Tag Archive: video games


How many films can you really have about criminals racing cars? Obviously Dreamworks felt like seven (and the inevitable eighth, ninth and probably tenth) Fast & Furious films just weren’t enough to satisfy the public – the majority of whom complain about the great success that recent installments of Fast & Furious have had. Therefore, they have decided to take on the established franchise with their own, born from video game (always a recipe for success *rolls eyes*) effort. There is one major difference though: the tone.

 

 

From that short trailer you can already see a difference between Need for Speed and the films of Fast & Furious. While Fast & Furious has always tried to beat home serious themes of family it has always been hid behind a slightly tongue in cheek atmosphere, never more so than in Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. However, with Aaron Paul giving a voice over and laying out the films premise it seems that there isn’t going to be much room for jokes in Need for Speed and seems to be more about a rivalry while giving the police and the crime section more serious undertones.

Aaron Paul’s casting also suggests a difference. Fast Five is probably the best film of the series so far but look at the cast; how many of those actors would look out of place in anything that wasn’t Fast & Furious? Can you really imagine Ludacris, Sung Kang or Gal Gadot in anything serious or better than the Fast & Furious franchise? No, of course not. But here Aaron Paul is one of the hottest names in television thanks to Breaking Bad and is one of the best up and coming actors around Hollywood at the minute. He has more drama in his little finger than the entire cast of the first Fast & Furious film. He’s paired up with Dominic Cooper (and anyone who has read my blog before knows how much I like him) and Imogen Poots, as well as Hollywood heavyweight and former Dark Knight, Michael Keaton.

 

But then there’s the almighty downfall of Need for Speed and why it probably won’t do well. Here’s the premise from IMDB for Need for Speed: Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins. This sounds a lot like an early Fast & Furious film, in particular it reminds me of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Since Fast & Furious gave itself a kick start with number four it became a lot more successful with audiences and critics alike and what was different in Fast & Furious (unfortunately the name of the fourth film as well as the franchise) to its predecessors? It was no longer really about the racing. Street racing or racing on the whole just wasn’t drawing in the audience so it was time to freshen things up in what is probably one of the best decisions in blockbuster history (maybe an overstatement, maybe not. You decide). Bringing standard racing back as the main story just doesn’t sit well with me.

I do hope that Need for Speed is a good film and I hope it brings in an audience (purely for Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper, not for the prospect of sequels) but I just can’t see it happening.

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Lara Croft is the most recognisable female video game character in the world. At the beginning of this century two Tomb Raider films were released with Angelina Jolie taking on the role and, despite the original film still being the most successful film adaptation of a video game in the United States, both this and its sequel were not too well received by critics. Also, in recent years, the video game side of the Tomb Raider franchise has been waning. Until 2013. Earlier this month a reboot of the video game series hit the shelves, simply titled Tomb Raider. It received huge critical acclaim, is one of the best games I have ever played and obviously went on to sell more than a million copies in less than 48 hours. So it seems the time is right to reboot the franchise on the big screen, but who should play Lara Croft?

Here are my candidates:

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Gemma Arterton

Arterton has had experience in big action films before: Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans. While none of these films were exactly brilliant it has given Arterton the skills necessary to be let loose on her own big action franchise. She is currently one of the best British actresses working today and her talent is undeniable. I would definitely like to see her given a chance as Lara Croft.

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Hayley Atwell

Atwell is more of a television actress but made her break in Hollywood recently in Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger where her performance as Peggy Carter won her a lot of fans. She has shown her skills in Pillars of the Earth and The Duchess. However, her stock as a leading lady is yet to be tested and helming the Tomb Raider franchise could be a leap too far so early in her film career.

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Camilla Luddington

You may not know who Camilla Luddington is but she is the voice behind Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot of this year. On screen she has been in Californication, True Blood and Grey’s Anatomy but is yet to make her break in the film industry. However, depending on how closely involved the game’s publishers and producers are in making the film (my guess being not very) then she may have an outside shot at landing the role.

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Alice Eve

This is a long shot and probably won’t be considered. She is set to appear in Star Trek Into Darkness later this year so will be getting a lot of exposure both on screen and off it (if you’ve seen the new trailer you’ll know what I mean) and so she may be worth the risk?

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Bryce Dallas Howard

As the only non-Englishwoman on the list she would probably be my least favourite for the role (I just think that as Lara Croft is English it would be nice to see an English actress take the part this time) but Bryce Dallas Howard could be a nice fit. Previously appearing in Spider-Man 3, Terminator Salvation, 50/50 and The Help she has shown off her action credentials as well as her acting abilities.

For me, it’s between Gemma Arterton and Hayley Atwell with Arterton just winning in my mind!

For some unknown reason Wreck-It Ralph was released in the United States three months earlier than here in the United Kingdom, meaning I had to sit here while all the praise rolled in and the Academy Award nomination got announced and I was yet to see it. Finally I have, but did it live up to my expectations?

