The Games Begin: San Diego Comic-Con 2013 (Day One)

 

cc1It’s Heraldic Criticism’s second annual second-hand Comic-Con coverage, and I’ll be posting daily recaps of the day’s events and giving my reactions to the things I read, watch, and experience online.

Video Games to Movies

IGN posted a report of this panel, posing the question of whether or not video game movies are finally coming into their own. Among the panel was filmmaker Tim Miller (Deadpool) and writer Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li), and others attached to in-development game adaptations. Panelists discussed the difficulties in translating a video game to the silver screen, mentioning the upcoming Need for Speed, Assassin’s Creed, and Deus Ex movies. The panel also talked about the differences between comics-to-movies and video games-to-movies, and expressed hope that video games can finally get their own X-Men or Spider-Man soon.

Personally, I still have my doubts whether games can ever even be considered art themselves. Nonetheless, I’m of the opinion video game movies can work, given the right property and the right filmmaker. One of the biggest things, considering how liberally games borrow from movies these days, is making sure a film adaptation doesn’t feel redundant, and yet still stays true to the game’s mythology. The formula hasn’t been cracked yet, but at least both mediums have some degree of interactivity to them; look at Rear Window, revolutionary in its time for implicating the viewer in the same voyeuristic tendencies as its protagonist. Using those kind of techniques for a video game movie would be a subtle way to translate the game’s interactivity to the screen. Artistically, it’s a huge challenge, especially considering past efforts like Super Mario Bros. or Mortal Kombat. These efforts failed because their source material was insubstantial, unfit to be translated into a narrative storytelling form. With cutscene-heavy games like Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex, however, a decent film adaptation doesn’t seem entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Someday, perhaps.

Batman: Arkham Origins

DC’s liveblog this year was again rather uninformative and unhelpful as the team delved into the upcoming Arkham series prequel, revealing new gameplay, the inclusion of little-known villain Copperhead, Deathstroke as a playable character, and more. I’m excited for the game, but at this stage, developing the game in-house without Rocksteady feels like merely a money-saving move, and instead of telling another great story, designed solely to promote a wider range of lesser-known Batman villains. Hopefully there’s a bit more to it than that.

Summit – Ender’s Game

Summit’s gone all-out to promote Ender’s Game, based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, and one of my personal favorites from back in Middle School. Just look at their fantastic booth experience:

Courtesy Unofficial SDCC blog

After the cast of Divergent left the stage, the Ender’s Game panel (followed via ComingSoon.net) kicked off with director Gavin Hood, co-writer Bob Orci, and stars Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, and Harrison Ford. After showing some brand new footage and getting the Q&A going, I was reminded of how much I appreciated the book when I first read it, how angry I felt at seeing the military’s treatment of Ender as a tool for their own gain. It’s an effective story, especially at that age.

Of course, the panel couldn’t go on without acknowledging the controversy over Orson Scott Card’s views on gay marriage, wherein gay communities have planned to boycott the film as a result. Apparently people aren’t intelligent enough to distinguish between an author and his work. Even after Lionsgate dismissed Card’s opinions and publically offered LGBT groups a free screening of the movie, the group responded that it wasn’t enough. Seriously? This is an attempt by those groups to blacklist a talented author just because he doesn’t share the same worldview, and that’s just wrong.

The panel also featured several questions for Harrison Ford, including one fan asking what Han Solo and Indiana Jones’ first word to each other would be. “Hi…how are you?” answered Ford.

Ender’s Game looks excellent; November can’t come soon enough.

Perhaps most exciting Thursday, however, was the tease of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which not only featured some actual displays of the Sentinels to be featured in the film, but also saw the leak of a few behind-the-scenes pics:

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Great to see Jackman sporting the white hair streaks as in the comic but…could it be…the classic yellow Wolvie suit he’s finally wearing?! Never thought I’d be this excited for a Fox-produced X-film.

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Great new pics. I’ll talk more about the film after its panel on Saturday, but I can’t wait to find out just what the hell is going on with this movie’s place in the timeline.

To be continued…

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