The Convergence

Mar 15, 2007 ten past nine am


Back in my Lucasfilm Game(tm) days, we would sit around and debate, dream and philosophize that in the not too distant future games would merge into movies and finally archive the same cultural, artistic and popular significance.  We'd study their storytelling prowess and techniques of narrative construction.  We'd look at the visual language they had built for themselves and tried to pull from that every lesson we could.  Games could be as good as movies we'd say.  Someday.

I am happy to report that the convergence has happened.  Just not in the direction we had predicted.

300 is a vacuous film filled with bad dialog, stiff acting, a pointless one-dimensional plot and interchangeable characters that hardly deserve to be named in the script.   The film barely has a first act and does nothing but drive to a preposterous conclusion led along by a sequence of ridiculous events.  The Visuals are nothing more than technical masturbation.

Simply put, 300 is the best damn film I've seen all year.  I haven't had this much fun watching a movie in a long time.   It's nice to see Hollywood is finally striving to be more likes games.

Other people's comments:

Posted by the boss fighter on Mar 15, 2007 twenty past nine am

Congratulations

You are right...

Posted by gnome on Mar 15, 2007 twenty five past nine am

Hehe, see your point, though one must admit it does look mighty fine. Plays like Doom though... Anyway. It's also having a disastrous effect on Greek society...

Posted by Kroms on Mar 15, 2007 eleven am

Taking a look at the trailer, I'm happy to see the technology used is something new. So I will give it a shot, because it took a risk, even if it's a small one (film's equivalent of eye-gouging graphics).

The first paragraph of your post is something I plan to ignore, because I think it'll happen. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but it will, I guess.

Errr...On the risk of sounding like a cheesy fan, I arrived at this conclusion by giving three "OMG games are so nerdy and lame" kind of girls The Secret of Monkey Island; they're stuck on finding a way to get a ship from Stan, but they're fitting in and they like the game. So I guess games can be accepted by the mass audience (although my experiment is in no way proof). The Industry just needs to expand on it a bit.

Just leaves me wondering if they'd like something like ICO or Okami, I mean something with a bit of combat. Hmm.

Posted by NatsFan on Mar 15, 2007 twenty to noon

Your basis for what you consider a good movie is a bit...interesting...

My older brother saw 300 and said it was crap for the same reasons, except he didn't call it "the best damn film I've seen all year." (although he did use the word "damn" about 5 times, along with a few other ones...)

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Mar 15, 2007 noon

good movie == I enjoyed myself

Posted by TomSFox on Mar 20, 2007 five to seven pm

Ah, you mean like "Manos - The Hands of Fate" is a good movie, because it's so hilariously cheap?

Posted by BryanM on Apr 2, 2007 twenty to two pm

What I love the most about that movie, is that it is utterly impossible to read it's Wikipedia article without laughing nearly constantly. The entire thing from start to finish sounds made up.

Posted by Edmundo on Mar 15, 2007 ten past noon

Dude! I had the same exact thought! I just didn't know how hot put it into words...

Posted by Edmundo on Mar 15, 2007 quarter past noon

*hot = how to

It's a new kind of expression... ��

Posted by Larteas on Mar 15, 2007 twenty five past noon

I am from Spain and what can I say but thanks for Monkey Island?

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. Now I will have to see 300. I owe you two now! :D

Posted by DAGO on Mar 15, 2007 twenty five past two pm

Thank you for making me laugh (again)!

Posted by z on Mar 15, 2007 ten to three pm

Have you heard of the new game where you play an aspiring pirate as they make their way through the adventure game and its many point-and-click puzzles?
What was it called again... something Island... hmmm ah yes Treasure Island Z

Posted by Karimi on Mar 15, 2007 three pm

Its really similiar to God of War.

I found it enjoyable but as a guy with Perian ancestry I found the way they depicted the persians and the glorification of Western civilization to be a bit disappointing (to say the least)

Posted by Neimo on Mar 16, 2007 quarter to six pm

I disagree.  After the Spartans have shown how good they are, Xerxes offers his respect and would allow the Spartans to rule over Greece for him as warlords.  It's the Spartans who are too proud for their own good.

