Free Guy Might Be The Only Video Game Movie The World Needs – GameRant

It's no secret that most video game movies have not been very good, but the upcoming Free Guy starring Ryan Reynolds may have the right approach.

Ryan Reynolds seems to be on a roll, from his shrewd business ventures regarding Aviation Gin and the Wrexham AFC football team to his high-profile movie roles as the titular characters in Deadpool and Detective Pikachu. Now with his latest starring role in Free Guy, Ryan Reynolds plays his second consecutive character named Guy and tackles the wide world of open-world video games.

In Free Guy, Ryan Reynolds plays a bank teller who comes to the realization that hes a non-playable character in an MMORPG. Upon this realization, he goes against his scripted role as a helpless character and starts being the hero for his city. While the relationship between the game and movie industries has resulted in countless video game movies that are really bad and a couple that were fun, Free Guys concept allows it to be exactly the type of video game movie it should be.

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Remember during the first season of The Office where the show was basically redoing the episodes from its original UK counterpart? Critics really hated it. Only after the show started pursuing its own voice and original plotlines did it become the television mega-hit it was.

Theres something to be said for when a scriptwriter is hamstrung by the source material. A lot of video games dont really have that solid of a plot. With some notable exceptions, theyre usually a cardboard-thin excuse for the player to shoot some bad guys while sending them off on pointless errands to try to get the playtime over 20 hours. While the player is likely to feel more emotionally attached to the story because theyre the space marine that blew up the mothership to save Earth again, it can be hard to faithfully adapt to an actual quality film script. The writer either risks taking too many liberties with the story and infuriating fans of the franchise, or they follow too closely to the plot of the game and the movie feels like somebody tried to jam 3 games worth of lore into a 2-hour movie.

Wreck-It Ralph used the concept of the world inside vintage arcade games to explore not only the tropes of the games of that era, but also themes of the roles people play and what actually makes a person good. While it remains to be seen how in-depth Free Guy gets with its potentially similar subtext, it does allow it to be a video game movie without being constricted to an existing universe. Instead, Reynolds character may get to play with familiar game conventions that players are used to but would seem absurd when applied to a real-world situation.

In the trailer, viewers are given a peek at the ways in which Free Guy plans to toy with such conventions, specifically in the context of open-world MMORPGs. His world is full of ridiculous carnage all around him as he goes about his day. Random people casually using flamethrowers around him is a daily occurrence. Reynolds character Guy acquires a pair of glasses that allow him to see the elements of the game only the players can see. Floating, rotating giant medical kits are suddenly visible to him, as well as player levels and health bars. Guy starts using these glasses to help him tackle the bad guys along with the players of the game, and the movie seems to answer the question of what would happen if NPCs of the games were as tuned-in to all this extra-sensory knowledge of their world as the player is.

Free Guys freedom to be whatever it wants raises an interesting question: do video games really need movie adaptations? Plenty of games like Uncharted seek out to replicate the experience of being a movie anyway, so a movie almost feels like putting a hat on a hat. A lot of other video games, like fighting games, puzzle games, or puzzle-fighters, make no qualms about the fact that they are a game. A movie adaptation of those feels akin to trying to make an action movie thrill ride out of a board game like they did with Battleship. Video games have also been around long enough that a good amount of them are starting to look inward and play conceptually with their existence as a video game, an idea that doesnt really translate to a movie at all but is, ironically enough, closest to the type of movie Free Guy seems to be.

Thats why Free Guy might be the only type of video game movie necessary. Rather than try to work around a lot of these obstacles, it completely negates them. The movie has the opportunity to be somewhere between a parody and a pastiche, paying tribute to a medium that has given people so many unforgettable moments with a healthy side of gentle ribbing. It remains to be seen if Free Guy rises to the occasion. It could make for a refreshingly different take on the wild and wonderful worlds gamers inhabit, or it could feel like theyre being talked down to. The tone of the trailers give the feeling that the movie is after the same thing all players are: a lot of fun with a bit of heart along the way.

Free Guy is scheduled to release May 21, 2021.

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Free Guy Might Be The Only Video Game Movie The World Needs - GameRant

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