Games and Hollywood.. aahh. Although their marriage has not resulted in mind blowing Oscar winning material, they never fall short on entertainment. Most of the video game movie adaptions generally have a common theme: The movie is about bad guys assembling the pieces of an ancient stone triangle/relic/artifact/disease in order to control the world’s supply of American cheese. No, that can’t be right: in order to control all the power in the world. Yes, that’s it. In this video-game-to-movie-genre, most of us, including yours truly have been waiting for Halo the movie, by Peter Jackson(LOTR fame) to come out. However, I am sure you might have been disappointed by the recent news that it has been put on the backburner.
While the rest of the world waits for Master Chief to come and rescue us, in this article, we will take a look at the top 10 game-to-movie adaptions so far.
#10. Pokemon – the First Movie – Mewtwo vs Mew
Synopsis: Pokemon first came out as a video game for the Game boys. The games were decent, but nothing special. The world domination of Pokémon begets their first theatrical movie. This adventure is a little more complex and dark than the popular TV series, but kids who live for the show will gobble up this film and ask for seconds. Those baffled by the show’s popularity, however, will see nothing better here. Mewtwo, a new type of Pokémon designed by scientists to be the ultimate fighter, decides he wants to rule the world and challenges all the great Pokémasters to battle. Of course, our intrepid heroes Ash, Misty, and Brock are there to tangle with Mewtwo and spoil his devilish schemes. The film is a tad more emotional than the show (that is, there is some emotion), with Ash sacrificing himself to defend his beloved Pikachu (but don’t you worry, Ash will be just fine).
#9. Super Mario Brothers(1993)
Synopsis: Buckle up and hang on tight — the discovery of a parallel universe launches you into the adventure of a lifetime! Mario and Luigi, two wacky plumbers, undertake a daring quest to save a princess in “Dinohattan” — a hidden world where the inhabitants evolved from dinosaurs!Now i’ll tell you about the characters. #1 Mario, Mario is good and perfect. #2 Luigi, no mustache, but that makes him look better. #3 Daisy, no Peach, but Daisy was always a cooler character in the games then Peach and now she is the damsel in distress. #4 Koopa, okay, they COMPLEATLY MESSED UP KOOPA!! He’s supposed to be a dinosaur, but in this film he is a goofy looking guy with a weird looking head. #5 Toad, Toad from what i remember in this movie he’s not a mushroom, he’s a guy in the city who’s turned into a Goomba but he’s a good guy. #6 Yoshi, Yoshi is plain adorable! He’s not a green dinosaur who leaps around and has a long tounge, he’s a baby dinosaur who i’m guessing is a pet for Koopa. He’s a hero cause he saved Daisy from Koppa’s wife by using the “Yoshi Tounge” move on her. #7 Goomba, Goombas are these big, fat, lizard people that work for Koopa. But one Goomba is nice, Toad. #8 Bob-omb, Yes Bob-omb is in this movie, it is called “The Bomb” and it is just a wind up bomb that walks around and then blows up.
#8. House of the Dead (2003)
Synopsis: House of the dead came out first as a Sega video game. Just watch the game while you play it, trust me it’s better then this cinematic piece of garbage. The movie includes frequent flashes from its video game inspiration, not that we need much reminding of the obvious source. Amongst the rotten dialogue, bad acting, and gratuitous topless scenes, there’s one looooong shootout sequence in the middle of the picture that should be the main attraction for fans of this kind of thing. Otherwise, it’s at the level of every other slasher movie, video game or no video game, in which stupid people do stupid things to keep themselves in harm’s way.
House of the Dead starts off with some young adults trying to go to an island where a wild rave is. What they don’t know is the rave has suddenly been taken over by some relentless zombie. The party goers are warned that they should not go to the island, but they flash $1,000 bucks and the captain is willing to take them. During the party scene you get to see some scantily clad women, and a topless woman that has nothing to do with the plot at all. Just some senseless eye candy for the fellas. When the young group arrive to the Rave they wonder if they missed the party and go in searching to see if they can find anyone.
