You know it's sad when a movie based on one of your favorite childhood games is a dare for a bad movie marathon. The movie I speak of is Super Mario Bros. which possesses a measly 16% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It's quite horrible, even for it coming out in 1993. The only things that were even alright about it were the costume and make up, don't even get me started on the story.
However, Mario was not the only franchise that had a sub-par movie: Tomb Raider (33% on Rotten Tomatoes), Street Fighter (12% on Rotten Tomatoes), Resident Evil (33%), and Silent Hill (29%) are all franchises with very good games and very bad movies. Even recent movies like Hitman: Agent 47 are very bad.
This raises the question: Why are movies based off video games rarely as good as the movies they're based off?
Well part of it has to do with taxes
You see, most of these movies are made by European production companies, especially those in Germany. But during the 90's and early 2000s, when these movies were being made, there was a special tax cut for movies.
If your movie did not earn a lot money or lost money at the box office, you would not be forced to pay as much as other studios who produced stellar movies. So, movie studios would get the rights for well-known movie series, like Tomb Raider, then make a less than stellar movie and not have to pay taxes that year.
One of the people who utilized this tax loophole the most was Uwe Boll. He directed the movie versions of House of the Dead, Bloodrayne, and Far Cry (all of them were bad, so don't bother watching them). He set his entire studio in Germany just because of this tax cut and has been making horrible movies ever since. It makes me sad just thinking about it.
However, there is the problem with the medium
Why do we all flock to video games? I know this is a vague question and all, but why do we? One of the reasons is that we can go at our own pace. We can hurry through quest after quest, night after night, battle after battle; or we can stop and smell the roses, find cheat codes and hidden things.
When you translate a video game into film, it takes away that interactive aspect of finding all of the hidden easter eggs. Everything has been planned out from the get go and even games with amazing stories are left in the dust and considered trash.
Is there hope to be had?
Yeah! There are some video game based movies coming out soon that I think could be great if done right. Angry Birds is getting a movie, Five Nights at Freddy's is getting a movie, Assassin's Creed is getting a movie. All of these are great franchises and if done right, could translate into great movie. Of course, it all depends on which way the movie turns out.