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Customer Review

12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another video game adaptation gone down the toilet and believe me I'm not happy about that, April 24, 2008
This review is from: Silent Hill (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
I'm paraphrasing here but Kurosawa once said that if you have a great director, great editor, great cinematographer and a great cast but have a bad script then you will have a bad movie. This film is a great example to back up this statement. This film has some of the best visual effects out there, good editing, good cinematography, occasionally good soundtrack but an absolutely horrible screenplay. What happened? I wish I knew but could only guess that what we saw was the end result of a rough draft. Somewhere hidden in there might have been a good idea and it seems that unless you played the games it might be difficult to pin point exactly what that good idea was.

In order for a movie to be good it should not require an outside source (video game, comic book, novel or TV show) to hold it up. Some of the best films out there were based off of another medium, Spiderman 1 and 2, X-MEN 1 and 2, Batman Begins, Lord of the Rings (this list could actually go on forever), I even enjoyed the first Mortal Kombat. Obviously you don't have to agree with the titles I just mentioned, they're just opinions but the point is that these films don't require you to be familiar with the source material. The films actually stand on their own without that familiarity. There's nothing wrong with the director tipping his hat to memorable scenes that originate within the game as a wink towards the fan. What is wrong is when the director is not able to translate the games narrative into film for the non-fans. If he were successful in translating the game into film the non-fans would want to play the game! In this case Gans failed to do just that.

Is the movie hard to understand? No, because the main point of the plot, that is, the motivating factor for the characters in the plot is spelled out for you in the last 10 or so minutes of the film in the form of a flash back with running commentary. I can't help but think that the logic behind this plot structure is to make you feel like you've painstakingly played a video game and now you will be rewarded with a reason as to why you have played the game in the first place or why you sat for almost two hours wondering why Rose (the mother character for those who have not seen it yet) didn't take the kid to a doctor instead of taking her to an allegedly haunted town that is to this day burning underneath. The point is that this type of exposition is just plain lazy writing. That kind of information is typically (not always but in this way it is more challenging for the writer and allows for interactivity from the audience) leaked throughout the film with the use of action, dialogue, metaphors so when the payoff happens there is no need for an explanation.

Tension is caused by expectation, you expect something terrible to happen based off the clues that have been given to you throughout the course of the film. Sometimes the audience knows more than the main character raising the bar for tension. In other words you know what's coming before the character does causing the audience to scream the typical, "don't go into that room" or "Don't open that door" or just simply scream. Alfred Hitchcock has a better explanation as to how it works but the point is that tension is caused by expectation. Now putting aside the information that the fans are familiar with from the game, the movie itself does not clearly place any clues for the audience to create that tension. The clues that are presented are a mystery in of themselves. Although we eventually learn of the witch hunters origin and eventually, after the infamous flashback, we learn the story of Alessa, without some form of previous information placed earlier in the film it's difficult for most to see any of that coming. Therefore, the director literally has to hold our hands throughout the film for us to understand why anything is happening. But yes, by the end of the film you are TOLD everything and technically you should be able to walk out of the film "getting it". However, in this case, to "get it" was not fun.

I'm not going to argue about this being one of the best VG adaptations out there because it probably is. But unfortunately that's not saying much.

What I'm saying is I love video games and I really wanted to enjoy this film. Besides, I'm a huge fan of Brotherhood of the Wolf and based on that alone I thought this film was going to be great. I thought it was going to do for video games what X-MEN and Spiderman was doing for comics, people were finally going to look at it as a serious form of entertainment and not a mindless activity that most critics have labeled it as such. Unfortunately, in this case it did not do any of those things. Even worse, it seems, based on the number of the games fan responses in this forum, the film has isolated itself to the entertainment of only them, thereby alienating itself from the rest of the public and some are okay with this! That's not a good thing and you fans of the game should know that money ultimately rules this industry. If this film does not profit it will scare off the studios from not only making sequels of this movie but ultimately making future adaptations of other games. And there are a lot of games out there that deserve to be made into films.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 12, 2008 10:00:17 AM PDT
Ben Dover says:
It's called "being faithful" Why should Gans try and make this movie more appealing to the non-Silent Hill fans? Not every director is trying to "cash in" with their movies. Gans is a massive SH fan, just listen to him talk for about two minutes, and he'll go off on some kind of rant. He didn't even write the script, had he did, it may have been better in your eyes. Comparing this movie to the dozens of other video game to movie adaptations, I think it's great.

My only other question is, if you're not a fan of the games, why write a shameful review for the movie? It just aggravates those of us who are.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2008 7:41:05 PM PDT
Kissalude says:
its out there for anyone to enjoy, if people find it unfavorable, and wish to express why, then so be it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2008 11:14:56 AM PDT
Ben Dover says:
I'm starting to think that this is the same guy making multiple accounts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2008 4:29:11 PM PDT
Ramon Olivo says:
Making a film appeal to the general public isn't selling out, selling out would be watering down what the fans enjoyed about the game. Why not make it so people outside the game world will enjoy it too? I have no problem with being faithful to the source material but there are ways to "help" the non-fans connect and not water down as well but that would take a better skilled scriptwriter. The initial concept to the game isn't exactly very difficult to understand in the first place but it's the execution of that concept that fell through for me. Besides I've seen worse films but I'm familiar with Gan's work and he's a really good film-maker (albeit it wasn't his script) so having certain expectations are natural. Regardless, this is a review, an opinion, not fact, just like you have the right to express how much you liked the film I also have the right to express my disappointment. This is also my only account and has been for years. I'm familiar with the knuckle heads who like to hide behind multiple screen names to make their argument seem to go in their favor but I have no interest in wasting my time to convince someone of my opinion. That being said I love video games and obviously I love films and I actually have an interest in playing Silent Hill but the film almost killed that. "Being faithful" doesn't excuse crap.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2011 8:40:15 AM PDT
Melia says:
You don't need to be a fan of the games to a) watch the movie, b) enjoy or dislike it and c) write a review about it. I think that Ramon Olivo's review is very well-balanced - he gives us a lot of arguments why he doesn't like the movie. And that's perfectly ok. I don't agree with his opinion because I actually enjoyed the movie a lot but the review nevertheless is excellent.
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