There is No Perfect Video Game Movie

Most fans of the Monster Hunter video game series have been voicing their concern with the release of the movie trailer. Like always, the movie adaption of a beloved video game series has seen less than accurate representation. There’s nothing wrong with taking creative liberties with a property, but when you start to branch off too much from the source material, you risk alienating the fans.

The movie adaption of video games has always been a difficult one to get right. There have been some improvements in recent years with Detective Pikachu and the Sonic the Hedgehog movies. Yet, the overall view is that video games rarely make for great movies. This isn’t to say that video games lack a compelling story or world to explore, it’s that the people who create these movies either do not respect the property, or try and make a movie that reaches all audiences, which in turn pushes away everyone.

One interesting question that some people may overlook is, would you truly enjoy a movie adaptation of a video game even if the creators treated the property with care and respect? Honestly, I don’t think it’s possible to re-create the experiences you get when you play through a video game. It’s the same reason why movie adaptions of books, with extremely rare exceptions, will never be as good as the book. The reason is that video games are active experiences where you become enthralled with the characters and the world. You become a part of that world and an active participant in the story instead of passively watching it unfold.

You share in the experiences of the characters because, in a sense, you are the character. When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with JRPGs, “Japanese Role-Playing games: mainly, the Final Fantasy series. I remember feeling a strong connection with the characters and the story that was unfolding since I was an active part in the journey. And, while it would be nice to see a movie adaption of one of my favorite video games, it will never capture the feelings I had of playing the game.

If I watched a movie of a video game I like, the experience is completely different, even if the movie was a fully accurate representation of the game. A movie can never depict the imagination I invested within the game as an active participant. In comics, there’s this concept known as “closure”. It’s the reader’s ability to use their imagination to fill in the gaps between panels to make a complete picture in their head. Video games are the same. The player uses their imagination to fill in the loose parts that aren’t directly translated into a movie. The same thing happens in books. We can read the story, but our imagination creates the picture.

So, even though we may never see a perfect adaptation of our favorite video game into a movie, just know that the perfect movie of that video game already exists in your head.  

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