Roger Ebert’s Silent Hill Review

I had a nice conversation with seven or eight people coming down on the escalator after we all saw “Silent Hill.” They wanted me to explain it to them. I said I didn’t have a clue. They said, “You’re supposed to be a movie critic, aren’t you?” I said, “Supposed to be. But we work mostly with movies.” “Yeah,” said the girl in the Harley t-shirt. “I guess this was like a video game that you like had to play in order to like understand the movie.”

I guess.

I watched the Silent Hill movie today. It is bad.

BUT, as I ranted about on Twitter, I don’t know if the movie is bad because it’s a bad movie in and of itself or that it’s bad because it’s based on a game series that…isn’t really that great—at least when presented in any format other than a game.

Think of Ebert’s criticisms against the Silent Hill movie. It’s hard to figure out what the hell is going on. Plot lines don’t make any sense.1 The dialog is lousy. The acting is too.

Sounds to me like he could be describing the games, too.

That, and the movie is set up for gamers, but tries to set a tone much like The Ring in, I assume, an effort to appeal to a mass audience. It didn’t work. This was a gamer’s movie, like many other movies based on games.2

This is why I’m always skeptical of movies based upon video games. Video games are enjoyable in game form, but in movie form they haven’t figure it out yet.


  1. Ebert writes:

    Rose has come here with her daughter Sharon because the girl has taken to sleep-walking at night, and standing on the edge of high cliffs while saying “Silent Hill” in her sleep. Obviously the correct treatment is to take her to the abandoned town itself. 

  2. I would argue the same point about other movies based on games, like Resident Evil, DOOM, Street Fighter, Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon. I haven’t seen the Hitman movies, so maybe there’s a glimmer of hope there. Also this:

     

World War Z Trailer

They must have taken out the oral history part, because that was the worst part of the book. I gave it up. Every character speaks the same way.

Yeah, I know – how could the written word have a voice? Every character they interview in the beginning was like some snotty jerk that I’d be happy to see eaten by a zombie. Answering questions with phrases like “What do YOU think?”

This may be the one instance where the movie is better than the book.

Indie Game: The Movie

A couple thoughts on Indie Game: The Movie.

I have a lot of indie games to play

This whole movie made me think of the backlog of indie games I’ve gotten from the Humble Indie Bundle. Since watching it I’ve started working on Braid again.

Thinking of building a Steam box now.

Artists talking about art can get boring

There’s one section in which one of the Super Meat Boy developers is talking about tutorials and how they teach players how to do things without explicitly having a tutorial level. I like that stuff. That may have been the only scene in the movie like that.1

Experience Points had an episode about this movie. They weren’t so keen on it. They bring up some good points regarding the over-dramatizationatized shots and some of the other, more interesting, stories the filmmakers could have explored, but didn’t.

Lots of beards

And facial hair. I think this is a early/mid-20s guy thing.


  1. This online extra is a good example. 

“We Had a Budget for Cocaine”

On Akroyd meeting Belushi and making the Blues Brothers movie.

Glazer begs off. This is Aykroyd’s baby. He’s an Emmy winner, the author of many or most of his best S.N.L. skits. There’s just one catch, production-wise. This runaway train hinges on a screenwriter who has never in his life written or even read a screenplay.

I always thought the problem was ME – that I was the reason I never liked this movie.

Gotta start somewhere.

Who Stole Jaws?

On the disappearance of the original Jaws movie poster artwork.

If you were a little kid when Jaws was everywhere then you understand how scary that movie poster was and how a generation of children learned that getting eaten by a shark could happen in bathtubs and swimming pools.

The ride at Universal Studios was shut down earlier this year. It’s the end of an era.