For anyone who doesn’t know (but lets face it why wouldn’t you?) Wreck-It Ralph is a story of an arcade video game villain named, you guessed it, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly). Ralph grows tired of being a villain due to his lack of recognition and being forced to live in the dump while his rival in the game, the good guy, Fix-It Felix Jr (Jack McBrayer). received medals, cakes and parties. Eventually, Ralph decides to go ‘turbo’ and abandons his game, causing disruption and hysteria throughout the arcade as he puts several other games in jeopardy of being shut down.

Wreck-It Ralph is ultimately a story about change; it promotes the idea that it doesn’t matter what people think of you, you always have the ability to go against your ‘programming’ and be what you want to be. Whether it’s Ralph being a hero, Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) giving into her feelings and going against ‘the most depressing back story ever’ or Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) turning her ‘glitch’ into something positive. Disney always try and promote these messages to kids throughout their films but that doesn’t mean that Wreck-It Ralph is just for children; there is just as much to behold for adults.

In almost every scene for the first half an hour there are references to hundreds of video game characters of past and present. Whether that be Pac-Man, Bowser, Ken and Ryu, Frogger or Q*Bert, there is something for everyone and part of the fun while watching Wreck-It Ralph is trying to spot all the references to video game history, right down to the 8-bit movement of the residents of Ralph’s game. It has an incredibly authentic video game feel to the world which only enhances the viewing.

The four heroes of the story: Wreck-It Ralph, Fix-It Felix Jr, Sergeant Calhoun and Venellope are some of the best characters Disney have ever come up with in my opinion. I was incredibly impressed with Calhoun and thought she was a great addition to the story but for me, it was Venellope von Scheetz who stole the show. Her animation, the way the character is written combined with Silverman’s voicing talents make her just about the most adorable thing to ever be seen on screen. There are some really heartwarming and also heartbreaking moments between Venellope and Ralph but it becomes one of the best on screen partnerships out there.

And as for the twist… wow! The more you get through the film you realise what the danger is for Ralph and Venellope and you come to accept who the real bad guy is and you’re quite content there. And then Rich Moore (the brilliant director of the film) hits you with a twist that you wouldn’t have seen coming in your wildest dreams but, in actual fact, makes perfect sense. This reveal was one of the most enjoyable parts of the film for me.

Wreck-It Ralph is a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend your time for adults and children alike. For many people Toy Story is seen as the epitome of animation, the best animated film ever made. Now it has true competition.

My Rating: 10/10.

Whenever Marvel move along with their casting that always interests me and there are two important pieces of casting news this week. Firstly, it has been announced who will be playing Star-Lord, the lead role, in the ambitious Guardians of the Galaxy. That man will be Chris Pratt. Pratt is currently on cinema screens in Zero Dark Thirty where he is receiving a lot of praise for his performance and he has also recently starred in Moneyball and The Five-Year Engagement (where he was by far the best character) so this looks like a fine piece of casting!

And the brilliant Emily VanCamp (of fantastic hit show Revenge) has landed the lead female role in Captain America: Winter Soldier. I’m a huge fan of Revenge and VanCamp is incredible so hopefully we’ll get to see her show off her fighting skills in the Marvel sequel too. No official word on who she will be playing has been released yet but it is thought to be Sharon Carter, a relation of Cap’s love interest Peggy Carter in The First Avenger.

Pratt and VanCamp appeared alongside one another in Everwood.

 

Star Wars news: Disney looking to cash in as quick as possible! This week Disney have announced that they will be working on standalone spin-off films. Now, I don’t like this idea because I’m not a fan of Star Wars on the whole, but as I understand it Star Wars (all six episodes) is the story of the Skywalker family. And that is how it should stay! Sure, lots of people want to explore the Star Wars universe but do you have to really do this blatant money making scheme to achieve that? Anyway, it is rumoured that a Yoda spin-off is going to be the first to be developed.

Back in 2007 Timothy Olyphant was the star of the Hitman film, an adaptation of the successful video game series that fans could never really decide whether they liked it or not. Just a mere six years later and Fox have decided what they are going to do with the franchise: reboot it with Paul Walker in the title role of Agent 47. I like Walker as much as anyone in the Fast & Furious franchise but has anything else he has done been a hit? Don’t even mention Into the Blue, what the hell was that?! But anyway, I just don’t see Walker as a good fit for the role and would have preferred to have seen Olyphant return to shave his head once again.

And finally, Benedict Cumberbatch has landed the lead role in The Imitation Game. The film follows Alan Turing, an important man of British history said to be the father of computer science as he played a pivotal role in the creation of the modern computer and also helped crack the “Enigma Code” during World War 2. The script was bought for seven figures with Leonardo DiCaprio set to star in the film but with him deciding to take a break Cumberbatch has landed the role. There’s sure to be some Oscar love for this when it eventually gets released.

