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Friday, March 16, 2007

Variety: Comparing Movies To Games

First off: What's wrong with a movie being similar to a videogame? While it's a young medium compared to movies or literature, any culturally literate person in the year 2007 should be able to see that videogames are creative productions, not mere pieces of software.

Those critics who complained that "300" is short on narrative and long on mind-numbing violence implied that videogames are the same. Popular videogames like "Gears of War" and "Mortal Kombat" do fit that description, but there are many other games that don't. Even the much-derided "Grand Theft Auto" features relatively complex storylines and large casts of characters.

In reality, videogame developers have created acclaimed works that span genres.Few horror pics are able to instill the bone-chilling terror of "Resident Evil 4." A dramatic filmmaker should aspire to reach the epic scope of "Shadow of the Colossus." And those looking to make the next great franchise should should only hope their movies engrossviewers half as well as "World of Warcraft."
-- '300' critics cling to consoles

Via The Brother. This is kind of fascinating on a few levels. One - it's an excellent point that up until now compaing movies to video games has almost always been derisive. As games approach movies in technical achievements ... this starts to feel a bit like prejudice. Motion capturing in a game isn't art ... but it is in a game? Digital backgrounds are only artistic if they're on a big screen?

300 feels like a tipping point. I don't think you argue against the movie's appearance. It's quite attractive. There's no uncanny valley here - the film does not jar the senses in any unintentional way. Now, though, the critics are realizing that they're talking about the same technology that goes into all those horrible games corrupting the youth. So it would be pretty if it wasn't built like a game?

On another level, the convergence of this technology makes the hypocrisy between attitudes on subject material all that more apparent. Is it acceptable to praise 300 for being a ballet of violence ... but GTA isn't artistic because ... it's too violent? If the gaming industry can make a game which just as violent as 300 but also photorealistic ... does that suddenly make the violence acceptable?

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