ideo Kojima, the director of the Metal Gear Solid video game franchise, gives his two cents on the new film Pacific Rim:
“It’s no surprise that Hideo Kojima, maker of games about people, giant robots and war would like a new summer blockbuster about people, giant robots and monsters. (Hey, two out of three…) It is nevertheless refreshing to see how gleeful the Metal Gear mastermind is about next week’s Guillermo Del Toro action flick, Pacific Rim.”
In the original article, several of Hideo Kojima’s tweets giving the film praise are shown, where he describes the movie as something he “never imagined he would be fortunate enough to see […] in [his] life,” and even compares it to cult classic 2001: A Space Odyssey and an actual classic, Jurassic Park. One tweet of his was particularly enlightening:
“This film is not simply a film to be respected, but most importantly, it let us dream the future of entertainment movies.”
Honestly, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Mr. Kojima of all people would completely miss what is the real point and purpose of the current movie climate, the real truth behind practically all films made today.
Hideo Kojima is well known for directing video games with some of the longest, most drawn out, and blisteringly unedited cutscenes of any game. The Metal Gear Solid franchise is infamous for it. If one were to track his series, you’ll notice that with each installment the cinematics grow more obnoxious and time consuming. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is decidedly the epitome of obtuse, with a total time spent watching the game play with itself for you for approximately 9.5 hours. Apparently there is one non-interactive, uninterrupted cutscene lasting nearly half an hour.
The purpose of this article, however, isn’t to debate whether or not the game or its cutscenes are “good” or “bad.” What’s important is the blatant disconnect between the creative insiders and the outside world.
Before anyone asks, no, I have not seen Pacific Rim, but I don’t need to, at least not in order to make this particular observation. The vast majority of films today are meant only to sell you other things, to entice children to beg their parents for the blankets and boxes and toys with their favorite movie dudes on them.
The “resurgence” of comic book/super hero movies? Action figures and toys. Practically everything Pixar has ever done, especially after Cars, which is (or at least was, until the sequels came out) often considered their worst film? Action figures and toys. Excuse the oversimplification, but you get the point.
What is interesting is that video game developers would want to adopt Hollywood’s production formula, trying more and more successfully to mimic their insane budgets and sales numbers. The irony, of course, is that while films themselves are (at least individually) a minute investment, usually only taking about $10 and 1-2 hours of your time, video games require a much larger investment, typically anywhere from $40-$60 (depending on the title and date of release) and 10-20+ hours. Also while films, as stated previously, seek mostly to bank on merchandising, video games themselves are the merchandise. Most people are happy enough to spend and end their time with the game alone, not needing extra peripherals or plastic to satisfy themselves.
Is it any wonder we have a surplus triple-A titles being released, only to hear their developers lament that their titles only sold in the 4-5 millions, as opposed to the 6-10+ millions? That is not a sign of “weak sales” or “challenges and inadequate marketing,” it’s a sign of incompetence on the developer’s part.
A sign of incompetence and again, a huge disconnect between the consumers and the producers.
Mr. Kojima, you are quite literally watching giant (proto-)action figures rumble and tumble on screen. That is what you’re referring to as “the future of entertainment movies.”
Movies are your “canary in the coal mine,” and you’re canary died a while ago, but you keep on trekking towards King Coal’s crib expecting a warm welcome.