Thursday, November 6, 2014

Game Lessons Learned from the Films of 2014

This week on PopMatters, I've found another opportunity to talk about film!

I always find if valuable to think about games in relation to film. Despite the best effort of many to isolate games as some magical realm ne'er to meld with that of cinema, there is a whole lot to learn about storytelling when we cross mediums.

Now let's talk for a second about Interstellar. It almost earned a last minute addition to my list of five important films from 2014, and not because it's good. It isn't. There is enough plot contrivances and overly sentimental dialogue to make four mediocre sci-fi movies. Interstellar isn't all bad. Nolan certainly has a way with grandiose action and I, for one, enjoyed the occasionally oppressive score for all the intensity it created. Even so, it failed to pick up its various messy piece and convey the sense of wonder is tried so hard to create.

It almost made my list not for the thematic contents of the film, but for its scale. The film takes place in the near future, but stretches into the far distant future. Even though I am not the biggest fan of the film, I still think it's a unique viewing experience. There are not many film makers like Christopher Nolan, and even fewer who are freely given the amount of money it took to produce such an experimental work. Interstellar is still a daring exercise in grandiosity. Ultimately Boyhood satisfies that to some extent and thus appears on my list, for an even more epic attempt telling an expansive story, Interstellar still offers valuable lessons for games.

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