With news that Warcraft is finally, finally, getting the silver screen treatment, we decided to celebrate the other video games that have made the leap from console to movie theater. Unfortunate, it’s slim pickings, but here are some highlights:
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Lara’s been a staple of video games since she debuted in 1996. It only took five years and a couple new releases for Angelina Jolie to don the iconic blue shirt and cargo shorts. The action-packed release didn’t follow a specific video game storyline – neither did its 2003 sequel – but Jolie is world famous for a reason; she brought Lara to life in a way the game never could. It’s fair to say the film was nothing more than a summer action movie, but it’s high production value earns a spot in any movie collection.
Resident Evil (2002)
The first Resident Evil game hit PlayStation in 1996, and while it didn’t make the kind of waves Lara brought, it set the tone for future zombie games. While the game told the story of S.T.A.R.S. Officers Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, the movie introduced renegade Alice and her desire to save everyone she could. Surprisingly, the movie and the first game have a very similar story line: evil corporation, scary mansion, life and death hanging in the balance of every move. Resident Evil was also one of the first games to make players find ammo instead of having a limitless supply. Thankfully, the movie kept that innovation – who could forget the scene where Kepler ran out of bullets and was trapped in the sewers?
Okay, I know the film was terrible. But let’s consider everything. First, Karl Urban. Second, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Third, Rosamund Pike. Fourth, let’s talk about the first person sequence. While it didn’t translate well to film, Doom (1993) was the first First Person Shooter video game. It established a genre – games like Halo and Call of Duty wouldn’t exist without Doom. For that alone, it deserves a spot on this list.
Silent Hill (2006)
Bringing the horror, the Silent Hill movie didn’t follow the first game, originally released in 1999. Instead, it focused on a mother trying to find her daughter in the hideous village of Silent Hill. The games are famous for weaving dreams with reality – a feature the movie failed to deliver. But for all its faults, the movie did give one of the scariest video game villains an unforgettable introduction to the large screen: Pyramid Head. Even with only four minutes (out of 132 minutes), he stole the show.
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
No list would be complete without this gem. While the movie was terrible – the special effects were cringe-worthy even by 1980s standards – at least the plot tried to stay faithful to the games. A plumber in a magical place fights evil. Only, with nearly half of the characters unrecognizable, the film fails to capture any of the Super Mario charm. But Super Mario Bros. has to be included because it was the first video game to reach Hollywood – a true testament to Mario’s pop culture value.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Pokemon (1998, American release 1999)
Movies to Come:
Sly Cooper (2016 – we all hope)
Angry Birds (2016)
Ratchet & Clank (2016)
Assassin’s Creed (2016)
I’ve marked my calendar for these movies, and hopefully they’ll be as much fun to see as they were to play! What movie do you think should have been included on our list? What video game needs a movie?