Last night I went to the cinema and watched a movie. It wasn't just any other movie, either, but the excellent Zombieland , which pleasantly exceeded my expectations. The opening credit sequence was also a delight incidentally, surpassing the pretty cool opening sequences of Wolverine (which was attached to an insipid movie) and Watchmen .
It occurred to me about three quarters of the way through that after years of video games imitating movies, the film industry is finally returning the favour, for lack of a better term. I'm not talking about some kind of Dead Rising vibe, or the weird recycling of Resident Evil B movie sensibilities into actual Resident Evil B (or maybe C) movies. I think some of the shots and a lot of the action in Zombieland owes a lot to video games.
James Cameron's Avatar is another example. Clearly, the whole concept of the film owes a lot to looking at how people interact in indirect methods (i.e. the Internet) including video games. The concept of the avatar is, of course, an instantly recognisable one to anyone that plays games.
More than that though, and this is what I'm getting at with Zombieland, even the short scenes in the trailer betray a video game type sensibility, in regards to the larger than life actions of some of the characters and the spectacular battle scenes. I'm afraid my severe fear of spoiling movies is getting in the way of my point here; I have several friends who take great steps to avoid seeing trailers of big movie releases they are waiting to see. I can say this, though: a lot of the action shots in Zombieland and in the Avatar trailer struck me as particularly reminiscent of a lot of video game sensibilities, particularly some of the fast paced and large scale action often associated with so-called "AAA" titles. Things have come a long way in a short space of time. Not so long ago somebody thought shooting ten minutes of a video game movie entirely in first person and completely mimicking gameplay would be a cool idea.
Maybe this is the next step to video games and films resting a little easier alongside each other. My money is on a slightly different outcome. I think that the film industry is going to completely skip any kind of a step that involves films based on video game IP that don't suck, and just start making more big budget movies that borrow set piece ideas developed in video games. So, no Halo movie, but some kind of Tom Cruise vehicle called Massive Ring Starfight or something. Or Avatar.