Wednesday, September 24, 2008

News 9/24/08: The Sims Movie

This week in news, we are discussing videogame movies. Adding to the deep history of videogame movies (who can forget Doom and Bloodrayne?) comes The Sims Movie currently in the works. Before reading our thoughts on the subject, check out the link for a short interview with John Davis, the film's producer. Also, feel free to join in on our conversation by leaving your comments.

Today's Topic: The Sims Movie

Scott: If someone told you to think up a premise for a Sims movie, this would probably be the first crappy idea you come up with. And they're greenlighting it.

Jorge: They can't deny the fact that they are just making this up as they go along. Everything about this script is completely off the top of their head, everything except the fact a game called "The Sims" exists.

Scott: It's a blatant cash in. Possibly more blatant than the ill fated Super Mario Bros. movie.

Jorge: The interviewer on the N'Gai Croal's article, who sounds brutally honest with his questions, likens the movie idea to 'Weird Science'. Which isn't bad. But how old is that movie now? A story like that just doesn't fly anymore.

Scott: Good point. It's been done. So who do they think is going to watch it?

Jorge: I don't even think they will be trying to market it to gamers. I think they're just banking on the name "The Sims" because everyone knows the game, whether or not they've even played it. Part of what is so cool about the Sims is the character creation, but as a movie goer, there is absolutely no interaction. You lose what drew people to the game in the first place.

Scott: There is such a huge audience for the sims game; everyone from "hardcore" players to soccer moms have played it. So do you think they're targeting the moms who don't know better than to watch/bring their kids to what will most likely be terrible movie?

Jorge: Oh, absolutely. So essentially, the movie is going to be about a little kid who gets powers that should NEVER been given to a child, and then uses it to make a pool full of jello or some other idiotic shenanigans. Sounds like a terrible movie for the right audience. Didn't we see this movie already? I think it was called "Click." It's like like a really bad goosebumps story arc.
Really, it kind of saddens me that EA can just wipe their hands clean from the terrible movie this will be. They should be punished for letting this get too far.

Scott: But what power do we have against EA? What are we going to do? Not buy Sims 3? I don't see that happening. Those evil bastards have us right where they want us.

Jorge: I don't know... maybe I'll make a spore creature that spells out "The Sims Movie Sucks."

Jorge: Why do we need videogame movies anyway? I'm not so sure they really lend themselves to the movie format. Even the Mass Effect movie rights were sold, and though it has a strong narrative, I don't believe it will make a good movie.

Scott: I can't really think of a good movie that was originally a video game. Of course, to be fair, I tend to avoid them like the plague.

Jorge: The first resident evil movie was pretty entertaining. I thought about seeing the Silent Hill movie, but I was too scared to just watch the trailer. So that didn't pan out.

Scott: I'm just trying to think of movies not directed by Uwe Boll. It seems like video game movies are just relegated to "B" list actors, budgets, etc. That being said, isn't Marky-Mark in the new Max Payne movie?

Jorge: Yea, which actually looks like a decent action movie, for what its worth. It looks a bit like Constantine. Plus the Bioshock movie speculations are exciting because there is some good source material to work with. If a videogame has a compelling world in which to set a movie in, fine, that could work. I could at least understand why someone would want to make a movie set in that universe.

Scott: It's just hard though, because I think lots of games have good universes. The problem always seems to be coming up with a good script, performed by good actors, directed by a good director, working with a good budget. Without the confluence of all those factors, I think any move, videogame or not, is doomed to suck.

Jorge: I think we are naturally possessive with these worlds too. I'm sure most of the writers didn't grow up with these games. The idea of someone putting their filthy paws on Hyrule is terrifying. Mark Wahlberg said he didn't play the Max Payne movie and said he wasn't going to. That being said, I would love to see a Shadow of the Colossus movie it comes from a studio that actually knows what they are doing.

Scott: Something like Colossus would be hard though, because part of the power of that game is the fact that it is so long and involved. Building the same kind of relationship (a relationship based largely on interaction) is hard to do in 2 hours.

Jorge: There are problems translating any story from one medium to another. You just hope they the movie, book, or game can capture some of the joy you derived from the original content and add something to it as well.

Scott: I guess what we really want is for the movies to do justice for their material.

Jorge: It seems like when books or videogames are translated into movies they shed the things that made the game fun and interesting. For something like The Sims movie, it looks like that is intentional. If a movie comes from a studio that appreciates these videogame worlds from the perspective of a gamer, then the product should be better.

Scott: I just wish all the Hollywood hacks would keep their hands off games. But at the same time, I have a soft spot for the camp value of Super Mario Bros. John Leguizamo as Luigi? Genius. And Dennis Hopper is definitely Bowser's scariest incarnation.


  1. Just seeing those three words together...The Sims enough to make me roll my eyes.
    I think you're right, it's a very blatant cash-in. It's like they're not even trying to hide the fact. I don't even think this movie's fate has anything to do with the fact that there has never been a 'great' video game based movie. I mean, I liked the Resident Evil movies, and I'm not even a fan of the games. Silent Hill...well, that was an interesting movie. I always say that it was a perfect visual translation, but a terrible literary translation. In other words, the movie sucked, but it looked cool.
    I'll never give up hope on video game movies (unless, of course, Uwe Boll is making it). For some idiotic reason, I have high hopes for 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' in spite of the fact that I hate the lead actor. I also really have faith in a potential 'God of War' movie. It's really a lot of great source material.
    I think the bigger problem is this: who really takes these things seriously anymore? Even Mark Wahlberg said that if he had known 'Max Payne' was based on a video game, he wouldn't have done it.
    The fact is this: if game companies and movie studios ever want ANYBODY (including fans) to take game-based movies seriously, they need to stop doing stupid things like this. Seriously, 'The Sims Movie'.
    Try to say that out loud without rolling your eyes or sighing.
    Go ahead. Try it.
    I literally can not do it.

  2. @shane


    Nope, there go my eyes, rolling across the room. You're right: it's impossible.

  3. @Shane

    Not taking the process seriously is exactly the problem. I'd actually be really interested in seeing an independent film studio take on a videogame movie. It would have to be something relatively tame, but without a huge fever over potential profits, the outcomes would be more likely to come from an actual interest in the game.

  4. This very concept makes me sad. To be frank, I find the Sims game and other such things stupid beyond comparison: why would you make a bunch of characters and simulate "real life" when there are so many other better choices of game out there? I think the point that you made in the sense that its a blatant cash in is very true. I think it will fail also in that there is no sense of narrative to it, whereas games like Resident Evil and the like have a definite movie-esque storyline that can translate.
    But as Shane points out: why? Why does Hollywood seem to need to make all these movies from video games? It just feels a trifle like exploitation, which feels about as good as sleeping with a porcupine.

  5. The Sims Movie was already released under the title, "The Thirteenth Floor." A year before the first Sims game oddly enough.