The Mass Effect universe is epic in its scope, and throughout the three games BioWare produced, it was clear that there were a myriad of side stories that could be told with these characters, organizations and planets. So it was with great excitement that I attended a screening for Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, an original feature-length anime featuring the backstory of one James Vega. Unfortunately, it turns out that the awesomeness of the Mass Effect games is difficult to reproduce in other mediums.
The general public is more familiar with Milla Jovovich kicking ass while wearing skin-tight leather outfits in the Resident Evil movie franchise, but Sony and Capcom quietly released Resident Evil: Degeneration a few years back, an all-CGI movie that was basically like one of the games with all the gameplay cut out. And now there's another one, called Resident Evil: Damnation, that unfortunately shows off the best and worst aspects of the Resident Evil games.
Resident Evil: Damnation starts off with a whole lot of extraneous exposition to set the scene before setting Leon Kennedy loose in a fictional Eastern European country at civil war with itself... and some BOW's are getting involved to make sure things get extra messy. Las Plagas factors in heavily in the story, transforming everyone into brainless monsters. But there's also Lickers and a couple of Tyrants at the end as bosses. Oh, and Ada Wong shows up for a couple of scenes here and there, but her role in everything is just enigmatic and slightly irritating. See, the plot is like a Resident Evil game it sort of makes sense, in a general way, but with way too much talky speechifying and posturing. Honestly, the plot is okay, but the script is way over-the-top in spots. A few times I actually groaned at some of the dialogue coming out of peoples' mouths.
The animation is really impressive. Everyone looks great, and they're even able to animate subtle facial expressions that allow the characters to act without even speaking. The motion capture ensures that all the action is dead on. But they still can't quite get the lip-syncing right. I don't know if that's because this was a Japanese production and they couldn't re-animate the lips to fit the English words when they translated it, or if they just didn't bother to match the lips that closely to the dialogue in the first place. It's kind of distracting in scenes. Which is a shame, because the actual voice acting isn't that bad. Also, it's clear that this was made for 3D, and seeing it on a 2D DVD left me wishing I could've seen it in a theater in all three dimensions. There are some spectacularly choreographed fight scenes that I bet would've looked amazing in 3D.
Honestly, if you're a big RE fan, you've probably already seen Resident Evil: Damnation. But if you haven't, and you at least enjoy the series, you should give it a rent. The animation and action setpieces more than make up for the overly-complicated plot and hacky script. The live-action Resident Evil movies may be criticized for being mindless action flicks, but these CGI ones go a little too far in the other direction for my taste.
That's right, folks. There's another Resident Evil movie coming. Apparently I'm a little behind on this one, because it starts filming in my back yard (more or less) on October 10. Resident Evil: Retribution 3Dwill be made by pretty much the same crew that's made the past Resident Evil movies, with the Redfields MIA this time because they were captured by Umbrella or some such. Mila Jovovich's Alice will - of course - be returning, along with Wesker, Jill Valentine, Carlos Olivera, and Barry, as will be director Paul W.S. Anderson. Given that this will be the fifth Resident Evil movie, and that they keep making pretty decent coin, the series is rapidly turning into one of the most successful video game screen adaptations, it would seem. Proof that zombies sell?
But who is that statuesque gentleman accompanying this article, you ask? Well, he is Estonian-American actor/model/genetic lottery winner Johann Urb, and he's going to be playing Leon S. Kennedy, probably the biggest character to not be ported from the games to the silver screen series thus far. GameInformer has a great side-by-side comparison of Mr. Urb and his video game counterpart sporting eerily similar, endearingly dorky hair-dos, but given the amount of attention that ChrisRedfield gets around these parts, I figured a slightly more flattering picture was in order. Mr. Urb is perhaps best known for his role in Eastwick, though yours truly remembers him best as the Russian pilot from 2012(yes, I watched 2012) who was criminally killed off for no good reason except that he was possibly better-looking than the special effects.
We will, of course, keep you updated about all the Resident Evil, Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy, and other attractive-man-related news that we can.
In the wee hours of the morning, a leaked trailer for a canceled game adaptation of the upcoming Avengers film leaked online. Unlike the masterpiece mediocre tie-ins from Sega, this game was being developed by one of THQ's many now-defunct internal studios. It's a shame, really, because what you're about to see looks pretty cool.
Note: This game trailer may reveal some stuff about the upcoming movie, so don't watch if you don't want to be spoiled.
