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  • Writer's pictureMarika

Video Game Movies: A Mixed Bag

This week we watched Tomb Raider. I tried to keep an open mind. I tried to get into it. I tried, in vain, to see the appeal. But once again, the video game based movie did little to change my mind about the genre as a whole. Ninety percent of them are garbage. Ten percent are shockingly enjoyable, but not a masterpiece to be found among them.

For every Mortal Kombat (I'm a child of the 90's, I know it is actually terrible, but it was a cultural moment) there is a Super Mario Bros. (This one is so bad it actually hurts). Even the most famous among them, Resident Evil, can only be objectively viewed as passable content, yet with 5 sequels, I may be in the wrong here.

I have never understood the video game-to-movie genre. Isn't the fun of video games that the player is somewhat in control of the outcome? The story remains more or less the same for everyone playing, but the details of how the game is won is something for the player alone, an intimate interaction with a fandom that cannot be duplicated. Do those same fans enjoy watching their favourite characters execute sub-par moves and make idiot decisions based on their daddy issues?

I did not grow up playing video games. I always saw the attraction, but like learning a new instrument, lacked the skill to become truly great. But the appeal was always clear to me: players move as one with their controls, their eyes and minds working as one to execute a complicated series of commands, their fingers remaining dexterous and nimble and a somewhat unbreakable concentration can lead to glory. Ninjas of the audio visual age. Respect.

Movies based on these games? I am less forgiving. Even though I know little about gamer culture, I have never seen the respect I have for those fans translated onto the big screen. These movies, Tomb Raider included, rarely attempt to show why video games are at their heart, so much more than just "cool". The video game movie unfortunately always just feels like a greedy cash grab.

Comic book to movies took a long time to become what they are today. It took a bunch of nerds insisting that the stories they grew up loving could be brought to a wider audience. If you had told me 20 years ago that the whole world would have watched The Infinity Gauntlet play out on the big screen, and that the damn thing was good, I would have told you to stop flirting with me. It was inconceivable. Yet here we are.

So I have faith. You can do it video game geeks. I believe in the power of your fandom.

Geek Steeped:

Tomb Raider (2018)

Teas drunk while recording:

Kelly: Bird and Blend Tea Guarana Chai

Marika: Retro Tea Leaf Applevania II: Cinnamon's Quest

Teas drunk while geeking: :

Kelly: Tea Bento Golden Monkey

Marika: Red Blossom Tea Company Aged Tiguanyin ca. 1986

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