Who Needs the Back Story? - The UpStream

Who Needs the Back Story?

posted Sunday May 23, 2010 by Scott Ertz

Who Needs the Back Story?

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has a lot to live up to. The games in the series have been fantastic with a storyline perfect for the big screen. However, there has yet to be more than just a few (we have named 4) videogame movies that haven't been just awful. Plus, in the aftermath of Uwe Boll and his offensively bad films, worst of which being In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale which brought in only $10 million worldwide on a $60 million budget, people are scared of videogame movies. This film could be the one to change all that, however.

But, what does it take to make a great videogame movie? Apparently, not knowing you are making a videogame movie is the key. Mike Newell described to ComingSoon.net his realization that he was making a film adapted from a game.

When I first went into it I was absolutely in ignorance of it being a video game. I then discovered within the first few weeks that it was a video game and said to him, "Look, what do you want? Do you want a video game? Because if you do, I think I'm the wrong guy for you. I don't play video games. I'm not video-literate. I can just about send an email." He said, "No, don't worry about it." I think the reason that he said that was that he knew that I would have other things to offer. There would be sort of character and story and emotional things that I would have to offer, and comedy and all of that. He didn't want to freak me by saying, "Actually, the video game audience is very important to me"... and of course, it is. There are a lot of them out there and we must be very careful to satisfy them, you know?

We don't want to insult them, and we do want to satisfy them. I got this kind of feeling, I'm not sure where from, that there was an opinion in that gaming world, that there had never been a proper movie of a game that had satisfied them and they hoped that I wasn't going to screw this one up. And so, at that point, I started to play the game. Well, I got the game played for me; I'm really bad at the game - he kept falling off the wall into the knives. I got my assistants to play the game and then we sort of got an idea of what the story was, how the game looked and we kind of cherry-picked it.

Plus there was the great Jordie Mechner and Jordie and I got on like a house on fire and he's a research freak. He's actually read these ancient Persian texts and things like that. You can go to him and you can say, "What do you think about this Jordie?" or "What were the swords like?" or "Was the water really pure?" He'll be able to tell you all of this fine, fine detail which gives it a great realism.

Now that, my friends, is classic. Hopefully the clueless approach is what it will take and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will be a huge success when it opens Memorial Day weekend.

What videogame movies can you think of that haven't been unbearable? Let us know in the comments section!

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