Hollywood is constantly making movies that appeal to kids and families that can be easily turned into low quality video games, like Transformers. In the past 17 years, however, a different type of movie has emerged, the video game turned full length film.
The first videogame to be turned into a full length motion picture was the cult classic Super Mario Bros. While the game, released in 1983, had much success and a huge fan following, the movie of the same name that was released ten years later didn’t fare so well. Fans of the game where disappointed to see that the movie failed to follow the plot of the game in the least bit, save the names of the main characters. An animation based on the same game was released seven years earlier but was released only in Japan.
The movie consisted of two plumbing brothers, Mario and Luigi, who are being put out of business by the Scapelli construction company. The brothers end up meeting a woman named Daisy who, later in the movie, is kidnapped. Following the goon kidnappers, the brothers fall into a portal that leads them to a parallel universe, a world where man evolved from dinosaurs not apes. It goes on to reveal that a King Koopa runs the world and is trying to merge the two universes by using Princess Daisy’s necklace which the brothers have in their possession. This film has been highly criticized for its dark overtone.
While the movie may have failed to impress gamers, it seemed to have sparked a movement in films, the video game turned movie genre.
Over the next 17 years over 30 movies would be made spawned from video games, some without success, like “House of the Dead”, and others that would set new limits such as “Laura Croft Tomb Raider”.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, as of 2009, “Laura Croft Tomb Raider” is the largest grossing movie based on a video game, over $131 million. This is a pretty sad showing compared to movies not based on video games. Considering the top 30 highest grossing movies of all time, “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” is in 30th place with $602 million.
Laura Croft was released in June of 2001 to a barrage of negative reviews by critics and fans saying, “Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role of Lara Croft, but even she can’t save the movie from a senseless plot and action sequences with no emotional impact.” While the fans didn’t seem to enjoy it, Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars.
Like Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy is one of the most popular video game series in history and has set new limits in the roll playing game world. While the video games were extremely popular the movie, titled Final Fantasy: the spirits within, had the second largest animated box office bomb to date, only grossing $85 million world wide. Since its release in 2001 the series has spawned a few more straight to DVD movies also met with mixed reviews.
Resident Evil is another video game series turned movie that, again, met with mixed reviews but grossed over $100 million world wide. Resident Evil has since spawned two more films in the series, and one more to be released in September of this year making them the largest grossing film series, made from video games.
Not everyone who attends movies made from video games are fans of the games but people just looking for a weekend flick. Silent Hill is a good example of such a movie that while it met with bad reviews was said to be, “one of the best looking bad movies,” by Don R. Lewis of film threat. Weekend movie goers aren’t always looking for something that makes a lot of since but something that can captivate their attention for an hour and a half.
It seems that some of the harshest critics of the movies are the die hard fans of the games, wanting the movie to shed a little light on some of the questions that don’t get answered in the video games. While the fans of the games might not enjoy the films, one thing that the movies accomplish is acquiring a whole new fan base