Posted by Roabbracca on Mar 15, 2007 five past three pm

About the merging techniques between games and movies...
Ive work in animation films for years, and it was frustrating to see how people invented the wheel again and again, when games, or books, or comic books found it years ago.

Posted by Mike H on Mar 15, 2007 twenty five to four pm

If you want a movie that feels like a game, watch Children of Men by Alfonso Cuaron. That movie is dystopian, scary, gripping, and strangely melancholy... and from the extended single cut sequences, you really get drawn in to the world.

In fact, it feels a little like Half Life 2.

It's amazing, and deserves to be seen.

Posted by space ace on Mar 20, 2007 twenty five to seven am

true, i thought of hl2 all the time i watched children of men

Posted by Cybergoulion on Mar 15, 2007 five to four pm

What is really amazing, is the fact that for a comic book derived movie with the properties you describe, it was damn close to the actual historical events (well, except the hunchback of Notre Damme for Efialtes and way persians looked). That is so unlike Hollywood too!

Posted by Chris on Mar 15, 2007 twenty five past four pm

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the delightful playfulness of this post. Haven't seen 300 yet, but I do wish it had come around when I had my Greek mytho-historic game in pre-production... Would have liked to have finished it. At the risk of hubris, it would have had a better story than the vast majority of games.

Best wishes!

Posted by Ormic on Mar 15, 2007 quarter past seven pm

@ Cybergoulion Please tell me that was a joke...

According to modern historical research there was no such person like Ephialtes, just some kind of fictional scapegoat to make the defeat a little more acceptable. Furthermore the battle was not really a deciding one compared to the later ones in Salamis and Marathon. Not to mention that there were more than 300 Spartans fighting (a hoplite was usually guarded by 5 helots). This list could go on and on...

To my mind films do not have to be historical correct but this one also lacks every sense for working dramaturgic structure and to an even higher extend it lacks any sense of direction. I totally agree with the points Mr. Gilbert made and have to say that I was unfortunately not enjoying myself. To me 300 appears like some 100 million $-Trash mixed with somewhat Riefenstahlish aesthetics (and sometimes even content). After I've listened to some of Frank Miller's words that seems to be just the way he should have wanted it.

For everyone who is interested: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=24146_Batman_Artist_No_Moonbat&only
also funny: http://comics.ign.com/articles/688/688140p1.html

Posted by BlackWolf on Apr 9, 2007 quarter past eight am

I would like to point that 300 is not based on the true battle of thermopyles, but on a comic book... so the historic facts that you mention do not count if you want to minimize 300. I think it's a good action/epic movie, just that.

Peace!

Posted by MC Kingsley on Mar 15, 2007 quarter to midnight

A review blurb on Rotten Tomatoes said this movie fills the gap between gay porn and recruitment video. I guess that is an untapped niche of sorts... And curiously enough, in it lie video games and things curiously like video games...

Hmmm....

:(

But hey! We have the Super Columbine RPG Massacre! That is something to celebrate in the same breath and with little less tongue in cheek. It is the Birth of a Nation of video games (not quite a Battleship Potemkin and definitely not a Citizen Kane, but it is an important step all the same).

Posted by Bashar on Mar 16, 2007 twenty five to two am

I was about to cancel going to the movie before I read the last line! :)
HINT: Movie still didn't hit theater here in Kuwait :/

Posted by Cybergoulion on Mar 16, 2007 quarter past six am

Ok, for such an epigrammatic statement I guess I desserved that comment, but hey, I just said it was historicaly accurate enough considering it was a Hollywood movie, based on a comic book. History is a difficult subject to be accurate with however. Numbers were not accurate nor the depiction of the Persians nor the armor (or the lack of it in our case). In the battle there were about 7000 Greeks and in the final stand there were 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians. The real reason the battle was fought was to slow down the Persians in order to give a chance in the greek naval forves in the naval battle of Artemisio and not only for glory. There were far too much events going on in the general frame of the Greco-Persian wars but the movie focuses only on the battle of Thermopyles and is doing so by removing some elements (and armor:) in order to be more polarized (every good comic book needs heroes and villains) but keeping close to the general outline of the battle. For me this is close enough as long as they don't intentionaly trying to distort history as many other movies do, for whatever reasons.

