This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks is video game/arcade/board game movies. This is an appropriate topic for me to discuss because, as you've no doubt seen reading my blog, I've been able to branch out into gaming. I've even written a bunch of articles on the subject of video games. Naturally, it seems to make sense to try and bring together the two things together. That, and I don't know a lot of board game movies.
David Cronenberg's low-budget precursor to Inception isn't based on a specific game. What it does instead is focus on the potential consequences of full-scale immersion into a fictional world. The main theme running through the film is the question of just what is reality. Over the course of the film, we experience different levels of immersion, but in the end, it becomes very difficult to tell what is real and what is part of the game. In the end, the viewer's initial understanding of reality is brought into question, and we are left with just what does it mean to be real.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2003)
I couldn't do a list like this without addressing what may just be one of the most iconic female protagonists in gaming (right now the only real competition Lara has for that title is the equally popular Samus Aran of Metroid). After making her debut in 1996, Lara has starred in sixteen video games (the most recent having just come out), and that is not even counting the novels, comics, animated web series, and movies which have placed her in a leading role. It was a large gamble placing a then-unknown Angelina Jolie in a role with such a reputation, but it paid off when this film launched her reputation as an action star.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2005)
Okay, so I know a lot of people were upset because this one didn't have much to do with the video game franchise it was named after. In its defense, the main Final Fantasy series comprises fifteen games that literally have nothing in common. Seriously, fifteen games lacking any continuing story or returning characters (although some of the individual installments have received their own sequels, which only makes it more confusing). The title is also an extreme misnomer anyway, seeing as the constant output of games makes it clear this is not the final fantasy and several installments have been closer to science fiction than fantasy. So I'm not entirely sure what the deal is with this franchise. Point is, to actually make the movie relate to what the games would be impossible seeing as none of the main installments have anything to do with each other. As for the movie itself, I personally enjoyed it. Some of the plot is a tad contrived but there is some really good animation and a fairly interesting world to explore.