So apparently we’re in a strange bizzaro world where JJ Abrams gets to do whatever the hell he wants to…says people who don’t understand how Hollywood works. He makes money, his movies are often entertaining, and he makes money. Did I mention he makes money. It is the movie business after all, and not lets all smoke peyote, dance around a fire, rub paint on our faces and act out this script I wrote. It’s about what a dog feels when he can’t find his bone.
So Abrams may very well make a Portal or Half-Life movie. Go for it. Despite the steady stream of expletives from the internet about how much it will suck, you’ll never know what it will actually be until you try.
When people see this, I think they miss the point and maybe Abrams does to. I don’t know yet.
I’m of the opinion a video game movie can work, it just hasn’t been done right yet. Think of it this way. Twenty-years ago, how many super hero comic books movies had been made that were of any decent quality. A handful at best and none that I an recall that weren’t called Superman or Batman. It took a new generation of film makers to come along, people who had grown up with those characters and could handle them responsibly, to do them justice. Games are the same way. We’re just now getting into a generation where adaptations of games can be done correctly. Forward Unto Dawn may be one of the best examples so far of a game universe being properly transitioned onto film, though there are also some fan efforts that also deserve credit And that’s because of the way it was handled. In addition to treating the source material with the necessary care and respect, they also didn’t try to recreate any of the games. They took the material that already existed and used it to tell a new story. That is where the future of video game movies, not in trying to recreate the experience of a game on film, but to take the world the game created and to tell a new story story set in that world. If Abrams can do that, then a Half Life and Portal movies could be wildly successful. If not, video games movies will likely continue to suck.
Also, if you haven’t seen Forward Unto Dawn, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not a video game/Halo fan, it’s worth checking out. It’s a fine piece of military sci-fi in its own right.