Video games have become a medium where all forms of artistic expression collide. From captivating narratives to stunning visuals, one element that has elevated the gaming experience is music. Grand Theft Auto has revolutionized the way licensed music is integrated into video games by offering meticulously curated soundtracks. The GTA series offers a wide range of genres and popular artists with its radio stations that cater to specific musical tastes, whether it's old school hip-hop, reggae, new wave, rock, classic rock, country, or cumbia. The diversity of genres not only adds depth to the game's world, but also reflects the multicultural nature of the cities the games are set in.
The Grammy-nominated symphony Play by Andrew Norman, inspired by video games, was described as "the best orchestral work that the 21st century has seen thus far".
The most impressive movie I have seen that uses video game imagery is director Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The film's knowing integration of video game imagery, like falling tokens, video game noises, fighting game visuals, into the lives of these characters in a way that respects the graphic novel origins of the story and still manages to be emotionally compelling is absolutely masterful.
The Tron films [Tron and Tron Legacy] both create a lively universe from a fictional video game that is being used for nefarious purposes. The original in particular was groundbreaking in its use of computer generated imagery and a major step forward in digital art. Both films also broke ground with their use of electronic music. Tron featured legendary composer, Wendy Carlos' electronic score and Tron Legacy Soundtrack featured a score Grammy winners Daft Punk.
While it's not adapted from a single video game, (it's actually based on a novel) the number of classic video game references, the game influenced storytelling and special effects of director Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One make it also one of the grandest video game tie-ins of all time. The fact that underneath the glitter of all the video game action there is a genuinely dark dystopian society being revealed makes the film an impressive achievement.
In the past, I'll admit to thinking no good film adaptation cold ever come from a video game, happily some creative artists have proven me wrong. Not only is The Super Mario Bros. Movie the most popular film of 2023 so far, it's actually pretty fun too. And even though it frequently strains disbelief, I liked a lot of the action and the star power in Uncharted. Finally, one of the most unexpectedly fun and engaging video game adaptations I've seen is Pokémon Detective Pikachu. A fun story with good performances from Justice Smith and Ryan Reynolds that enmesh even newcomers into a world where Pokémon live among us.
Movies & Music - Question of the Week
Who is the first composer to win a Grammy Award for arranging music for a video game?
Last Week's Trivia Answer: Howard Ashman