What you just watched was the teaser trailer for Tekken: Blood Vengeance, the first full length CG animated film based on the popular fighting franchise. Last night my twitter feed was jam packed with retweets of the trailer, posted first by Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada.
The film runs 90 minutes, pretty standard length for an animated feature, and is canon with the game series bridging the gap between Tekken 5 and Tekken 6. That's right just like Resident Evil: Degeneration, which was also produced by Digital Frontier. The screenplay is written by Dai Sato, of Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex fame, and the film will be directed by Youichi Mouri who directed the flawless opening sequences of both Tekken 5 and Tekken 6.
Suffice it to say, we're in good hands with this one. If this is the new trend for gaming-based movies, then I'm all for it! Tekken in particular has always been a franchise I've wanted more straight-up plot from, as ridiculous as the story can be at times.
Fans can expect the gorgeous looking film sometime this summer.
And hopefully with this we can forever forget the awful live-action Tekken film that came out last year.
Seriously though where the hell is Miguel's chest hair? Or his ethnicity?
Update:It appears the rights for a Dead Island have not yet been sold. According to a press release from Deep Silver, publisher of the Techland-developed game:
Since video games publisher Deep Silver revealed the upcoming game Dead Island™ this week, its accompanying promotional trailer has created a tremendous amount of buzz in the internet community and has been hailed a "Must See" throughout.
As a result, Deep Silver has received a massive amount of interest in the film adaptation rights to the Dead Island IP. Contrary to rumors that have been circulating, neither the film rights nor any other licenses have yet been sold by Deep Silver, which is the sole IP holder of the Dead Island brand.
We will bring you more as it arises. Read the original article, in all its misinformed glory, after the jump..
Back in October, Dawdle gave us some more news on the forthcoming Uncharted movie, which seems to have David O. Russell on board as both a director and writer. Today, MTV Multiplayer confirmed the casting decision of the leading man Nathan Drake: Mark Wahlberg.
For quite some time it seemed fans had been pulling for Nathan Fillion, who even expressed an interest in the role via Twitter. Personally, considering his past roles, it seemed like it would make a lot of sense given Drake's sense of humor.
However, as we all know, certain directors tend to work with certain actors more frequently, which isn't even wholly unheard of in the history of acting; in many ways, it makes sense, given they establish a working relationship that benefits the coming together of a cast. Considering his latest role in Russell's The Fighter, and previous roles in films such as I <3 Huckabees, seeing Wahlberg here isn't wholly a surprise.
As to his capability of playing Drake? Personally, I could see it physically, but I'm not 100% certain he can capture the humor--depends on how dark it goes, I suppose.
Otherwise, Wahlberg also confirmed that Russell is trying to get both Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro in the film to play his uncle and father respectively. Since the games have alluded to Drake's ancestry (particularly to Sir Francis Drake), this seems to make a bit of sense, if the stories are not going to mimic the plot of the games absolutely, which may be preferable. If I'm going to sit in a theater, I'm not entirely sure I would want to see the exact same cutscenes that I'd already seen and played through in some regard (which was one of my criticisms of the Watchmen movie as well). Different media, different strengths.
As to how it will all play out? I suppose I'm still curious as to who other casting choices may be, and whether or not characters such as Elena will be present (considering Hollywood's penchant for having a bit of romance, and this being the film that would seemingly fall into that, I can't imagine them not having her).
One of the early names to come up when an adaptation of Uncharted was first being bandied about Hollywood was writer/director David O. Russell. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Russell is back in the mix, and has reportedly signed a deal to write and direct the film. He had been most recently attached to an adaptation of the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but with that movie losing its leading lady Natalie Portman, it seems like Russell may have moved onto something that was a bit more of a sure thing at this point.
Russell is possibly best known for quirky indie dramas like Spanking the Monkey and I Heart Huckabees(and for making Lily Tomlin freak the eff out). However he also directed the (really pretty good) Iraq war adventure-comedy Three Kings, which is probably closest in feel to the Uncharted series.
Unlike some video games that have gotten the big screen treatment, Uncharted could actually turn out decent, probably because the game hews so close to classical Hollywood cinema already. Any ideas you'd like to see them follow up on, any cast you'd like to recommend? Personally I'd like to see Emily Rose, the voice of Elena in the games, take on the actual role in the film: she's doing pretty good work on SyFy's Haven, and I know I'd have a hard time hearing someone else in the role. Although really, as long as they don't cast one of the Jonas brothers as Nathan or anyone from the Twilight films, I'll probably be fine.