The action is somewhat okay, but the lines are so corny all I could do is groan. “Who said size does not matter” as the captain hold his weapon of choice. “Mine is bigger”, officer bad actress would retort. I told you corny lines!!! When Howard’s character is trying to give one of the female characters a cross for protection her line is “It’s all right I’m on the pill” pathetic!!!! Mixed in the story line is something weak about a slave ship. There is this guy who wants to live forever. He created some kind of formula for that purpose, but the downside is you will be a stupid, kung-fu fighting, quick moving zombie.
#7. Lara Croft – Tomb Raider(2001)
Synopsis: Like the video game series it’s based on, Tomb Raider is best enjoyed for its physical strategies, since even a casual scruity of the story details will most likely induce a headache. It’s more concerned with puzzles than plot, populated with characters that don’t have personalities at its most agreeable, ambitious in scope and scale, and filled iwth the kind of globetrotting adventure that could make Jolie the best thing since Indiana Jones. Could being the operative word here, because Tomb Raider can’t match any of Steven Spielberg’s celebrated joyrides. Perhaps to distance himself from Lara Croft’s video game origins, director Simon West takes things a bit too seriously bringing in planetary alignment, Illuminati, coveted relics, a championship chess match.. minus the tension. This movie is about bad guys assembling the pieces of an ancient stone triangle in order to control the world’s supply of American cheese. No, that can’t be right: in order to control all the power in the world. Yes, that’s it.However, even with Jolie and her padded bra cannot make this an instant popcorn classic.
#6. Resident Evil (2002)
Synopsis: For the movie, Marilyn Manson worked on its soundtrack, so it’s no surprise that Resident Evil is best enjoyed by headbangers, goth guys and PlayStation junkies. Like the interactive game it’s based on, this horror hybrid pits a small band of SWAT-like commandos (including Milla Jovovich and Girlfight‘s Michelle Rodriguez) against a ravenous hoard of zombies, resulting in a gorefest that only sociopaths could love. The tenacious heroes are trapped inside the Hive–an underground complex where an evil corporation conducts illegal research with a deadly virus–and the zombies (reanimated corpses of sacrificed employees) are fodder for endless rounds of gunfire. It’s utter nonsense (not unlike director Paul W.S. Anderson’s previous Event Horizon), so your best defense is to wallow in it or avoid this trash altogether. A few cool sequences are borrowed from better films (that slice-and-dice laser is cribbed from the 1998 Canadian shocker Cube), but if you’re in the mood for heavy-metal carnage, this movie’s for you.
#5. Street Fighter (1994)
Tagline: The ultimate battle. Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia. Directore: Steven E de Souza
Synopsis: Van Damme’s movie is based on the game “Street Fighter II”. Dictator M. Bison (Julia) holds Allied Nation relief workers for ransom. He plays Bison, a maniacal super-villain with anti-gravity boots and delusions of godhood.Colonel William F. Guile (Van Damme) leads his troops into battle against him.
Okay…quick show of hands! How many Street Fighter video game nuts actually went to see this movie in theaters when it first came out back in ’94? (Yeah, me too…)
I’m sure there are quite a few of you who thought that it was one of the most disappointing experiences of your movie-going career. I’ll go ahead and include myself in that category. I lost count of the number of times I not only groaned, but looked at my watch during this “film”, waiting for the thing to finally end. I’m a BIG fan of the Street Fighter video games (heck, I’ve owned every one at one time or another), but this…man alive, I’ll tell ya. Let me count the ways not only Street Fighter fans, but Van Damme fans, martial arts fans, and fans of action movies in general should stay away from it. Don’t even get me started on the way everyone pronounces “Ryu”. I literally cringed every time I heard it.
