Hollywood has long ago run out of original ideas. The industry is constantly spatting a seemingly endless amount of sequels, prequels, reboots, remakes, comic-book & novel adaptations and of course video game adaptations.
While many of these subgenres have produce undeniable classic films, the video game genre has yet to produce a truly superb one. The best movie to involve video game characters would have to be Wreck-It Ralph but that isn’t exactly an adaptation. Lets look at this a little more in depth.
Classics movie remakes include; The Fly (1986), Heat (1995), Evil Dead II (1987), The Blob (1988), The Departed (2006), Scarface (1983), etc.
Movies that were better than their books include; Donnie Brasco (1997), Jackie Brown (1997), The Prestige (2006), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Mrs Doubtfire (1993), The Godfather (1972), Forrest Gump (1994), Jurassic Park (1993) and endless others.
Great comic-book movies include; Ichi The Killer (2001), Iron Man (2008), Men In Black (1997), Kick-Ass (2010), Sin City (2005), A History of Violence (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), etc.
The video game movie genre on the other hand has only produced films that were either out right terrible or a classic only in certain circles. Horrible films include; Super Mario Bros.(1993), Street Fighter (1994), Double Dragon (1994), Alone in the Dark (2005) Max Payne (2006) and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997). While the genre has produced films that are a notch above tolerable including; Mortal Kombat (1995), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001). None of these films hold over a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
One film that is held in somewhat high regard is the original Resident Evil movie starring Milla Jovovich. Paul W.S. Anderson (who also directed Mortal Kombat) bought this horror inspired game to the big-screen with much success; financially at least. Its characters are thinner than cardboard and the movie is filled with overblown effects. The film of course spawned a half of dozen sequels that subsequently got worse and worse as time went on.
Why is the video game genre treated so badly? Well, a few reason perhaps. First, Hollywood doesn’t understand them. It’s like all those horror movie reboots directed by directors who weren’t fans or weren’t familiar with the original. This leads to them hiring terrible directors to helm these films; or as they’re called in the industry “directors-for-hire”.
Also, video games simply don’t translate well to the big-screen. Think back to the Super Mario games; how the hell do you adapt that?! When we first saw Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo embarrassing themselves playing the iconic plumbers, one can’t help but wonder how that would have ever worked well.
So will we ever see a great video game movie? Not until Hollywood starts to take the genre serious. It’s going to take a visionary director who can do for the genre what Bryan Singer and Christopher Nolan did for the comic-book movie genre. Fifteen years ago comic-book movies were more or less a joke. Until Singer made X-Men and Nolan made his Batman trilogy.
Also, perhaps a more pertinent question would be; do video game fans even want their favorite video games made into movies? Well, that’s just another question for another day. In the meantime I guess we’ll just have to settle with Johnny Cage going one-on-one with Scorpion and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s uninspired portrayal of Colonel William F. Guile. It’s tough for gaming fans nowadays aint it?
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