Here’s a Question: Are video games ruining movies for me?

This is not really an opinion piece, more a personal reflection. I was thinking about this the other day. I was talking with a co-worker and they asked me about a few movies and if I had seen them. I had not. In fact I hadn’t seen a lot of the movies that he was talking about including any movie in the recent Avengers series. No Iron Man, no Thor, nothing.

I really want to see those movies for obvious reasons. However when I fire up Netflix to catch up on the older ones I just exit out and do something else. I have no real drive to see them. And that goes for a lot of movies. Even moves I know are good and I know I would probably really enjoy. It’s a mind think. I’m probably getting too cynical for my own good and it’s costing me. I will touch on why I think this is in a bit.

“I’m probably getting too cynical for my own good and it’s costing me.”

I have seen a move recently though. Well recent in terms of when this is being written. I saw Jurassic World opening night. I could not wait to see it. Jurassic Park was a huge part of my childhood. I already loved dinosaurs and this movie blew me away. It was everything I could have wanted back then. So when I watched Jurassic World I had huge expectations as I’m sure many other people did.

The movie started and I sat there, wide-eyed ready for my adventure to begin. By the time it ended I was disappointed in it. That was my initial reaction, but as I digested what I just saw even more I ended up really liking the movie, recognizing my own cynicism. So it was really my reaction to Jurassic World and conversation with my co-worker that spawned this topic for me.

Here, without major spoilers, is what I didn’t like about the movie and why I think video games may be ruining movies for me:

First, there was no reason for me to care about the characters. The movie opens and you are thrust into it. Within only a few minutes you are at the park. There was no real reason, no back story, nothing. Just fade in and let’s get into it.

Next, towards the end of the movie there is a moment where one of the dinosaurs is humanized. I tried my best to suspend my belief for the movie but the level of intelligence, understanding and communication that dinosaur showed for that split second was beyond anything it could hope to be capable of knowing what we know about them. I know it’s a movie but that took me out of it.

The last thing I didn’t like was that there was no huge reveal or big moment. The first movie had that big moment, through the doors where Hammond says “Welcome to Jurassic Park”. Even just typing it out still gives me goosebumps. Jurassic World didn’t have that. It was screaming for that kind of moment. There were plenty of times for a giant set piece style reveal moment of something, but they never went for it.

“Even just typing it out still gives me goosebumps.”

So how do I tie this into videogames? Because just about every story based video game out there let’s you play, watch or somehow experience the characters before all hell breaks loose. I always just took it for granted until I watched the Hunger Games actually. I hated the first Hunger Games for similar reasons. The events in the movie just happen. After so many games that do a great job of providing substance to the characters I get annoyed when movies don’t take the same approach. I not only miss it, I find myself pining for it and getting annoyed when it’s not there. And while I understand games are much longer than movies, they are both story driven media, and with where games are with their productions values they tend to get the same, if not more, intense emotions from me.

That is really my biggest hold up with movies in that most of the time they try to cram so much into the timeframe that some stuff must be cut or shortened. I get that. I also get that the Avengers series has entire movies dedicated to back story. So my “hold up” really doesn’t hold up here. That brings me to my next issue in that I don’t really crave the entertainment from those movies either. Video games have been phenomenal at keeping my need for action, story, drama and everything else movies bring satiated. I’m a sucker for a good story and games have provided me that in spades. I can’t, and this is purely personal, think of any movies that have moved or excited me more than The Last of Us, Uncharted 2, Metal Gear Solid 4, Tomb Raider (2013), Mass Effect 1, the list goes on. On the flip side, no game has captured my imagination like Jurassic Park or Terminator 2. However those movies were part of my childhood and I view them with very rose tinted nostalgia goggles. No recent movie has been able to win me over like those games even though the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came very close.

So I say all this basically to say that I feel I’m missing out on a large amount of entertainment that I’d like because I’m psyching myself out of it. Time for me to just fire up Netflix and turn on some Marvel.