Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Boatload of Potential

I've been thinking about this sort of thing for a while. What if the movie industry were to try adapting video games into animated films?

An animated film based on Insomniac Games' long-running and successful video game series Ratchet & Clank was just announced today complete with a promotional teaser! Sony is apparently really confident in this, as it's already on track for a 2015 release. Rainmaker Entertainment (Escape From Planet Earth) is teaming up with Blockade Entertainment to produce this computer animated adaptation of the series.

I really liked this trailer. It's a fun irreverent deconstruction of animated movie trailers that'll sure get the laughs. I certainly thought it was hilarious, but this trailer and the film itself are not what I'm going to discuss. Instead, I'll discuss what this film means for the animation industry and video game movies in general. If this film goes over successfully in 2015 then I think we'll see a new frontier in both animation and film adaptations of video games...

Up until now, many major Hollywood films based on video game franchises were done in live action. I felt that live action severely limits things for some of these video game adaptations, one example being the Mortal Kombat films (that, and poor writing). I always wanted to see an animated Mortal Kombat film that was brutal like the games yet had cool action. Animation could show off the powers that the kombatants have while also making characters like Shao Kahn or Goro believable. Super Mario Bros. is another disaster, Mario and live action simply don't go together. Only a few adaptations were fine as live action films, like the Tomb Raider films and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Unfortunately, a lot of these films just weren't good and lacked what made the source material work.

Now take a look at Disney's Wreck-It Ralph. While the film isn't based on a pre-existing video game, it has thrilling video game-style action and excitement, it does everything better than any of those live action films listed above. That's the power of animation, it could pull off what several live action films couldn't in that one film. Video games are animated, so animated films based on video games would work out so well. It is a massive risk, but I'm happy to hear that Sony is willing to take it. Ratchet & Clank also can't be done as a live action film, no way.

Now with all that being said, what could happen if this were to go over well? What if Ratchet & Clank is a box office hit? Suits will approach video game movie adaptations in a new way, one that actually works! Animated films based on video games could really be a big help to the current American animation industry, as many of these films could be adult-oriented and get audiences to see animated films that aren't family-friendly or fall into the G/PG range. Plus, there's a lot of great franchises to plunder. Ratchet & Clank is only the beginning!

I'm not saying that all video game movie adaptations should be animated. A film based on Halo or Gears of War could work perfectly in live action with the right director and screenplay, but animation is good for something like Ratchet & Clank. I don't know why this wasn't thought of earlier, because there are several video games that would make for great animated film adaptations: Super Mario Bros., Sonic The Hedgehog, Jak and Daxter, The Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Sly Cooper... The list goes on.

What do you think of the upcoming Ratchet & Clank film? Do you think it will work out? Or do you think that one isn't necessary? Should animated films based on video games be considered? Or not?

Sound off below!


  1. I'd like to see Disney do a Sonic the Hedgehog or MegaMan movie with Sega or Capcom respectively.

  2. Apparently Blockade Entertainment is also adapting a video game into a computer animated movie: Heavenly Sword