There was an inexplicable surge of video game movies in the 2000s. The quality always came into question because most video game movies were cheap cash grabs, that however isn’t the point of this. This is all about answering the ultimate question of video game movies– the ultimate question, of course, is which one of these adaptations were the best. You may know on Wednesdays I write another article called ‘Zero Lives Left’ where I review a random video game. I won’t say that this makes me the expert on which is the best video game movie, because it doesn’t, but I definitely know that I am able inform opinions on video games AND movies. I’m going to use these opinions and push them together into some sort of opinionated blob. This blob is going to look back on all the video game movies I’ve seen and the blob is going to decide which one is the best.
Because you have nothing better to do on a Monday than read this, right?
First off let’s establish what a good video game movie make. Obviously the movie does the best if it’s able to be a fun, entertaining movie. If it trudges along and makes you want to kill yourself then it’s not a good movie, let alone video game movie. It’s also okay for a video game movie to be hokey. That’s actually preferred. Video games are usually incredibly campy, so it only makes sense for the adaptation to embrace that same camp. If the game they are adapting is silly and fun it wouldn’t exactly be a good interpretation if it got super duper serious. Right? And vice versa, it wouldn’t be a smart idea to make a serious game as some campy tripe. The game sets up the tone and the film should replicate it.
The biggest thing, to me anyways, is that the adaptation actually resembles the video game in terms of style. If you’re flipping through the channels and come across the movie you should immediately recognize it and say ‘hey, this is X’. The movie characters should resemble their counterparts (doesn’t need to be identical, mind you) and the atmosphere of the game should transfer over to the movie. A huge thing for me, as you’ll see soon, is for the movie to not take a giant turd all over the lore of the game. If the movie does that then I’ll probably hate it and not give it any praise no matter how good the rest of the movie is.
I haven’t seen every video game movie, I’ve steered clear of all the Uwe Boll movies. One day I might check them out, as I like to torture myself with B Movies. However, even with not seeing movies like Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead, I know Boll’s movies won’t be in the running. This is due to what I mentioned above, but flipped– even if the movie is adapted wonderfully if it’s shit… it’s shit. Shall we?
I’m going to a general sum up of all the movies I’ve seen and then a select few will get more said about them.
Street Fighter and Super Mario Bros. obviously aren’t the winners here, but those two are just terrible, crappy fun. Mortal Kombat was a movie I grew up with and I thoroughly enjoyed, being a fan of the video games it was nice to see it all come together in a movie; however its sequel was just gosh awful, even when I was a kid I hated it. Resident Evil was great, it didn’t follow its lore as close as it could’ve, but it told a good story. The sequels of Resident Evil got more and more ridiculous and stupid that I couldn’t even fathom taking the time to watch them. Jovovich isn’t really a believable action lead to me and I don’t enjoy her acting, even factoring in that she takes off her clothes in every movie. I don’t even remember Tomb Raider, so I guess that speaks enough about it. Silent Hill was good, it captured the atmosphere quite well but there was just such a big glaring error in it that I can’t see past. The latest video game movie I’ve seen was Prince of Persia and I turned that off halfway through out of boredom.
Back to my beef with the Silent Hill adaptation. Silent Hill is a cherished game series to me, no matter how painful the most recent games have become, and Silent Hill 2 was an awesome gaming experience; so I was pretty hyped to see the movie. I love Sean Bean too, so knowing he was in it was another reason to amp up my hype. I saw the movie and, yes, they nailed the atmosphere of the game and it wasn’t a bad movie persay but I couldn’t look past one addition. Pyramid Head, a now iconic Silet Hill character played the powerful big bad throughout the movie and although he is cool he didn’t belong in the movie. Pyramid Head is Silent Hill’s manifestation of SH2’s protagonist James Sunderland’s violently sexual subconcious. With all that known, why the hell would Pyramid Head exist in the Silent Hill movie when it follows a character that has nothing to do with James Sunderland and his sadistic sexual lifestyle? I can be quite a picky asshole sometimes and I just can’t see past the addition of Pyramid Head. He was added because he’s cool, menacing and has essentially become the Pikachu of Silent Hill. That is legitimately the big reason for why I don’t like the Silent Hill movie, it just pissed me off to no end while watching it and I couldn’t enjoy it at all. Maybe I should give it a second chance, maybe.
Now onto the question this whole article is asking, ‘What’s the Best Video Game Movie?’ The answer to that is Mortal Kombat. The movie isn’t amazing and watching it won’t change anybody’s life, but the movie IS the video game. It’s stupid, it’s fun and it has a bunch of ridiculous characters fighting each other in a tournament setting– whoa, wait a minute… that’s Mortal Kombat!! It’s also entertaining if you just want to turn your mind off for a bit and watch a dumb movie, it doesn’t try to take itself seriously and benefits from that. I mean can you imagine a serious rendition of an A-List celebrity fighting against a four armed monster all while spouting out one liners and quips? The producers and director adapted the game in a way that just worked, they realized the silliness of Mortal Kombat and just ran with it.
The movie was so successful that Kano slowly started to adapt the movie’s character into his video game personality. To me, that’s really neat. And much like movies in general the Mortal Kombat video game series had sequel after sequel that just tarnished and weakened the franchise until they decided to reboot it.
You may not agree with my choice here, but I stand firmly by it. I am going to see the new Silent Hill movie coming out, because I appreciate the series enough to give it another chance. I probably won’t see the new Resident Evil movie because those films are just an exercise in over the top stunts and story tellling. They’re also just fricking dumb.
Drop a line in the comments, what’s your favorite video game movie?
I guess now it only makes sense to do a Zero Lives Left where I review movie tie-ins to video games, huh?