Cumberbatch’s career is really taking off!

The trend of popular video games being adapted into films for the cinema screen continues with the announcement of casting news in the Need for Speed movie. As you can probably guess from the title Need for Speed are racing games and so you would expect that the films would just be the same as the Fast & Furious franchise and, even though they are great fun films, you don’t want to flood the market with the same material from two different franchises. However, the casting of the lead character has been announced and it is one of the best actors on television: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). Aaron Paul is clearly a better actor than the likes of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and, as much as it pains me to say it, Dwayne Johnson so perhaps Need for Speed will be taking a more dramatic route? I doubt it.

Marvel have been busy this week with announcing a release date for Ant-Man and another one of their projects has been surrounded by casting rumours this week. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been described as a ‘political thriller’ and will see (judging by the Winter Soldier character in the comics) the return of Cap’s World War 2 comrade Bucky. But casting in two other roles is under way with Mary Elizabeth Winstead being touted for a role likely to be Sharon Carter. And a strong, franchise hopping male character is also under consideration with LOST star (and one of the best characters) Josh Holloway one of the front runners for the role.

There are a lot of pointless sequels being made at the minute and one of those is Woman in Black: Angel of Death. The sequel to the post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe film will not star The Boy Who Lived but will take place several years after the original story. Anyway, Angel of Death now has a director attached and that man in question is Tom Harper. Harper’s television work will be more known that his film work so far having directed episodes of This Is England ’86 as well as the first series of Misfits.

And finally… Janis Joplin is often remembered as one of the greatest musicians of all time. And with biopics of stars from years gone by, especially musicians (Nowhere Boy, Walk The Line) having gone down very well previously it should come as no surprise that a Janis Joplin movie is in the works. Amy Adams is attached to star and Oscar nominated Lee Daniels is in talks to direct; Daniels is best known for critical winner Precious as well as his latest film The Paperboy starring Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron.

UK Release Date: 15th February 2013.

Stars: Rich Moore (director), John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch.

Plot: A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfil his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.

With Disney raking in all the money from Pixar and Marvel these days it seems as though their feature length films will become less frequent and they seem to be focussing more on their animated shorts. However, with the release of Wreck-It Ralph I think Disney will be proving that they haven’t lost their touch at all.

Wreck-It Ralph is the latest animated family film from Disney and it seems as though there will be plenty to enjoy. As it is a Disney film you have to sort of expect it to just be a hit commercially anyway. However, I do think that older people, teenagers and young adults will probably get the most from Wreck-It Ralph because it features cameos from video game characters that were popular when this sort of audience were younger.

Among the cameo stars are Bowser from the Super Mario games, Sonic the Hedgehog and his rival Doctor Eggman, Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter,one of the flashing ghosts from Pac-Man: Clyde, Kano from Mortal Kombat, Neff from Altered Beast and the Paperboy. With a rich and vast range of characters I think adults will be more than happy to sit through Wreck-It Ralph.

Obviously with it being Disney you have to imagine that Ralph will leave his ‘bad guy’ days behind him and become a good guy in his own video game, but even if you know the ending Disney always manages to take you on an unforgettable journey along the way. And that if more important than the ending.

Doom. DOA: Dead Or Alive. Max Payne. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. What do all of these films have in common? Yes, they were all adaptations of successful video game franchises. Another thing they have in common is that they were all negatively released and much worse than their video game counterparts. So news that an Assassin’s Creed film is set to be made will be received with mixed emotions from fans.

Assassin’s Creed first hit the consoles in 2007 and has since spawned two complete sequels and a few ‘expansion packs’ if you like. It is one of the most successful and most critically acclaimed series’ in recent years and one of my favourite games that I have ever played. I think that there is definitely plenty of material to build a film from as there is a very strong storyline through each of the games and the characters are well thought out and some interesting action scenes could be built from the film. When playing the game it is easy to see that it would make for a very entertaining experience on the cinema screens.

Whether the film will follow Altair, Ezio or Connor (the three main protagonists of each Assassin’s Creed game) or a totally new character remains to be seen although the premise of the film so far is based “around a man who learns his ancestors were trained assassins after he is kidnapped by a secret organisation with ties to the Knights Templar, and sent back in time to retrieve historical artefacts”. This most lends itself to the story of Altair from the very first Assassin’s Creed game.

One thing we do know for certain is that the man in the main role for Assassin’s Creed is Michael Fassbender, who will also be co-producing. Fassbender is one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood at the minute, receiving rave reviews for everything he does. He doesn’t have much experience with action-centred roles although when he played Magneto in X-men: First Class the action scenes he was in were very good! What he does have though is acting skills by the bucket load; diversity, character, charisma, charm.

As long as Michael Fassbender is attached to the project then Assassin’s Creed may break new ground for video game to movie adaptations.