Last week, Lost in Translation listed the best adaptations analyzed so far. This week, time to scrape the bottom of the barrel with the worst adaptations. These are films that managed to miss the point so much, they made audiences wonder what was being adapted. The adaptations are presented in no particular order.
The reputation video game movies have can be traced to two movies, one of which is Super Mario Bros. The film managed to avoid everything that made the video game iconic, from Mario’s red overalls to the look of the world. While the intent was an origins movie, the result was a muddled, brown mess that only shared a name, with even some game elements misnamed.
With all the published settings available, the Dungeons & Dragons movie had choices of where to start. Instead, it went from scratch, its own world, as many players do.. There were even elements from the game from spells to iconic monsters. The problem was in the execution. The movie had the elements but had poor presentation and ignored the game the closer to the climax it got. The end result was a movie that had the trappings but none of the substance.
No movie on this list shows the moment where it fell apart better than the 1998 American Godzilla. The beginning of the movie does well, despite moving the action over to the Atlantic. Once Godzilla takes Manhattan, though, the movie changes focus to Matthew Broderick’s field research and Jean Reno’s French secret agent. Godzilla has always been portrayed as a force of nature; the 1998 Zilla was just a giant monster in the vein of Jurassic Park‘s
The go-to for blockbuster disappointments here at Lost in Translation, Battleship‘s main problem may have been the choice of game to adapt. A two-player head-to-head competition works better as a thriller, not as an action movie. Like the D&D movie above, game elements appeared but, for the grid-calling and the shape of the alien shells, they didn’t help. Battleship could have been called Space Invaders for all the accuracy it had. Worse, the titular battleship, played by the USS Missouri, became a Chekhov’s 16-inch gun, becoming a factor in the story only at the end.
The problem that The Legend of Chun-Li had was it felt like a different script was then melded with Street Fighter elements. If the characters weren’t called Chun-Li, Balrog, and Bison, it would be hard to tell who they were meant to be. Only Chun-Li gets her iconic costume and appearance, and that for one scene. Without the Street Fighter elements, the movie becomes a decent police procedural. But an investigation doesn’t necessarily work as the basis for an action movie, and a fighting game works best as an action movie. The Legend of Chun-Li forgot that key aspect of the video game.
Next week, the Weird.