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Video Game Movies Don't Work: A History, From Raul Julia to a Not-So-Persian Prince

Producers and directors, take note: the video game movie -- and the inevitable franchise that follows it -- will never succeed as a film. Sure, that may sound hyperbolic, especially since movies like 'Tombraider' and 'Pokémon' have had significant box office success, but the formula, as it is, it will never work.

At Switched, we are the video game generation. We grew up with NES, we cut school to procure 'Goldeneye,' and we are all buddies on Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Furthermore, we, like the rest of America, like a good, solid blockbuster. Poetry isn't needed, but an engaging story and maybe a character that makes us smile are. 'Iron Man' succeeded, and, hell, some of us cite 'The Dark Knight' as one of the best movies of the past ten years, so we have no problem with films that look to geekdom for inspiration. But video games, well, they are interactive. As participants, we guide, direct and connect with the character and their plight directly. The player becomes the avatar, allowing us to connect directly to the game. This means, as blockbusters like the 'Final Fantasy' series have demonstrated, a certain suspension of disbelief is possible. And that's necessary, because even though the gameplay is great and you've been snuggling up to the character for 30 hours, the plot -- if not flimsy in the first place -- only becomes more convoluted and hard to follow.

So, here is a thesis. The cinematic history of the video game adaptation has been appalling. Its evolution has occurred in phases, with each one being more heinous than the last. The current phase is no exception to that rule, as evidenced by the steaming pile of horse bile that is 'Prince of Persia.' We'll point out what went wrong, and perhaps how, if ever, these movie mistakes can be remedied.

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