Hype, we meet again

I still haven’t seen Inception yet. The trailer looks cool.

Man, there are some epic expectations to satisfy there. People who claim to be my friends keep pestering me to see Nolan’s latest gift to the world, but is it really that great? Come on guys, it’s just a movie (hope that caught your attention you dirty cinephile, you).

Why am I not succumbing to peer pressure? Is there like something wrong with me or something? I still haven’t seen Avatar. I love me some science fiction (grew up on the stuff) so it’s not like I’m consciously boycotting the genre (assuming this Inception flick is SF bent?) .

Perhaps there is a rational explanation for why my butt hasn’t graced a Greater Union seat in a while—and it’s not because the ticket lady gave Daddio a hard time when we wanted different Pokemon cards …

Oooh, shiny

There are two mind-shattering moments in my life (just two?) where hype was caught hammer-handed. Both moments relate to video games.

Firstly, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. Damn that game sucked. Well, if you wanted to gun your way through a string of short, contrived missions as a psychopath who swears more than my aunty then this game is for you.

Free game anyone?

Unfortunately this particular third-person slaughterfest failed to surpass the sheer awesomeness that is Max Payne. The trailers, the screenshots—prior to release—led gamers to believe that Kane & Lynch was the next best thing. I still want my money back—the sequel can rot on the shelves.

Secondly, remember that PC game I just praised, Max Payne? That game was, and still is, brilliant.

Did you just cut the wind?

Simple premise: cop-turned-trigger-happy-vigilante in search of the criminals and junkies responsible for murdering his wife and child. Lovely. One innovation the game introduced, which was no doubt inspired by the movie The Matrix, was bullet time. That simple addition, granting the player the ability to shoot-dodge or fight in slow-motion, opened up a lot of alternative playing styles for a genre that is simple in execution: run, shoot, kill, survive.

So what in Ragnarok has any of this got to do with hype?

A few years ago there were several independent movies in development, mostly amateur ventures which were inspired by the Max Payne games (And they actually looked very promising and faithful).

Here’s one.

Unfortunately, some evil bastards bought the Max Payne rights and sent cease-and-desist orders to other independent filmmakers who were working on their own features.

A Hollywood film was in the making *shudder*. How could they possibly screw up? I remember thinking about this at the time. The game’s story is tight. There’s even a graphic novel to follow (you unlock new chapters as you progress) so you’d think the adaptation would be straight-forward. Right?

Wrong.

Evil bastard John Moore directed Max Payne (2008) which was a mockery of the source material.

So what was so bad about the film anyway, aside from the obvious story butchery? The characters. Where was Vinnie Gognitti! Where was my favourite whiny mob boss?

He was the comic relief in the games but he also served an important role in the narrative—he knew stuff. The adaptation feels empty when someone so memorable is missing from the mix. There is a composite character in the film who is almost reminiscent of Gognitti but he sucks. There is no substitute (no substitute).

When Max (Mark Wahlberg) is finished chatting with Mr Sucks he meets Mona Sax (Mila Kunis). Casting fail. Just compare the game’s model with her.

Original image from: http://tech2.in.com/india/topstuff/games-gaming/babes-from-video-game-movies/63132/1

Then we have all these other superfluous characters talking random shite which leads me to one of the most awesome bosses ever: Jack Lupino. His crazy occult persona, amplified by the eerie atmosphere of Ragnarok night club, was exhilarating to experience on the computer (or alternative gaming platform).

Sadly, these defining details were modified to fit the film’s bastardised plot. Meet the new Jack: angry soldier man hopped-up on designer drug Valkyr. He likes to be killed in an anti-climactic manner *sigh*.

I could go on and on and on but I think you get the idea now. Hype and me go way back.

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