The Movies E3 2005 Trailer Impressions

We check out a lengthy and hilarious trailer for The Movies, featuring several game-created movie clips and a glimpse at the in-game production process.

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Much has been made of the convergence between the film and games industries. On the business side, the creation of either form of media involves high overhead, an inevitable slew of logistical difficulties, and no certain promise of eventual profit. Lionhead Studios has been hard at work on The Movies, a game that lets you orchestrate the production of short films down to their minutia. A new E3 2005 showed several hilarious short films--presumably created in the game--and some gameplay sequences from the live virtual sets.

In The Movies, you start in the silent film era of the 1920s and work your way through time. The clips shown at the show varied greatly in style and "film" quality. The first was a science-fiction actioner that might as well be culled from the upcoming Halo movie. The next was a 1930s gangland flick, which used the same antiquated sepia filter that helped make Red Dead Revolver look like a period cowboy piece. The following film was a subway love story whose principal players were commedia dell'arte clowns. This led to an interplanetary make-out montage, fulminating with a robot's lovelorn temper tantrum. Much of the following footage passes too quickly to bear description, but a guy in a chicken suit does judo chop some loser's neck.

Next, the focus shifted to the production itself...specifically, your micromanagement of your stars. Unfortunately, your actors' heads seem to grow along with their fame, so you'll have to manage egos as much as cinematography. One dejected starlet--hoping, perhaps, for some sort of livery catamaran--laments her possession of only a single limousine. Even the cameramen get persnickety and complain about set locations and shooting angles.

The behind-the-scenes drama and onscreen action converge in the trailer's finale, starring a Bruce Lee analogue. Bruce, hoping to catch the attention of the casting director, turns away from his rabbit-suited opponent for a crucial second, and so gets walloped in the face. It can be supposed that you get to decide if that clip makes the outtake reel.

Generating prerelease hype has never been a problem for Peter Molyneux and Lionhead, but The Movies is truly an intriguing prospect. The quality of the shorts shown in the trailer suggest the game's execution may match its frankly brilliant concept.

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