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(Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Film

Edgar Wright says video game movies will never work

Edgar Wright recently returned to the world of cinema with his latest enigmatic project Last Night in Soho, a unique psychological horror film that chronicles the adventures of someone who wants to make it in the fashion industry. However, her pursuit leads to the bizarre experience of being trapped inside the body of her idol (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) during the 1960s.

In a recent interview, Wright was asked whether the tradition of watching movies in theatres would survive or whether streaming platforms would take over once and for all. The filmmaker reflected on the consequences of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, claiming that nothing can destroy film theatres because the power of watching films on the big screen is incomparable.

“There is an element where I feel like there’s too much doomsaying on the internet,” the director commented. “I always feel like a lot of people who are saying ‘the death of cinema’ have vested interests in the streamers and stuff… On a spiritual level, I always want to have the opportunity to watch something in the cinema. It’s important to me that if you want to go and see Last Night in Soho in a cinema, you can go see it in a cinema.”

Many fans have called for Wright to conduct an adaptation of a video game since his brand of visual comedy and his deployment of postmodern narrative structures contribute to a fascinating experience. However, Wright has denounced the possibility by stating that video game adaptations are bad by default in a 2013 AMA (Ask Me Anything) session for Reddit. He explained it by stating that there are irreconcilable differences between the two mediums.

“There has never been a good video game film,” he said. “The reason for that is staring you in the face. A video game is a unique experience to you, you are playing the game. Just like watching somebody else play a video game is not fun, it’s not fun watching a video game adaptation if you’re not playing it… There is no game that I would like to adapt. Maybe Rampage but somebody’s probably already doing that.”

Wright was spot on because director Brad Peyton ended up making a lacklustre adaptation of Rampage in 2018, starring Dwayne Johnson and a CGI gorilla. The film was a commercial success but it failed to impress critics who thought that the fun of playing the video game did not translate to the illusory spectacle constructed by an elaborate production.

“I think I had the exact reaction anyone would have been with Rampage,” Peyton said. “I was like, what do you think this is going to be? You know, like, it’s not obvious. It’s just… And I think people’s expectations are like, really a standup arcade game, and I get it. With a title like Rampage, you better destroy something. So stories Chicago. But there is, you know, we had to level a couple of buildings. The weird thing that I always say to people is, um, I don’t know why, but I feel very comfortable with destruction.”

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