Several years back, a N.Y. Times columnist eloquently worried that emerging writers concerned with those lucrative motion picture rights would be making sure, consciously or not, that their novels were cinematic. Would literature lose its purity of purpose? Now, films like “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” raise the ante of media anxiety.
For you see, this mediocre martial arts film has its roots in neither traditional belles lettres nor their begrudged stepchild, the originally written screenplay. Nope, dear ever-shrinking population of readers, it springs from a video game. To the great unwashed that’s just one rung up from basing a movie on a pre-recorded phone message.
Granted, there are great works that began life on a cocktail napkin, preferably at “21” in the speakeasy years, if you’re a romantic. Which apparently the pageant of time isn’t. Not if it’s willing to supersede quill, fountain pen, Underwood and P.C. with Xbox and a room strewn with McDonald’s wrappers. Oh sacrilege, where is thy gigabyte?