#4. Final Fantasy VII – Advent Children(2005)
Synopsis: Final Fantasy builds up on the hit Playstation game Final Fantasy VII. Fans of the Final Fantasy world will find some entertainment in its wealth of fantasy based action and the animation never fails to astonish. The movie is based on a timeline of two years after the epic battle between the forces of good(remember brooding soldier Cloud) and evil(Cloud’s former general Sephiroth), the movie takes takes place in the now devastated city of Midgrad. Final Fantasy VII will definitely be most appreciatedd by the fans of the game series where a mysterious illness is spreading fast, old enemies are astir and Cloud, who walked away fromt he life of a hero to live in solitude, must step forward yet again… For the rest, if they can look past the numbing dialogue , the movie can be a carefree and action packed viewing experience.
#3. Doom (2005)
Tagline: No one gets out alive. Starring: Karl Urban, The Rock. Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Synopsis: Grab your BFG and get ready to kick some Martian-demon butt in Doom, another entry in the increasingly crowded videogame-to-movie genre. The Rock plays Sarge, the commander of a squad of Marines sent to investigate a disturbance at a scientific research facility on Mars. Among the squad is John Grimm (Karl Urban, who played Eomer in The Lord of the Rings), who turns out to have had a previous relationship with Samantha (Rosamund Pike, Die Another Day), the scientist who’s accompanying the Marines in order to retrieve some vital data from the facility. Based on id Software’s legendary first-person shooter, Doom tries its best to look like a game, with dark, angled corridors, ferocious creatures appearing out of nowhere, and a variety of lethal weapons that will, like the aforementioned BFG, warm the cockles of a gamer’s heart. There’s also one memorable sequence that actually turns the movie into a first-person shooter; the good news is that in the context of the whole film, it’s not quite as goofy as it might have been. And that’s not a bad frame of reference for the film in general. Considering the game-to-movie field includes such duds as Wing Commander, if you go into Doom with low expectations, you’ll probably find it a surprisingly respectable horror/sci-fi thriller in the Resident Evil vein (including its somewhat obligatory subplot of corporate wrongdoing). Also in its favor is that it’s unabashedly R-rated, for the extreme gore that is a trademark of the game. After all, the purpose of the movie is to pack scares and thrills into a setting that gamers will quickly recognize. In that sense, it qualifies as a success.
#2. Tekken (1998)
Starring: Kazuhiro Yamaji, Yumi Toma Director: Kunihisa Sugishima
Synopsis: The best part of the video game Tekken has always been an animated prelude that sets the stage before you start drop-kicking your opponent’s head. So it seemed natural to extend it into a movie, brought to life with artful anime illustration and an alt-rock soundtrack. All of your favorite Tekken characters are here as they battle their way through each other to win the Iron Fist tournament, where fighters of unequaled strength from around the world gather to test their strength in the gladitorial arena. Of course, intrigue and danger abound, with professional assassins, champions of justice, and those whose prowess earns them fear and respect facing off. Also, many opponents have deadly hidden agendas. Watching this film is perhaps not as visceral as actually executing a flying face-smash on your own, but an anime thrill nonetheless. Tekken is a character driven anime. You fall in love with all of them (except the Sumo and the dude who sells his soul to the devil). I love Roger the kangaroo. He has a short part, but every second he’s on the screen you’re bound to be twitching with laughter.
#1. Mortal Kombat(1995)
Synopsis: This martial-arts film, based on the best selling video game and set to a techno beat, starts out promisingly: the actors look sinewy and primed for action, and the effects (mostly morphing) are convincing. But soon the movie falls flat under an uninspired good-versus-evil plot and pathetically simpleminded dialogue. To be fair, it tries for a tongue-in-cheek punch here and there, and, thanks to Christopher Lambert (sporting a Catherine Deneuve-like wig in the Obi-Wan Kenobi role), it lands a few. But the bulk of the movie is set in a grotto that owes much to Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion-animation isles without improving on them, and the fighting is endless. It’s all paced swiftly enough-like an old kung-fu movie with a budget-but it could have used some witty dubbing.
Nothing has beat Mortal Kombat as the best film based on a video game because films based on video games are never done right. A lot of them are just films using the game’s title to make money. But for now, Mortal Kombat will still hold on to that title as the best film based on a video game.
Images courtesy: Amazon.com, getout.amarillo.com