“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. – Albert Einstein
Mr. Einstein could have very well been talking about Hollywood and all of the video game movies turds it has squeezed out in the past 27 years. Some people incorrectly think the wretched Super Mario Brothers kicked off the video game movie trend in 1993 but actually it started way back in 1984 with the thriller Cloak & Dagger, based off the Atari game, starring a young Henry Thomas (E.T.) and Dabney Coleman.
Regardless of which year we start from, there have been dozens of movies made from video games and, although some have come close (Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider), NONE have actually been good. There have been some financially successful video game films but a large box office draw doesn’t always equal a “good film” (ehem Transformers 2).
Need proof that all video game films to date have been utter rubbish? Take a look at what is in the garbage pile:
Cloak & Dagger, Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Wing Commander, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Resident Evil, House of the Dead, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead II, Doom, BloodRayne, Silent Hill, Dead or Alive, Postal, BloodRayne II: Deliverance, Hitman, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Far Cry, Max Payne, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Alone in the Dark II
And those are just the films that been released so far. The list of upcoming films based on video games doesn’t do anything to increase my faith that Hollywood can make a good adaptation:
Silent Hill 2, Kane & Lynch, Mass Effect, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, BioShock, Castlevania, , Gears of War, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Dead Space, Hitman 2, Dante’s Inferno, Spy Hunter, Asteroids, The Sims, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Spore
There are probably a lot more upcoming video game adaptations that I can’t think of right now, but those are just off the top of Google my head. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time released last week to mixed reviews and later this year our eyeballs will be pummeled by Tekken, King of Fighters, and Resident Evil: Afterlife.
It’s not fair to talk bad about films that haven’t been released yet but judging from their trailers, Tekken and King of Fighters have secured their spot in the garbage pile, while Resident Evil looks like it could actually be fun. Only time will tell if any of these future releases will manage to redeem the video game movie genre. At the time of this writing, Prince of Persia was sitting at a 48% Rotten Tomato score and, even though I consider Prince of Persia to be the best video game movie adaptation to date, that’s pretty much like saying this pile of garbage doesn’t stink as bad as that pile of garbage.
I think I see the why most, if not all, of these films will ultimately fail – because Hollywood is picking the wrong games. Asteroids, Spore, Rollercoaster Tycoon, and The Sims as feature length films – seriously!?! These games have no back story or character development to pull from and were never meant to be made into a 90 minute feature length film. The writers for these films have no choice but to make something dumb up for a plot.
Well if they can do it then so can I! I have compiled a list of 1001 (that’s 9 in binary for our less geeky readers) video games that I think are so ridiculous that Hollywood just has to make them into films.
9. Peggle – Time Traveling Space Opera Comedy (by Amanda Schuckman)
Possible Story – An awkward teenage boy, Philip (Jesse Eisenberg), is recruited by the mysterious unicorn, Alabaster (voiced by Sean Connery), to become a student of the cosmos, sending him to various dimensions to learn an array of super powers so that he can prevent an asteroid from striking the earth. Can he handle all of these tremendous responsibilities, the new affections from the girl of his dreams plus an outbreak of acne?
8. BurgerTime – Comedy/Direct-to-DVD
Possible Story – A local restaurant owner, Peter Pepper (French Stewart), decides to open the world’s first 6 story burger joint inside of an old steel warehouse. It should be a huge successful restaurant except that the Topping Gang, Mr. Egg, Mr. Pickle and Mr. Hotdog, hid the spoils of the latest robbery there and they want it back before Peter stumbles across it. Pepper must enlist the help of his neighbor, rapper Salt Shaker, if he wants to fend off the gang of thieves.
7. Bubble Bobble – Sci-Fi Channel Original
Possible Story – Let’s be honest. The story here is irrelevant because they will all be chased by two big dragons that spit bubbles to kill people. It will have crappy CG graphics and will probably sell a ton of DVDs. This is a Sci-Fi Channel Original film so it’s most likely going to star “big” names like Lou Diamond Phillips, Martin Short and Bruce Boxleitner, plus Audrina Patridge and Heidi Montag from The Hills.
6. Crystal Castles – Fantasy/Social Allegory
Possible Story – This epic 3D motion-capture fantasy story tells of a young intrepid male bear, Bentley (Sam Worthington), who wants nothing more than to spend his time building wondrous and complicated contraptions but when his world is threatened by a human invading force that only wants to mine the rare gems on the planet, gems that just happen to be underneath the kingdom where he lives, he will work together with Princess Leta (Zoe Saldana) to battle Colonel B. R. Thilda (Stephen Lang) to protect his home, his people and his way of life.
5. Dig Dug – Horror/Thriller/Comedy
Possible Story – An ancient evil is living under the ground in the rural town of Linden, Indiana and it’s terrorizing the town folk. Every night, farms in the area are ransacked by large red monsters and green color dragons and every morning the owners wake up to find a large portion of their livestock gone and in its place a giant hole. When people start disappearing, a specialist is called in, D.D. (Nathan Fillion), to eradicate the problem but have the townspeople gotten more than they bargained for by asking for aid from this mysterious stranger with an over-inflated ego?
4. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out – Drama/Biopic
Possible Story – Terry Crews stars in this story of the rise and fall of the once great World Heavyweight Champion. From his early childhood in Brooklyn to the shameful ear biting events of his fight with Evander Holyfield to his conversion to Islam – this movie will cover it all. Iron Mike’s story will also include an up-and-coming young boxer, Little Mac (Channing Tatum), who challenges Tyson for the title of “The Baddest Man on the Planet”.
3. Zork – Sci-Fi/Mystery/Thriller
Possible Story – Four young computer programmers, Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels and Dave Lebling, get sucked into a computer world where they must negotiate their way around a dark and mystery dungeon in order to escape. They see a cave and go in. They pick up a torch. They go west. But will they ever escape the Kingdom of Zork? This might sound like similar to Tron but Zork will be entirely be text based.
2. Wii Fit – Family Adventure
Possible Story – A disabled teenage boy, Steve (Zac Efron), and his portly, but spunky, younger brother, Clyde (Josh Flitter), are estranged from their parents on the East Coast and discover their birth mother is living on the West Coast. They embark on a journey where Clyde competes in bar room contests on the Wii Fit to earn money for their trip. Along the way, Clyde loses weight and grows closer to his brother. Wii Fit will be this generation’s version of the Nintendo Power Glove from the movie The Wizard.
1. The Oregon Trail – Adventure/Drama
Possible Story – J.J. Abrams is directing this as a shaky cam documentary meets Lost. He follows a group of immigrants made up of multiple families as they try and make their way across the Oregon Trail during the 1850s. Along the way, they run into Blackfoot Indians, lose cattle and family members to disease, exhaustion, snakebites and even get run over by wagons. Because Abrams is involved there will also be an unexplained monstrous entity and time travel.
Well those are all my suggestions, so now someone in Hollywood needs to step up and start making some good video game film adaptations. I’ve done most of the hard work for them and given them some jumping off points for some great games. At this point, I’m really hoping J.J. Abrams reads this and decides to do The Oregon Trail. I dare you to honestly tell me a film like that would be a box office smash.
I know some of you will point out that I left off some obvious choices like Pac-man, Mega Man, Tetris and even Minesweeper but all of those have been done in either a short film version or a short parody (click each name to watch the films). I wanted to focus more on games that haven’t been thought of yet for an adaptation.
Frogger, Duck Hunt, Yars Revenge, Contra – what games did I leave off that you would consider to be worthy of a feature length film?
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