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Monday, April 17, 2023 

Will video game movies replace comic adaptations?

That's what Scott Mendelson at the Wrap believes, based on how past success of comics movies is waning, and how the new Super Mario Bros. animated movie did pretty well at the box office:
Forget Marvel and DC: ”Super Mario Bros.“ is the latest evidence that there are rich, mostly untapped veins of IP just waiting for Hollywood to turn into franchises

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” promises to put Universal on the animation throne long occupied by Disney. It also shows that video games, not comic books, are where Hollywood should be sniffing around for new franchises.

With a comparatively modest $100 million budget, Universal and Illumination’s video game adaptation shattered box office records for animated movies, earning $204 million domestically and $376 million worldwide over the long Easter weekend. But the movie also set a record for box office derived from a character that audiences likely first encountered in an arcade or on a console.
The rest of the article is behind a paywall, but for now, what's available may be enough to argue that no, turning to video games once again, as was tried several times in the past, most notoriously with the live action Super Mario Brothers movie starring the late Bob Hoskins alongside John Leguizamo (who trivially complained about "inclusion" for the voice roles), would not be the best way for Hollywood to go. It'd just be another example of relying too heavily on a "junk food path" for making big bucks at the box office, and not relying on serious acting talent. Certainly if the adaptations were live action. If they do want to adapt video game characters into movies, what would be acceptable is if they're animated as this Super Mario Brothers movie is. The same can be said for comics. Indeed, what's the use of relying on only so many heavy special effects palettes and wardrobes that can look ridiculous in live action? Plus, I may have argued before there's not enough respect for animation as a medium to convey a story in the USA, in contrast to Japan, where they proved their ability to market and convince. Seriously, I'm not supporting Mendelson's argument as I see it so far, unless he's at least willing to make a case for animation as the way to do it. And even then, he'd have to be 10 times willing to acknowledge that political correctness wouldn't be healthy for any resulting adaptations coming about.

A writer at the Federalist commented on the topic, and much as he'd like to feel excited about some of his favorite video games being adapted into films and TV shows, leftist PC mentality could ruin everything:
I know I should be thrilled that some of my favorite characters are making their way to the big screen but I feel slightly unnerved. Yes, it’s good that gaming is receiving some form of cultural recognition. Gone are the days of people giving you a funny look for saying you enjoy playing video games. We’ve made it, hallelujah.

But there’s a danger in becoming more mainstream. It creates an incentive for bad actors to hijack whatever we’re talking about and twist it to their own ends.

I mentioned that Peach is a bit of a girlboss in this new “Mario” movie, a strong female character who doesn’t need a man to protect her. But that just scratches the surface of leftist ideology seeping into games-based media. Episode three of “The Last of Us” featured a gay couple shoehorned into the show, complete with a gay sex scene, to push LGBT ideology. The episode’s director even admitted that he wanted to “sort of trick the rest of the world into watching” a gay romance.

Not creepy or weird at all!

Paramount tried to pull the same woke crap with a TV version of the sci-fi epic Halo. Master Chief is relegated to the role of a supporting character, forced to worship at the feet of yet another strong female character who was invented by the showrunners to push a yas qween message.

But frankly, I think the worst example of showrunners exploiting gaming to push leftist ideology on screen is “The Witcher.” That show is like the final boss of wokeness. It’s got everything: girl power, race swapping, and LGBT propaganda.

It was so bad, and so drastically not like The Witcher games, that mega nerd and proof-that-geeks-can-be-cool-too Henry Cavill left the show, citing specifically that he didn’t feel as if the showrunners cared about the source material.

And that’s why this newfound mainstreaming of video games is a double-edged sword. It’s great that the hobby is engaging more people. But to the extent the wrong kind of people are engaging with gaming, there’s definitely an infection taking root.
Which is why the guy makes a case for gatekeeping for the right reasons, and this should be the case for comicdom to boot. It's also why, now that I think of it, adapting comics to animation practically isn't working out because the woke trash has already infected products like the Spider-Verse sequel, and is bound to infect any future video game adaptations, which audiences would then be strongly advised to avoid. In Japan, it's worked well enough over the past 3 decades or so, because there, they're not pandering to PC like in the USA. So maybe it'd be better if adaptations of Japanese games remained overseen by their own animation studios. That way, we'd have far better entertainment, certainly if it isn't mainstreamed to suit PC mentality in the west. If only the same could be said for USA comics.

And by the way, it's fine if you want to cast female characters portrayed as capable fighters, but if they're turned into Mary Sues without any flaws or weaknesses, then it blows, and the same can be said if it's all done at the male characters' expense too. That's something the producers of the above examples clearly haven't considered.

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Definitely agreed that we should be on the lookout for any leftist messaging in video game movies (heck, we should be on the lookout for any leftist messaging in video games, period, and we unfortunately have quite a bit of that if Metal Gear and even Resident Evil are of any indication. Not to mention The Last of Us.).

That said, I'm not entirely sure I agree Peach was even a girl boss in the movie (at least, any more than she was in her RPG depictions). I've actually read some reviews by various people, including those who definitely are against the woke aspects right now, that indicate the "girl boss" aspects were actually exaggerated by the marketing materials, and that she at MOST was as proactive as her RPG depictions. Me personally, from what I gather of the movie, I'm actually a bit glad they actually addressed why Peach, despite ruling over the Toads, was actually a human (well, maybe humanoid, since she did imply her homeworld may not necessarily be Earth) rather than a Toad herself (that was something that even in my early years as a Mario fan, I was baffled by). Long story short, apparently she wandered into the Mushroom Kingdom via warp pipe as a toddler and ended up raised among the Toads, eventually being crowned their princess when she came of age.

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