolest!