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Movies Based On Video Games

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A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

Video games are a huge multi-million dollar industry with a fiercely dedicated fanbase. For film companies it seems like a safe bet with an instant audience. So, what goes wrong?

Super Mario Brothers

Despite being one of the most famous and well-loved computer games of all time, the 1993 Super Mario Brothers movie failed to have the same impact. Even British actor Bob Hoskins, who played Mario, declared it as the worst thing he ever did.

The film is fading into obscurity, buried under the still growing Mario franchise consisting of over 200 video games, multiple spin-offs and even themed online slot machines. In fact, the online slots get a better review than the movie.


Warcraft (2016) is based on the games and characters from the hugely popular World of Warcraft (WoW), a MMORPG, or “massively multiplayer online role-playing game”. It is the highest grossing film based on a video game, taking $433.7 million at the global box office. Sounds impressive, but due to the huge production costs the film barely broke even. The general consensus from gaming fans, critics and film fans alike, is that Warcraft was considerably less than “WoW”.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Angelina Jolie was the perfect choice to bring gun-toting, adventurer Lara Croft to life. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and the sequel, Lara Croft: Cradle of Life(2003), aren’t the most cerebral of films, but they manage to be mildly entertaining.

While the game isn’t quite as popular as it once was, it seems Lara has one more life left. The next movie installment is on the way, but this time without Jolie. Stepping into Lara’s boots is Swedish actress, Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl). Set for release sometime in 2018, the film is a remake of the 2001 film. Perhaps, Oscar winner Vikander will be able to inject a level of sophistication to the role and save the day for Lara Croft.

Final Fantasy

Released in 2001, “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” was an ambitious venture into using photorealistic CGI in a feature length film. While the film failed to live up to the hype, the animated features which followed, Final Fantasy: Advent Children (2005) and Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016), breathed life back into the film franchise, at least for video game fans.

Resident Evil

Starring Milla Jovovich as Alice, the Resident Evil film series has been successful enough to spawn six films so far. The first installment released in 2002 was fairly well received and is perhaps one of the more acceptable video game/movie crossovers. However, by Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), it seemed to have lost some of its shine and the film barely manages to scrape two-stars in any review.

Mortal Kombat

You would be forgiven for thinking that all films based on video games are doomed to fail, but Mortal Kombat (1992) managed to hold its own. Well, at least the first film did. Mortal Kombat was the first video game movie undertaking by director, Paul W.S. Anderson, who went on to direct four out of the six Resident Evil films. However, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), directed by John R. Leonetti, was so bad that the planned second sequel was shelved.

Silent Hill

While Silent Hill (2006) has critics divided, as an adaptation it stays true to its original story. As a movie, it was praised for the atmospheric visuals but panned for the incoherent story and inane dialogue. Directed by Christopher Gans and written by Roger Avary, Silent Hill manages to pass as a fairly decent horror movie pleasing both movie audiences and fans of the game. The sequel however, Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), missed the mark on both counts resulting in an audience of angry gamers and confused movie fans.

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