When I read Isaac’s post about video game adaptations (pretty good stuff there), I just kept thinking about Edge of Tomorrow, aka Live Die Repeat, aka All You Need is Kill! Specifically, I thought about the Angry Nerd video about it.
The Angry Nerd said Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best video game movies out there, and it’s not even an adaptation of a video game. Think about it. When Tom Cruise dies, he resets to a recent checkpoint. He sucks at fighting at first, but he gets better the next time and progresses farther. Every now and then he faces a situation he just can’t get himself or Emily Blunt (more capable than most NPCs in escort missions) out of, so he has to start over and find a new strategy.
As the Angry Nerd points out, in most other video game movies, the main character is super-awesome right from the beginning. That’s not what happens to most of us in reality. We have to hear the “Mario dies” theme music an infuriating number of times before we defeat Bowser. It doesn’t matter if I’m James Bond or Master Chief or a Little Green Army Man. Every video game’s multiplayer mode is “Let’s Shoot Noah in the Face…in Spaaaaace” or “Let’s Shoot Noah in the Face with Nice Tuxedoes” or “Let’s Shoot Noah in the Face with Zombies.”
Pokemon is another example of an adaptation doing it right. Ash starts out as a total n00b and grows up to be less of a n00b as his Pokemon get stronger. Yeah, yeah, TV shows have a lot more time for the hero to get better, but…Rocky, anyone? Need something more contemporary? Big Hero 6. Immortals Montage.
The moral of the story is you don’t have to be Michael Assass-bender or Jack Reacher right away. When you fail, just get back up and try again. But don’t die. In real life there are no respawns.