There is a question, which has existed throughout time and space, and an answer that remains one of Earth’s greatest mysteries. No, it’s not THAT question, whose answer is 42, but rather, why can’t Hollywood make a good movie adaptation of popular video games? It doesn’t make any sense to me. The best gaming franchises come gift wrapped with intricately developed characters, storylines, epic set pieces, and established dedicated fan bases. Hollywood has this innate ability to constantly screw things up, but there are a few glimmers of greatness among the pile of failed adaptations. Here is my list of the top five “best” video game adaptations (please note, I’m not saying these movies are perfect…):
First off, this movie has the Rock, end of story! Ok, the Rock aside, Doom isn’t that bad of a movie. Sure, they changed the story, but that doesn’t really matter; no one ever played Doom for its riveting and salacious story telling. The action was great, the monsters were well-done, and the Rock and Karl Urban were awesome. There was also that twist in the end, which I won’t spoil, that made things fun in the last few minutes. Besides, even if you disagree with all of that, you can’t tell me the first-person camerawork scene, just like in the game, wasn’t awesome to see.
Two words – Milla Jovovich! That’s all I need to say. The original Resident Evil wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a fun movie regardless. You had kick-ass female characters, great enemies, interesting weapons, and a creepy A.I. that gave me nightmares for years. How amazing was that checkerboard laser scene; you know which one I’m talking about! I fell in love with Jovovich the instant I saw her in The Fifth Element, so it wasn’t a tough sell to get me behind this movie. Paul W. S. Anderson isn’t going to bring home any Academy Awards, but he has consistently made entertaining movies throughout his career. I know people bad-mouth this adaptation, but come on, at least it wasn’t one of Uwe Bolls Crap-A-Thons. Or the latest film in the series.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
You can say whatever you want about this movie, but back in 2001, Angelina Jolie was the living embodiment of Lara Croft. Just look at the picture below…I’ll wait. Great, now I dare you to say Jolie doesn’t look like she was born for the role. Unfortunately, the perfect casting (also starring Chris Barrie, Rimmer from Red Dwarf!), didn’t come with a perfect script. The movie felt clunky at times, had some questionable CGI, and didn’t really do much to set up the character for long-term potential. What we did get though, was a decent movie, with an amazing cast, and a chance to see our favourite daring adventurer archaeologist come to life for the first time. Let’s hope the reboot fares a little better.
Please don’t write in the comments “Jordan, this isn’t based off one specific game, but an amalgamation of many iconic gaming characters!” I get that, OK, but this movie rocked, and was exactly how something of this calibre should be. If you want to see how NOT to do it, just put on Adam Sandler’s unwatchable Pixels; that’s a lesson on how you take some of our greatest gaming icons and turn them into a steaming pile of…pixels! Wreck-It Ralph is incredibly well-written, with our main character voiced to perfection by John C. Reilly. Like most animated movies of the like, it plays exceptionally well to kids, while having inside jokes for adults. Some of the nostalgia references alone in this movie were worth the price of admission; I’ve seen it a few times and I still haven’t caught all the references. If you haven’t seen Wreck-It Ralph, I highly recommend you step away from your gaming PC, put down the Mountain Dew, and go watch it now!
This is MY list, so I get to choose MY favourite video game movie – *dodges incoming axes. I absolutely adore the first Mortal Kombat movie and everything in it. Sure, it was cheesy at times, with some notably bad dialogue coming from Luke Cage especially, but the fight scenes and soundtrack were outstanding. I remember grinning ear to ear when I first saw Scorpion and Sub-Zero on the screen; they looked perfect! The Johnny Cage vs. Scorpion and Liu Kang vs. Reptile fights were insane, with choreography orchestrated to perfection. I would say the only misstep came from the Goro fight (though I chock that up to poor animatronics and CGI). As I mentioned, the music in this movie was amazing. With Tracks form George S. Clinton, KMFDM, Fear Factory, The Immortals, Sister Machine Gun, and more, the album went as high as tenth on Billboard’s Top 200 and placed #1 on Top Tastemakers Albums in 1995. You can’t tell me you weren’t pumped every time “MORTAL KOMBAT” belted out on the title track. It’s a shame the sequel was so terrible and a clear cash grab to sell albums because we never got the true sequel we deserved. Rumors have circled for years of a reboot, but I won’t hold my breath for that.
There you have it, folks, those are my favourite video game to movie adaptations. I am sure the rest of you have a few different choices, and I would love to hear what they are. Do you absolutely love Silent Hill or Van Dam’s Street Fighter, let us know in the comments below.
13 thoughts on “Top 5 Video Game To Movie Adaptations”
I liked the Resident Evil movies. Okay, they aren’t briliant, but they are good sit back and just eat some popcorn and have fun kind of movies (provided your definition of fun includes a lot violence).
Some are much better than others – Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the worst one in my opinion.
I haven’t yet see The Final Chapter, and yeah, they certainly did get worse as they went (like most franchises if they stick around long enough).
Exactly!! You can’t take that series of movies too seriously. They’re fun, super violent, and you have to give credit to a series with 6 titles under its belt.
I feel like you’re missing the best of the bunch: Silent Hill. That movie was absolutely terrific!
I’ve heard Silent Hill is good, but I’ll tell you a secret…*looks both ways*…I never saw it 🙂 I need to give it a shot and maybe update this list!
@Jordan – The Ace Attorney movie was also great!
@Jamie – I’ve actually never sen/played that…when was that released?
I believe it was 2012 – check it out!
I agree that a lot of these, while never being the caliber of high artistic credit, are enjoyable on the sole aspect of ambition and the joy they can offer people. I still have yet to see the iconic Mortal Kombat film and that awesome jingle it gave the games. My favourite video game film is Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva with its ability to capture just the complete atmosphere of the game as an adventure serial movie. Its like watching a solidly entertaining Indiana Jones film, but with the lead being less snarky and more of a British gentleman. I do like your explanation about Wreck-it Ralph being a video game film and agree with you 100%.
@Schizoidmouse I agree Professor Layton is good. I think I might have to do a follow up and add a few more!! I can’t believe you haven’t seen MK movie! I highly recommend it. Never waste your time on the sequel, but the first one is really damn good.
When I saw the title, I thought, this better feature the one movie I love. I scrolled down slowly and slowly getting doubtful… but then I saw it, Mortal Kombat. The single greatest video game movie ever and nothing will ever top it. This is truly not only my favourite video game movie, but one of my favourite movies ever. Sure it’s cheesy but it really capture the magic of the games like no other movie has done. As you said, seeing Scorpion and Sub Zero on the big screen had me overcome with joy as a child in the cinema.