Uncharted film adapts videogame, isn’t that the way it should be?
David O’Russell has been taking a lot of stick for the way he’s been talking about his vision for the film adaptation of the videogame Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and fans, as always, have been getting upset. All credit to him though, he’s sticking to his guns and has come out explaining why he’s doing what he’s doing and why fans should stick with him.
Well, call me crazy, but the clue is in the word, adaptation, and Uncharted hardly has the universe and background that something like Halo requires. So why are fans getting so uptight, and why is David O’Russell caring so much?
Previously David O. Russell was talking about the script for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and how it was coming along, particularly as he was busy on the campaign trail with The Fighter (Filmstalker review), and it was these comments that had riled fans.
He had said, through IGN:
”I think if we take that family dynamic that we have in The Fighter, and put that in terms of a grander stage, with a crime family that metes out justice in the world of art and antiquities. If you’re the head of a museum, or head of state, you’ve got to deal with them, and they’re badass. They’re like the Sopranos in some ways, but they have great taste, and they have a sense of justice. I would love to do that with Mark [Wahlberg], Robert De Niro, and a couple of hot women, it could be very thrilling.”
Cue backlash. This didn’t sound much like the game that the Uncharted fans had been playing or the film that they had been wanting, and it seemed that there were sweeping changes in the core characters.
There has to be some level of realism here though. In a videogame adaptation like Halo there are a lot of aspects of the story that have to be adhered to, if not all, they’ve created a complex universe in which to build their story, designing it all and building around it a mesh of novels and games.
With Uncharted we’re looking at a couple of videogames that aren’t as complex in their universe, and stories that are much closer to our reality and therefore easier to alter and adapt.
That’s where the key here is, adapt. You cannot take a videogame and transfer it, or copy it, straight to the big screen, it doesn’t work. I’d say the closest we’ve come to it is Tomb Raider where they made the character move almost effortlessly to the big screen. That worked fantastically well and the reason they had to keep Lara Croft so similar is because there was a huge following for the character over and above the story, that’s not what we have with Uncharted.
Uncharted is far easier to adapt to a big screen film, and therefore offers more potential for the film-makers to bring something new and exciting to the big screen, but that comes with change.
It does surprise me that with videogame to film adaptation the fans get all annoyed at changes, but deliver a game sequel identical to the first with some new levels to play and they’ll be the first to complain about their money being wasted. I’m in that group too, I love the Splinter Cell series of games and I love the way they’ve changed and adapted sequel to sequel, if they had released the same game with more levels I would have enjoyed it once, but definitely become a little bored the second time.
Why can a film not adapt and change? In fact shouldn’t it? Well in the case of Halo it would still need to but even the Halo games have adapted and changed to a degree. The games have to deliver something new and exciting, so surely the films should too?
David O’Russell spoke about his adaptation and defended it, through JoBlo:
”I’m very respectful as far as the core content and spirit of the game, but beyond that it’s my job as a filmmaker to make what I think is going to be an amazing movie. People have to trust that and let that go, I think. There’s not a bunch of movies you can point to that are made from games that are amazing movies, that stand up to time as a franchise or as [individual films]. I personally think it’s really cool when you see that someone like Darren Aronofsky is going to make an X-Men movie or to get someone such as myself to make this picture. You can be guaranteed that it’s going to be real, it’s going to be raw, it’s going to be intense, it’s going to be original, and it’s going to be propulsive.”
Now surely that’s something to get excited about right there, when O’Russell talks like that you can instantly see why you would want to have a game adapted, but to me it’s obvious, and you just have to look at game sequels themselves.
There’s a double standard with game players, you can’t want game sequels to be different, new and exciting, but then not want film adaptations to change anything.