Everyone who has seen a "video game movie" knows that it is, on the whole, a vastly underwhelming experience. Marred with mediocre directing, spotty acting, and writing worthy of Mrs. Thompson's 4th Grade Class, it's a rather depressing spectacle for those of us who love video games -- and by extension, their stories. Now, with the creation of Ubisoft Motion Pictures, things are set to get a bit more interesting. The studio will be dedicated to producing film adaptations of Ubisoft titles, and it looks like, as one might expect, they will have some rather lovely technology at their disposal. According to Variety magazine's website,
Some of Ubisoft's hot proprieties include "Assassin's Creed" and "Splinter Cell." Ubisoft's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" was brought to the bigscreen by Jerry Bruckheimer, with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead. The 2010 pic grossed about $335 million worldwide.
The publisher started expanding its reach in 2007, when it launched Ubisoft Digital Arts, a computer animation studio, which created "Avatar's" ground-breaking 3D vidgame. A year later, it acquired Montreal-based visual effects house Hybride Technologies.
I'm not against such adaptations of games per se, though I find myself consistently disappointed with the outcome. Part of it may simply be that such endeavors are simply taken less seriously; this is, after all, a genre characterized by the walking mound of dreck that is Uwe Boll. It is worth noting, however, that video game movies don't exactly find themselves on a shoestring budget, with films such as Silent Hill, Doom, Tomb Raider, and Prince of Persia garnering budgets of roughly 50, 60, 115, and 150-200 million respectively. Thus, the video game movie has always presented a bit of a conundrum for me. Despite having stories and environments that are arguably less realized than their comic book counterparts -- the sheer volume of material for a film like Spider-Man, for example -- they set the background well enough to produce positive results, given the requisite skill, experience, and artistic license to produce a film that, while undeniably rooted in its source material, stands on its own artistic merit. Hopefully the creation of a dedicated studio will help to push the world of video games movies in the right direction, showing that games can, with the necessary inclination and support, provide adequate inspiration for quality films.