Video Game Movies

April 15th, 2010

You would think video game movies would be every nerd’s dream — I love video games, and I love movies. Why shouldn’t the combination of the two be the epitome of awesome? Sadly, there is an unofficial law stating all video game movies must be heaping piles.

House of the Dead (2003)
Directed by: Uwe Boll
Cast: I would tell you, but the only one worth mentioning is Ron Howard’s brother

Despite being considered the second-worst filmmaker of all time, Uwe Boll refuses to give up what he loves, which is making a string of second-worst films of all time. Perhaps his most endearing example is House of the Dead, adapted from the 90’s era Sega rail shooter where you kill zombie-like creatures and defeat the evil madman. I’ve played this game several times at the arcade. It’s pretty fun if you’re into that kind of thing.

In Uwe Boll’s version, a group of college kids decide to go to a rave on an island. A rave on an island. They arrive, find the place deserted, and camp out for the night. As it turns out, all those hip young ravers are now zombies and on the attack. The group flees and fights, getting picked off one by one until they ultimately battle the final boss: a crazy Spaniard who inoculated himself with an immortality serum long ago. Sword fights ensue. Baddie destroyed. Dying girl given immortality serum. It pains me to even write these words, because that means I sat through the movie at some point during my lifetime.

Despite being the brains behind some of the most wince-inducing movies you could ever experience, Uwe Boll is completely in love with his own work. It’s rather disheartening to those of us who are still waiting on a decent gaming movie to come out, considering he owns the rights to so many. He gives the genre a bad artistic rap, but if you ever meet him in person, be sure to compliment his work. He isn’t afraid to box you if you say otherwise.

Super Mario Brothers (1993)
Directed by: four f’n people
Cast: Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Samantha Mathis

It’s the early 90’s. The Mario franchise has been a huge success for over ten years across several platforms, beginning with Donkey Kong (when Mario was a carpenter known as “Jumpman” and DK was his pet ape). All the kids love him, he’s the face of gaming itself. A movie naturally seems like the next step toward utter pop culture domination. You know, for the kids.

The studio execs must have been eating some magic toadstools to give this script the green light. Otherwise, they actually thought it would be a good idea to make Mario and Luigi womanizing Brooklyn plumbers who save the world from a post-apocalyptic alternate reality of humanoid lizard people that descended from dinosaurs after the meteor crashed into earth 65 million years ago. Daisy’s father was the king of this parallel dimension, but was overthrown by Koopa, causing her mother to drop her off in the real world as a baby, where she was raised in an orphanage unaware of her lineage. Koopa has a machine that will devolve any person into their evolutionary origins. Koopa’s is a tyrannosaurus rex. Daisy’s is fungus slime.

SIKE! This movie rules.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Voiced by: Alec Baldwin, Ming-Na, James Woods, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Donald Sutherland

I actually liked this movie when it came out. Good animation for 2001, silly sci-fi storyline. No big complaints really. Except that it has nothing to do with Final Fantasy.

Anyone looking for a good Final Fantasy movie should check out Advent Children instead. It’s a direct sequel to FFVII and it is gorgeous. Get the Blu-Ray, tell them Tori sent you.

Silent Hill (2006)
Directed by: Christophe Gans
Cast: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, no one else you’ve heard of

Sample trailer for Game 2:

Sample trailer for movie:

As a fan of the Silent Hill series, I was cautiously stoked for the movie adaptation. Unlike previous gaming films, Christophe Gans seemed to take the story seriously. The cast was solid, production stills looked promising, makeup and costume design was spot on.

In short, Silent Hill is a mysterious town that was once a trademark of Americana, but has now become an evil place full of monstery things. There is no strict canon as to its origins, because each game features a different version of Silent Hill. Most people accept that it symbolizes hell, death, baddies, global warming, awkward family reunions…well maybe not those last things.

What I liked about this film versus other adaptations is that it tried to be faithful to the spirit of the games, if you will. The aesthetics were spot-on, and the music came straight from the game’s soundtrack. Story is a little draggy but I wasn’t completely infuriated at any particular point. It’s not perfect, but is a decent step in the right direction.

Street Fighter (1994)
Cast: JCVD

No review needed. It speaks for itself.


One Response to “Video Game Movies”

  1. Gail Larkin on April 15, 2010 6:25 pm

    I adore Advent Children. Totally highly suggest it if anyone is looking for an excellent movie-from-game sequel.

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