If you ever see the name “Alan Smithee” in the credits of a movie, it means the real director thought the movie was so bad, they didn’t want their name in it.
Gamers know that a lot of video games are based off of movies, such as Fantastic 4, Chronicles of Riddick, Batman, Superman–the list can go on and on. But what about movies based off of video games? How did they do? Below is a list of games turned into movies over the past ten years, how they did and a prediction of game-to-movie projects in the future.The first of these was Super Mario Brothers. Made back in 1993, it is a weak interpretation of the game in which Dennis Hopper plays King Koopa, an evolved dinosaur. There was not much of a plot line and the movie was an agonizing 140 minutes long. The audiences felt the same way too as the movie bombed in the box office. This however didn’t stop Hollywood from producing many more video game-to-movie adaptations such as: Final Fantasy The Spirits Within, the Mortal Kombat series, the Tomb Raider series and the most recent Doom. In 1995 the Mortal Kombat series was next to hit the big screen. Based much more on the fan based games it still had no real plot and seemed more like an old fashion kung fu movie then a big budget movie.
Next came Tomb Raider in 2001, based on the game back in 1996. This movie was a very good interpretation of the game, which included exploration, treasure, monsters and, most importantly, Lara Croft, played by Agelina Jolie. Jolie looked the part of Lara Croft as well as any human could, hence a huge reason the movie did well is that it had a watchable character and a good story line. Because of these aspects, the Tomb Raider movies set a new trend for future video game-to-movies.
Final Fantasy The Spirits Within, made in 2001, was not really based upon the games but more the philosophies behind the games, namely parallel universes and the existence of spirits. However the reason the movie lost $120 million dollars was not the plot but the GC animation. True, the character mapping and texture shading was revolutionary for its time in the film industry, but because of the use of CG it failed to induce emotion with the characters’ eyes and faces, which in turn equated to bad acting and a flop in the box office.
Resident Evil, in 2002, tried a different approach in its adaptation in which it tried to have many different subplots to capture the viewer’s attention. Did it work? No. The problem here was that Resident Evil turned into more of an action movie then a horror/thriller like the games where. The movie itself was really not that scary, had only zombies, mutant dogs and the Licker (the only real monster in the movie) so it is needless to say how this movie did in the box office.
Then there was Doom. Not the 1st of 1st person shooters, but it was the baddest. The Doom series has been scenario time and time again. You are a space marine on mars with a mission to close Hell’s portal along with a massive arsenal of weapons like the rocket launcher and chainsaw. One would think the producers could generate a decent script from the material in the video games, but I guess the producers must have been out to lunch because there was no reference to Hell in the movie. Instead it was DNA experiments gone wrong on Mars. Instead of killing demons, the marines killed zombies. Civilians by the hundreds were killed, whereas in the video game only monsters were killed. Another flop we will have to wait and see.
In Silent Hill a key scene is when the heroine is told to memorize a map and the directions are simply left, left, right, right in nature to navigation through a maze within the movie. What make the video game so popular was the ability for the player to make his or her own choices within the game, whereas in the movie there is only one choice when diminishes the games flare.
The Tomb Raider movies in this writer’s option were the only movies that really delivered decent acting and plot line and hence did well in the box office. Does this mean that all video game-to-movies are going to be horrible? No. In fact news has it that Peter Jackson is planning on changing that by doing a movie of the Halo series, we will see if he lives up to his promise.