Paul W.S. Anderson is more than experienced in adapting video games for the silver screen, catching his big break in Hollywood by helming 1995’s cult classic Mortal Kombat. Of course, Anderson also launched what would go on to become the highest-grossing series of video game movies in history with Resident Evil, directing four of the six films and writing them all.
If you count Alien vs. Predator, which was technically a crossover that first happened in comic books but was also the subject of several games well before the big screen version, then the filmmaker has even more background knowledge of the genre, while he also had a hand in what might very well be the most ludicrous adaptation in existence after producing Cory Yen’s DOA: Dead or Alive.
The 55 year-old is back on familiar turf with his latest effort Monster Hunter, which sees Anderson firmly in his wheelhouse by directing an effects-heavy video game blockbuster with Milla Jovovich in the lead. The $60 million B-movie is one of the very few decent-sized releases left on the 2020 calendar as well, which the studio will be hoping works to their advantage.
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However, a lot of fans were less than impressed with the debut trailer, and in a recent interview, Anderson addressed the reaction and explained the best way of translating stories that originated on consoles to the big screen without alienating any section of the potential audience.
“I think you need to stay true to the to the fabric of the game, which we have done, as I’ve kind of demonstrated. But also I think you have to be aware that you’re walking a very fine line, because as well as making a movie for fans who know a lot about the source material, you’re also making a movie for people who don’t know anything about it. Mortal Kombat works for both audiences, and I’m always aware of that line. And that’s why sometimes hardcore fans take offense because we change some things. But really, we’re trying to do our best to tell a story that doesn’t exclude anybody. I think that’s the thing you want to not do. You don’t want people to go, ‘Oh, I don’t play the game. Therefore, that movie is not for me’. You want people who both play the game and don’t play the game to go, ‘That is very cool’.”
No offense to Paul W.S. Anderson, but the highest-rated video game movie on Rotten Tomatoes that he’s had anything to do with is Mortal Kombat, and that holds an unimpressive score of 48% and was released a quarter of a century ago. Based on his track record, then, at this stage, the jury is still very much out on Monster Hunter.