Sorry, about using the comment space for something like that, I just wanted to clarify my statement :-)

Posted by Shadee on Mar 16, 2007 quarter to eleven am

I like the original story too much to go and see this movie.
All I've seen so far are the previews and it looks like a combination of LOTR quality graphics combined with Xena quality acting.
Also, the idea of them managing to put armor on a rhino and actually ride it makes the little person in my head cry.

This time alas I can't bring myself to pay for a movie ticket. Not even to get drunk and laugh at it.

Posted by fabian on Mar 16, 2007 five past two pm

are you going to the cebit in germany dude ??? i live there

Posted by Daknight on Mar 16, 2007 quarter past eight pm

Why are you guys even bothering about the historic acuracy?. I don't recall a 'Graphic Novel' being considere a 'historic' book. You should HAVE know this wasn't based on the freaking original history when it clearly states 'Based on the Graphic Novel by Frank Miller'. Not 'Based on Historical events'...really, can't some of you understand the difference between based on a Graphic Novel and a Historical Event? O_o

Posted by Greg on Mar 18, 2007 twenty to ten pm

I was impressed with some of the thing they did get right though.
Anyone expecting ANY historical accuracy in any movie like 300 or in hollywood in general is being ridiculous. Hollywood entertains not educates. They would be boring if they tried to educate anyways.

Posted by NatsFan on Mar 17, 2007 twenty past seven am

Due to a combination of poor decision making, illegal narcotics, and a very large hammer, I actually went to go see "300", it was without question the biggest piece of crap I've ever seen.

Posted by David Thomsen on Mar 17, 2007 five to one pm

My favourite piece of overtly-inspired-by-computer-games television was an episode of the British series The Vanishing Man, starring Neil Morrissey. One of the episode featured a computer geek who taught Neil an essential truth about adventure gaming: 'collect items that might be useful later on'. Neil put this idea into practice to 'win' the episode.

I don't think it turned Neil into a kleptomaniac, though.

Posted by Tryscer on Mar 18, 2007 quarter past two pm

Well, did you see Doom?

Posted by Johnny W on Mar 18, 2007 half past two pm

Lol! Can't wait to watch it!

Posted by tommy on Mar 18, 2007 twenty five past three pm

off-topic, i know, but will there ever be a grumpy gamer comic #10?
i miss those flash movies sobsob

Posted by Patrick P on Mar 18, 2007 twenty five to four pm

The initial few words got me thinking... what was the atmosphere like at Lucasfilm Games in your group? How did you end up there by the way? Do you feel nostalgia for this period?

Posted by Greg on Mar 18, 2007 twenty five to ten pm

300 reminds me more of the growing number of pulp fiction genre movies more than games really.
I highly doubt hollywood had games in mind when they made 300. I think they had more of a lets top sin city attitude. That said it was really freaking amazing!

Posted by Someone on Mar 19, 2007 twenty past noon

I had the same feelings when I saw this...it's like a video game on the big screen!  Maybe Hollywood is finally ready to make a movie based on a video game, that will actually look and feel like a video game, unlike all those awful past attempts...

Posted by Kroms on Mar 20, 2007 twenty past noon

A Metal Gear movie is in the works. Seeing that Hideo Kojima is working as an Executive Producer, and that Kojima is a film buff (see his games), it will kick ass. Like his games.

Posted by Roabbracca on Mar 20, 2007 twenty to four am

I dont see how a movie about a game will help game industry. What a movie needs is a good script, it can come from a book, a game, a comic or right from the mind of the writter.

Posted by Edmundo on Mar 20, 2007 twenty past eleven am

Perhaps this is why gamers love this movie and make comic book strips for their crappy webcomic:
http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20070312

Posted by SageLudwig on Mar 20, 2007 twenty five past three pm

Best movie review ever! the movie? not as bad as Van helsing.

