It’s been a little-known fact among video-game fans that most storylines translated for the big screen have amounted to nothing more than a wad of suck. Is it the fault of the directors for doing a bad adaptation, or are video-game storylines automatically destined for failure when mixed up in Hollywood?
Rock Bottom Titles
Before we can analyze why video game movies are so terrible, we need a few examples to base our theories on. The following films have hit rock bottom as far as cinematic quality is concerned:
1)Super Mario Bros. – I know this movie has a bit of a cult following, but as an avid Mario fan, I couldn’t stomach this one. First of all, Luigi is not Italian, has no mustache, and somehow winds up as the main character. I was also disappointed to find that there were no goombas, mushrooms, or supurb jumping abilities. Instead, we are force fed 90 minutes of people with dinosaur heads, rocket boots, and some kingdom that looks no more appealing than the place where my toilet flushes end up.
2)Mortal Kombat Annihilation – The first MK movie was surprisingly quite good, but this one was nothing more than a cheap cash in with every possible character reference thrown at you that a single movie can. It shared none of the same actors as the original, the script was horrendous, and the special effects are less impressive than what you would find on Youtube.
3)Tomb Raider – I’m going to refer to both of them at once, because they were both boring as hell. I didn’t even enjoy the games they were based on. The only thing these films have going for them is the fact that Angelina Jolie has the starring role. Just knowing the director, Uwe Boll, has any part in this dooms it to failure. Just check out his other craptacular video game movies: House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, and Bloodrayne.
The Best of the Best
Believe it or not, there were a few titles that were fortunate enough to escape this Hollywood curse. Here are some recommendations on which ones to check out:
1)Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children – A movie sequel to the popular Final Fantasy VII Playstation game. If this doesn’t make you wish for a FFVII remake, I don’t know what will. The entire movie is done completely in CG and it looks absolutely amazing. It may not have the greatest plot of all time, but the onscreen action more than makes up for it.
2) Mortal Kombat – The original MK movie borrowed its plot and characters from the first game and even had some of the creators behind the game help with its production. This is something that paid off well in the end and other game to movie translations should make note of. The fact that it had a great soundtrack and some nice one-liners helped too…
3)Street Fighter II – This was an animated feature as opposed to the failed live action Street Fighter that preceded it. I was never a huge fan of the Street Fighter franchise, but I have played some of them, and this was a faithful recreation of the storyline from those games. Any SFII or fighting game fan in general should check it out.
The Theory Behind the Madness
After examining all of the video game based movies that have been produced thus far, I have concluded that there are three major reasons for the lack of quality that can be found in the majority of them. Here they are in no particular order:
Bad choice in games – Seriously, who thought that the plot for Double Dragon was in-depth enough to base a full length movie on? And what was the rationale behind thinking Alone in the Dark would’ve been a mainstream enough title that it would have appealed to mass audiences? RPG’s and adventure games pivot heavily on their storylines, so why not use one of those? I could see Legend of Zelda, Metroid, or even Metal Gear Solid translating well to the big screen.
Movies deviate too much from the storyline of the game – Doom was a decent movie, but where the hell did this zombie infection come from? The whole point of the video game was to blast away demons from hell, and no amount of charisma The Rock has can match the coolness of that concept. And don’t get me started on Super Mario Bros…
Forced references that seem pointless – Mortal Kombat Annihilation had much of this. Characters that appeared for no reason other than because they were in the video game. They don’t do much, they don’t further the plot, they are just there. Street Fighter II, Resident Evil, and even FFVII: Advent Children had a few characters like this.
I think if Hollywood can watch out for the snags listed above, the quality in video game movies will be much better. If you’re interested in exploring more about video game movies, check out some of these titles:
Resident Evil– Fans of the game should like this one.
Existenz – A thinking man’s Matrix.
Doom– Has one of the coolest scenes of all time towards the end of the movie… you’ll know when you see it.
Silent Hill– Never seen it myself, but I’ve heard good things.
The Wizard– Old school Fred Savage at its cheesy best. Accused of being a marketing tool for Nintendo and it shows.