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COL When good games become bad films

Otacon: Video games are coming to the big screen like never before. In the last few years, several franchises have been translated into major movies. Next month, the second "Tomb Raider" film hits theaters.

Vivi: And it's probably going to be just as bad as the first.

Otacon: That brings me to my question. Has Hollywood ever succeeded, ever really succeeded, in bringing a video game to the big screen?

PureAtarian: Yeah, but it's the exception to the rule. The only good video game movies are "Mortal Kombat" and "Resident Evil." The reason they both work is because they took a very interesting game, cast non-descript actors and let the story do the talking.

Vivi: Don't forget that one of the reasons "Resident Evil" succeeded so well as a movie was because the director loved the game. He's a huge fan of the series, as is Milla Jovovich.

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Otacon: You're right. It shows when the people behind the movie are really into the game. Those are the few times these kinds of movies have actually worked.

Vivi: I think too often video games are viewed as being this bizarre, pop-culture entity. The people making the movie often don't get it and turn out something like "Super Mario Bros." -- a movie that ultimately makes no sense.

PureAtarian: Well, you know my thoughts on Mario. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Vivi: Sure you can. They're all the rage now.

Otacon: What I can't understand is why movies like "Wing Commander" are being made when there are so many concepts left untapped. There are still dozens of video games out there that could be made into very good movies.

PureAtarian: I think "Dino Crisis" would be a good movie.

Vivi: If they hadn't already done "Jurassic Park."

Otacon: But these things are making good money. The first "Tomb Raider" film took in $131 million.

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PureAtarian: Well, of course it did! The movie was successful for the same reason the video game was successful. You take a hottie and you let her prance around.

Vivi: Plot holes? What plot holes?

PureAtarian: Would I pay money to watch Angelina Jolie? Yeah! But does that mean its a good movie? No. Jean-Claude Van Damme proved in that horrific cinema flop "Street Fighter" that big stars make bad movies.

Vivi: I think the point to be made here is that only fans should make movies based on games. If a director has never heard of a PlayStation, don't let them through the door. Fanboys only need apply.

Otacon: Hey! By that logic, I should be Hollywood's top contact for making a "Legend of Zelda" movie.

PureAtarian: You and a Pretendo movie? That should be on the "how-to" list of ways to make the worst movie of all time.

The Digital Playground is a weekly chat dedicated solely to video gaming. If you want to take issue with what they say, dash off an e-mail to digitalplayground@postbulletin.com.

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