Will this curse ever be lifted?
With the upcoming release of Assassins Creed and 2013's Game of The Year, The Last of Us, definitely getting a film adaptation, I thought I'd take a look at all the major film adaptation throughout the years, and decide if video game adaptations are a good thing, both financially and critically.
So let's start of with the worst now shall we!
Super Mario Bros.
My god... must we be reminded of this movie? Yes, we should, as it is a prime example of how NOT to make an adaptation. Mario is the biggest video game franchise of all time with over 445 million copies sold worldwide, yet this movie didn't even surpass it's $40 million budget, and that is one of the reason's why this film has been panned and mocked many years after it's release.
There is so much wrong with this movie that I would be here all night listing every flaw, and you would have gave up reading less than a minute in. So to save us all the time, I'm going to leave this here...
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
One of video game's most iconic characters... ruined in less than 2 hours.
Lara Croft was once considered the benchmark of how to make an adventure game... then along came this movie. Yes, the film was a financial success grossing more than $200 million but that doesn't excuse how much of a mess this film was. Although Angelina Jolie is a dead ringer for Lara, her acting definitely wasn't. Her portrayal garnered her a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Actress, her accent being the major factor in that decision. The film is among an illustrious group of movies to gain a 0.0/10 rating from IGN.
Let's face it, everyone watched this show and played the games when they were younger, hey, I still watch and play it! Nothing made me happier than finding out that Netflix had uploaded the first two seasons for streaming! This is the very reason why Pokemon is a prime example of how you adapt a video game. Not because I love it, but because it entertains the fans! From the first "I choose you" to every "Team Rocket's blasting off again" the show passed fans expectations and even expanded the Pokemon game series by creating the main series game "Pokemon Yellow" that followed the events of the anime and started the trend of releasing a third main series game in every generation. It's anime even spawned a film, revolving around the games main legendary Pokemon (at the time) Mewtwo, and Mew, a Pokemon that was almost unobtainable in-game, and was often debated as just a myth. The ending will always tug at my heart strings even to this day.
Yes, people may debate that it isn't a direct adaptation of the main series games Red, Blue and Green, but sometimes maybe that is why this show was such a success? Replacing Red for Ash, making Pikachu, a worthless Pokemon in the games, Ash's starter Pokemon (Thus making it the series mascot and one of the most popular TV characters in history) and replacing the final battles with the Elite four with a Pokemon Tournament is what possibly made it a success.
The franchise eventually made a 4 part mini-series based on the original Pokemon Red video game, titled Pokemon Origins. Following the events of Red as he completed the Pokedex, collected 8 Gym Badges and battled Green (Blue outside Japan) for the right to become Pokemon Champion. The series was critically acclaimed and was hailed by fans for being true to the series, and even including the newly announced Generation Six Mega Evolutions.The final fight with Mewtwo was hailed as one of the series' best moments, and the ending has left us hoping for a follow up of Gold and Silver.
Pokemon is definitely a prime example of how to adapt a video game series into either film, TV or a miniseries.
Series rating 9/10
Film ratings 7/10 (on average of 16 movies)
Origins Rating 10/10
Overall Rating 9/10
Some adaptations, however, are not true to their source material, Batman: Assault on Arkham is a great example of just that... but does it work?
Batman: Assault on Arkham
The answer, is YES! Batman: Assault on Arkham is quite possibly one of DC's best animated feature films. Even though Batman is on the name of the movie, and his face is plastered all over the promos and posters of the movie, it is mainly a movie focussed on the Suicide Squad. Batman is a large supporting character in this movie, as it follows the events of Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad infiltrating Arkham Asylum to assassinate the Riddler. The film changes many elements of the game, such as Deadshot and Harley Quinn being the main characters and TITAN is not mentioned once in the movie. The film does nod at the game many times with the films eventual Prison Break scene, and a weak Bane being filled up with Venom and eventually knocked into the Gotham River.
Assault on Arkham's major plot changes are the reason this film is such a hit, and is also a great way to further publicise the Suicide Squad for their eventual stand-alone movie.
Movie Rating- 9/10
The Last of Us
Adaptation of- The Last of Us
Game Legacy- Hailed as the greatest game ever made, The Last of Us has one numerous awards ranging from Best game, to acting and writing.
Good or bad idea?- The game has been highlighted for it's story telling and it has one of the most compelling story lines in video game history. The rumoured casting of Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones as Ellie gives me great hopes for this movie, all we need now is Hugh Jackman as Joel!
Tomb Raider Reboot
Adaptation of- Tomb Raider (2013)
Game Legacy- One of the greatest games of 2013, nominated for the VGX game of the year award, reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise.
Good or bad idea?- Tomb Raider made my list for one of the worst adaptations for a video game, but like the game it is based on, this new film will be a reboot of the Tomb Raider series. If the film is anything like the game, we are in for a treat.
Adaptation of- Uncharted: Drakes Fortune
Game Legacy- The series is known as one of the greatest game series of all time with the second instalment garnering most acclaim.
Good or Bad idea?- The film has has been through production hell since 2008, having many writers drop in and out of the project. Although a writer and director have since been announced, we still have no word on who will portray Nathan Drake, the games protagonist. With all the trouble behind the scenes, I worry that the film will not live up to expectation. Here's hoping the film will have a sequel to adapt Amongst Thieves.
After looking at the history of video game adaptations, I can only say that video game should be handled very carefully. But at the end of the day, it's all about who makes it. An American company adapting Mario may very well be the downfall of the film and when you look at Pokemon, which is produced and wrote in Japan, making so much success you can only point at the producers for the failure. You need a true fan of the series to make the adaptation, not just a producer who wants to bank on the hottest ticket in town.