A closer look at Hollywood's video game adaptations

Posted by David Konow

I really hate to state the obvious, but video game movies are typically less-than-stellar.

If they had a video game movie section at wherever you can rent and buy movies these days, a lot of people would confuse it for the worst movies ever made section. You can also imagine prisoners in Iraq being strapped to a chair and being tortured with these films.

Although video game movies are so dreadful you wouldn’t want to revisit them in a million years, but on some perverse level it’s funny to look back at the history of gaming movies, which have only gotten slightly better over the years. The L.A. Times just did such a list, going through why the game was cool, and why the movie conversely went bad, along with how much money each movie made.

Super Mario Bros, which at least had the great casting of Bob Hoskins, is one of the most notorious examples, and as the Times writes, "Controls and leveling don’t mean much in a movie theater, you’ve got to rely on the story and Super Mario had the thinnest of plots."

Street Fighter came a year later with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and the film’s "serious take was not serious enough for gamers."

I didn’t even know what Double Dragon was, but just looking at the movie’s costumes it looks ridiculous, and the Times called it "jokey, hokey." Wing Commander was also a notorious disaster, and Fox had to advertise heavily that the trailer for Episode One was playing before the feature just to get anyone to go. (Some fans paid to see the trailer, then walked out).

The most successful game movie of all time is still Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which also had inspired casting with Angelina Jolie in the title role. As a series Resident Evil continues to do very well, although artistically they always leave a lot to be desired.

Where movies like Silent Hill also did well at the box office, as the Times noted, "There’s a lot less of an understanding of what is going on in the movie than in the game, and that’s not good."

There’s plenty of other game flicks that have been attempted over the years.

Doom was an interesting failure that had more potential than most, and Halo was the one with the most potential that never got the green light.

Maybe some day someone will learn from where all the previous movies screwed up, and by avoiding all the mistakes of the past end up making a great gaming film.