Back in 2012, there were inklings that a Monster Hunter movie was possible when director Paul W.S. Anderson expressed interest in directing one. Now its 2016 and at the Tokyo Game Show a Monster Hunter movie has been announced, though we don't know if Anderson is involved with it or not. While this may excite fans, as announcements like these typically do, I believe that this is not a good move overall for Capcom or Monster Hunter.
You Can't Interact With A Movie
There are people who believe that it is impossible to create a good video game movie and will be quick to point out that it's because major studios don't care enough about the source material to do it justice. While there is truth to this, there is one other major reason that most video game movies tank. It's the loss of interactivity. When you play a game, you yourself are a character in that game interacting with the game's world, characters, environments and lore. It is your personal experience, but when you watch a movie, it becomes everyone's experience.
The Monster Hunter series is about you hunting down monsters and beasts and using resources collected to build armor and weapons for your ideal hunter. Being an open-ended game, every person plays the game their way and creates an experience unique to them, and you just can't translate that to the screen. Instead of having your own adventure, you are now watching somebody else's, and that just isn't as fun.
Capcom's Theatrical Track Record
While the announcement of the Monster Hunter movie is a big deal, it is not the first Capcom property to be made into a live-action movie. Both Street Fighter and Resident Evil have been brought to the big screen with the latter turning into its own franchise. And while the Resident Evil franchise did enjoy some box office success, the Street Fighter movie and the RE sequels have both been hated and quickly forgotten.
There Is No Story
Even though Capcom's other movies have been hated by so many, they at the very least have some sort of story. Resident Evil is about the survival of the human race, while fighting zombies and the Umbrella Corporation. Street Fighter has Jean-Cluade van Damme protecting the world from the evil M. Bison. Monster Hunter on the other hand has no overall narrative. The main draw of the franchise is the fact that you hunt monsters and improve your weapons and armor so you can go around and kill more monsters. You can't really build a good story around that. There are ways to incorporate elements of this into a story, such as having someone hunt a dangerous monster to protect a village or killing a beast to show maturity. But these sort of stories have been done so many times.
Some could argue that a story is possible and point to the fact that they have created an anime series based off the games, with another on its way. However, an anime series takes place over a span of multiple episodes not an hour and a half. You would not only have to establish the world for newcomers, but provide a compelling story as well, and if movies like Warcraft has taught us anything, it's that it is not that easy to do.
Monster Hunter Is Overshadowed By Other Capcom Franchises
There is no denying that Monster Hunter is a big franchise. It has been around for a little over a decade and has developed its own following. Despite this, Monster Hunter is still trailing a bit when it comes to Capcom's other big franchises, especially in the west. Being around for only a short time not as many people are familiar with the game and that could translate to ticket sales, even if it is a good movie. People are more willing to stick with an a familiar brand, which is why movies such as Dragon Ball Z: Evolution and The Last Airbender raked in a good chunk of change at the box office. These movies are notoriously bad, but because they were based off things people already knew, we all flocked to see them.
As much as I believe that a Monster Hunter movie is a terrible idea, there is a part of me that would love to see it come to fruition and succeed where other video games have failed. Monster Hunter is great as a video game, but as a movie I don't see it being anything more than another reason as to why you should bring video games to the silver screen.
Do you think Monster Hunter would actually make a great movie?
Even if you aren't excited for the Monster Hunter movie, you should check out the trailer for the anime spin-off Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On.