Mortal Kombat is prepped and ready to lead the way as one of 2021’s first major blockbuster releases in what can only be described as an unexpected turn of events.
Historically, video game adaptations have garnered little but negative attention from critics and fans alike, often being derided for their inability to capture the source material’s identity and ultimately devolving into a cynical cash grab. It’s with a certain degree of incredulity, then, that Hollywood finally appears to have sussed out the formula for crafting solid or, as is becoming more commonplace, great movies starring heroes and villains never before seen on the big screen.
While the journey to release was fraught with controversy surrounding the central character’s design, Sonic The Hedgehog joined Detective Pikachu in proving, perhaps for the very first time, that live-action adaptations could be a safe bet, but why now and what’s changed? According to Greg Russo, co-writer for Simon McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat reboot, the answer is deceptively simple.
Speaking to WGTC in a recent interview discussing his broader career, Russo states his belief that, unlike in the early 90s and 2000s, where upper management consisted largely of people who had little to no experience or interest in the hobby, the men and women in charge today grew up playing the same games now being repurposed for cinema.
“The reason people think that video game movies are getting better is they feel like the people who grew up with the games are now old enough to be in creative positions to do them justice,” Russo explains in a sentiment that would undoubtedly account for 1993’s universally panned Super Mario Bros. movie. It’s assuredly because of missteps such as these that Nintendo and its contemporaries would eventually opt to develop any similar ventures in-house, yielding much better results in the process.
“So now, it’s like the people who grew up loving this stuff like me, we’re getting to make these movies,” says Russo. “And so that’s why they’re starting to get a little better, because people are looking and saying, ‘wow. This looks like it was made by a fan.’ Because it actually was made by a fan.”
How Mortal Kombat will stack up against some of those aforementioned modern examples remains to be seen, of course, but we’ll finally have a definitive verdict when the forces of Earthrealm and Outworld do battle on April 23rd.