Playstation 3 owners in the UK are getting a break on some select movie titles this week. Until June 23rd, a special cache of movies which are either adaptations of video games or inspired by video game imagery are on sale for £2.49 to rent and £6.99 to buy. The list is as follows:
Resident Evil: Extinction
Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life
Final Fantasy : The Spirits Within
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The unfortunate reality of the movie/video game connection is that the results are rarely fantastic, with a few notable exceptions. Hellboy being one, although it's technically based off a graphic novel, and itself has only inspired some sub-par games. And The Hulk has some defenders, although again its connection to video games is tenuous at best. Most of the rest, while flashy and great popcorn gobbling fare, tend to leave much to be desired in the realm of substance and faithfulness to the source material. However, if the price is right, having these on your PS3 hard drive may well satisfy the gaymer geek within.
Tron could be considered to be as iconic as Super Mario Bros. but in a different way. The original Tron movie debuted courtesy of Disney in 1982 during a time when the video game market was over saturated with gaming consoles and less than desirable software. Before Nintendo breathed life back into the games industry Tron could be considered a last ditch attempt to resuscitate the then fledgling industry. Over the course of a few decades Tron has been represented in a multitude of games, books and a comic book including Tron 2.0, The Art Of Tron, and Tron: The Ghost In The Machine respectively. It looks like Disney has decided that 2010 is the perfect time to breathe new life into the franchise. In 2010 we will get Tron Evolution the game and Tron Legacy the movie. While the game trailer above was posted by Dawdle last week in response to Spike TV's game announcement, seeing it with the movie trailer (after the break) really solidifies the Tron experience and allows for a clearer picture of Disney's modern approach to this classic franchise. Both singe the screen with an impressive showing of slick visuals pierced with trademark incandescent motherboard circuitry. These trailers lack any real hints at story but I have a feeling these titles will be more about action and gameplay than evoking an emotional response from consumers. Clear hints at the classic bike scene from the original movie suggest light cycles will make appearances in both the movie and the game. Hopefully these trailers' sleek images portend movie going and gameplay experiences equally engaging. Both are slated for a Holiday release 2010.
File this under "heaven help us all." Uwe Boll-- the man with an inexplicable skill in somehow turning video game film adaptations, themselves already the stuff of "meh", into works of pure torture to watch-- has apparently announced that he's going to direct a third movie in the Bloodrayne franchise. I must confess I haven't seen either of the first two movies; the bastardization of Alone in the Dark was quite enough for me, please and thank you. He somehow managed to make a sex scene involving Christian Slater unappetizing. Oh, and House of the Dead: what happens when you stick a bunch of rave-seeking college students on a deserted island with guns and ninja zombies? Hilarity, that's what!
At any rate, the third movie will be titled Bloodrayne: Warhammer, and aside from being based on a video game that doesn't exist (and drawing strange parallels to that whole Games Workshop franchise) it will have Kristanna Loken again reprising her role as Rayne. No information about a plot but I suspect if this announcement interests you any, you probably don't care what the story is about.
The only use I can think of with this film would be some sort of horrifying Frankenstein mashup involving Twilight, but I'm funny that way.
This past week I gathered a group of gays and we huddled into the illustrious Chelsea Cinemas on 23rd st. to see 2012. While it is always a pleasure to see John Cusack reprise his role as everyman Tom Hanks, the real treat was my first glimpse of the upcoming movie Avatar. This trailer was made to appeal to gamers. The first few seconds I could have sworn I was witnessing a live action crossover of Final Fantasy XII and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
James Cameron's latest epic follows the exploits of a young marine (Sam Worthington) who has been paralyzed from the waist down as he enters the Avatar program enabling him to walk once again. This experimental program places Worthington in the seat of "Driver:" one who controls living, breathing bodies using cutting edge technology to link his mind with the avatar. The ensuing trailer shows Worthington as he interacts with the amazing fantasy world of Pandora from the safety of his base, building relationships and fighting battles not unlike what most of us do from the safety of our couches. Another trailer showed the beefy daddy Bruce Willis in Surrogates. As Lt. Harvey Greer he investigates a world where no one leaves their home but instead send their biological robotic clones out to live life for them. This recent stream of bleak, pre-apocalyptic views seem to tie some form of gaming or technology to a collective psyche of undoing. Are these snapshots of inspired schematics for future online gaming? Will the current boon of motion technology and casual gaming be the mother and father of ubiquitous and salaciously addictive lifestyle practices?
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