Posted by Nally on Mar 21, 2007 twenty to five am

I'm going to see this film soon with my girlfriend (also a Monkey Island fan might I add :D) .  It's nice to know I'll be able to just switch off and enjoy this movie.

Posted by Nally on Mar 21, 2007 ten to six am

Post Script :  Ron, how many times did you realize you were in a movie theatre?  Ever look at the green exit sign?

Posted by Joel on Mar 21, 2007 quarter past seven am

I felt exactly the same way.  Wave after wave of monsters fighting the heroes.... reminds me of most action games I've played.  I think this movie is one of the few that could be made into a good video game.

Posted by Kroms on Mar 21, 2007 half past eleven pm

It would if someone like Michel Ancel made it (otherwise it would join the legions of crap called "games"), but to be honest I'd really much rather see a game that did not emphasise on combat. We've got enough of those as it is.

Posted by Malkysound on Mar 22, 2007 twenty five past two pm

I laughed so hard the wine sputtered out my nose.  True.  

I think I will take along a wii controller with nunchucks and wave them about shouting out that it is an interactive movie.  

On a big Big BIG screen..

Posted by Durang0 on Mar 25, 2007 three pm

I think Altman summarized it well: "The audience has changed and the content has changed to suit that audience".

Posted by lemon t on Mar 25, 2007 five to eleven pm

I wish it was out in NZ, but alas not yet. You must forgive me for not sharing your site with my boyfriend, whom I've just convinced to start playing Monkey Island (can you believe the boy's 21 and hasn't played it yet? I think I finished the first one when I was about nine), as he worships 300 despite not having seen it yet- apparently his classics lecturers are plugging it hard out.  What was your opinion on Sin City? Much the same?

Posted by fleros on Mar 26, 2007 twenty to two am

so damn right, it gives me the hibedebebees.
300 is just some candy on a lame saterday night with friends.
i think the film has formed himself into a different movie because it is based on the comic book (frank miller - 300).
the storyline is nothing more then an war-so-we-fight script.
neverless GREAT article!

Floris, NL

Posted by Ben Paddon on Mar 28, 2007 noon

300 doesn't interest me at all, purely because whichever way you look at it, it's Yet Another Historical(ly Inaccurate) Epic. In addition, the guy on the poster at my local Cineworld looks suspiciously like Zangief from Street Fighter: The Movie. Another thing to put me off of the film entirely.

Posted by Someone on Mar 29, 2007 quarter to six pm

gta IV...

Posted by Sarah on Mar 31, 2007 ten to three pm

The movie is worth it to see those sexy, sexy men.

Posted by space ace on Mar 31, 2007 twenty five past ten pm

code lyoko ds reminds me of maniac mansion!
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=160457

Posted by toothrot on Apr 2, 2007 twenty past five am

300 is a good movie, with its drag queen like god king. Speaking of convergence, I saw DOOM recently after watching a series of B grade movies and so it seemed bloody fantastic. Its an obvious case of convergence between movies and games. The way they set up the scene which was like playing DOOM and how it still added to the movie, it was art.

Posted by Nally on Apr 3, 2007 four am

I saw this film the other week.  It is the most homoerotic movie I have ever seen.  If you didn't come out of that movie gay then there's something wrong with you!

Posted by Yogarine on Apr 3, 2007 twenty past five pm

Could 300 be worse than Matrix Revolutions?

Posted by turmeric on Apr 12, 2007 five to four pm

Well, I guess we are still waiting for the video game versions of "Triumph of the Will" and "Birth of a Nation". Not in their content, but in their content combined with widespread popularity and/or admiration.

Posted by Juan Diego on Apr 12, 2007 quarter to five pm

Dear Mr. Grumpy Gamer, I've stolen your comment about 300, translated it into Spanish, and published it in my blog. I wanted to trick everyone, to make them believe it was my own idea, but somehow they realized it was yours. How could that happen? Damn!

Posted by Kickback on Apr 27, 2007 five to ten am

No need to discuss the historical accuracy of this movie, it doesn't claim to be accurate. Just enjoy it for what it is.

"I haven't had this much fun watching a movie in a long time", I couldn't agree more with Ron.


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