In light of the new and highly anticipated Lara Croft movie hitting cinemas in March I have compiled a list of what I think are the best movies that were based on Video Games. Video Game movies have a very bad reputation due to many failing to produce a movie that everyone can at least agree is good, but I still think there’s hope for the future, maybe this new Tomb Raider is going to break the mould!
10. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Set in 2065 Earth is invaded by mysterious aliens called Phantoms, Dr Aki Ross (Ming-Na Wen) must do all she can to stop them for good, she is helped by her mentor Dr Sid (Donald Sutherland) and the Deep Eyes Military squad led by the brave Captain Gray Edwards (Alec Baldwin).
Directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, who created the video game series, this was the first feature length movie that brought Photorealism to computer-generated human characters by utilizing motion capture for all of its characters’ actions which looked superb. Every little detail was tended to, including Aki’s hairs which were fully animated and rendered separately, all 60,000 of them! It’s luckily the only film on the list that didn’t make its (frankly huge $137 million) budget back at the box office and managed to upset fans of the games as it followed a separate storyline. Despite it’s flop at the box office it has been followed by two sequels 2005 Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005) and Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)
9. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) is an adventurous tomb raider with many skills, after reading a letter from her deceased father she believes it’s up to her to stop the secret Illuminati organisation from retrieving the artifact that will allow them to control the world when the planets align.
Directed by Simon West, the film was badly criticised on release, achieving the joint lowest IMDB rating on this list however I can’t agree. It’s a fun watch, just purely for the action and adventure and of course Lara Croft who’s a total badass. When it was released it was a success at the box office, and it beat the opening record for a film featuring a female protagonist as well as the opening record for a video game adaptation.
8. Portal: No Escape (Short Film)
Though this is a short film I thought it definitely deserves a place on my list. I used to play portal a lot years ago, it’s quite a simple puzzle game in which you wield a portal gun, which creates, you guessed it, portals that act as gates between each other. With this, you must solve puzzles to escape the complex you are trapped in.
Though it doesn’t sound like there’s much to it, it’s one of the most successful puzzle games ever and it’s incredibly addictive, trust me, I know. It’s on my list because it’s a clever take on a puzzle game that’s somewhat more enjoyable to watch than to play. The short, which was posted to Youtube in 2011, has over 21 million views and was directed by Dan Trachtenberg, who went on to direct the 2016 10 Cloverfield Lane and an episode called Playtest from one of my favourite Series Black Mirror. A full feature length Portal film is apparently in the works and Trachtenberg is rumoured to be the writer!
IMDB – 7.2/10
7. Resident Evil (2002)
In a deep underground genetics lab run by the evil Umbrella Corporation, a deadly virus had been released turning the hundreds of staff and lab animals into zombies causing the base’s AI supercomputer to lock everybody in to prevent the virus spreading outside. A commando team has been deployed to find out what happened, shut down the computer and prevent the virus from escaping, little do they know what lies ahead.
Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (who also directed Mortal Kombat), the film is full of references to the games including when what’s left of the team returns to the laser hallway they find the bodies have vanished, as in the game in which the bodies will vanish if you leave and re-enter an area which I thought was cool. Though there are 5 other Resident Evil films to choose from I felt the first one was the best in the series, though it just isn’t as scary or entertaining as the games.
6. Warcraft (2016)
Gul’dan the Orc shaman uses dark magic to open a portal to the realm of Azeroth, helped by Blackhand he unites the clans to create a fearsome Orc army called the Horde. With his army behind him Gul’dan invades Azeroth where King Llane, Anduin Lothar the king’s brother-in-law and brave warrior and the powerful wizard Medivh lead the humans to fight in an epic battle, however the leaders wonder whether war is the only option.
Directed by Duncan Jones, who won the Best independent film award and the Douglas Hickox Award (Directorial Debut) at the BIFAs in 2009 for directing Moon, the film is the highest grossing at $433.7m and has the highest IMDB rating on my list. The film is based on the first warcraft game Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, and not actually world of warcraft, though they are set in the same universe just many years before. The film is visually breathtaking with some sweet action scenes that look amazing, I quite enjoyed the film even though I haven’t played the games, which goes to show it’s watchable for anyone, not just aimed specifically at fans.
5. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Set in Alamut, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), the adopted son of Persia’s king acquires a magical dagger that gives the bearer the ability to turn back time. Dastan escapes the city with a princess after he is blamed for the death of his father, they must protect the precious dagger and find the assassin who killed his father.
With a huge budget of $185m (the highest on the list) the film had amazing sets, brilliant costume designs and eye-popping CGI especially when time is being turned back. It’s a good all round movie and it’s enjoyable to watch with plenty of action, however, it was criticised for several different reasons, including having a caucasian actor playing a Persian prince and the lack of chemistry between the prince and princess. Even so, it was a success at the box office and I still enjoyed it!
4. Silent Hill (2006)
Problems with her daughter’s dangerous sleepwalking, Rose De Silva decides that she must do something to help, taking her daughter to the place she talks about while she sleeps – Silent Hill. Being chased by a police officer on the road to Silent Hill she crashes and upon waking up finds her daughter Sharon has run off. She must wonder around the eerie, desolate streets of Silent Hill to find her, the search leads her to uncover there’s much more to town than meets the eye.
Being a big fan of the horror genre I really enjoy this film, directed by Christophe Gans, it was visually amazing with some awesome scenes and the scariest little girl I’ve ever seen. The setting is perfectly done and I love the way the film incorporates many aspects of the game to keep fans more than satisfied. Though it could be a little shorter, it keeps up the tension and includes some crazy gory scenes (not for the faint hearted).
IMDB – 6.6/10
3. Mortal Kombat (1995)
Three unknowing martial artists are picked by Lord Raiden to represent the Earthrealm in an ancient tournament called Mortal Kombat. Can they defeat the fearsome warriors of Shang Sung from the Outworld to save the world from invasion?
Released in October of 1995 it’s the oldest film to make my list, yet one of my favourites. It’s entertaining throughout with killer kombat scenes and soundtrack, I think Anderson pitched it pretty perfectly, making me laugh while I’m on the edge of my seat at times. Though this film was quite successful in the box office the follow up 1997 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation movie was badly received, making less than half at the box office.
2. Assassin’s Creed (2017)
Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is a descendant of a member of the Assassins a secret society, because of this he is made to travel back in time through a new and incredible piece of technology that can access genetic memories in his DNA. In 15th century Spain he becomes Aguilar de Nerha his ancestor, and acquires the skills and knowledge to stop the evil force who control him in the present day.
Directed by Justin Kurzel the film was slated by the critics but received a mixed review from the public, however, having enjoyed quite a few of the games as it is a brilliant concept I enjoyed certain aspects of the film including the awesome graphic effects, some quality acting and of course the assassin’s swift parkour. The concept spawned 10 full video games having been set in many different areas of history from 18th century pirates to Victorian London and most recently Ptolemaic Egypt (where I am at the moment).
1. Hitman (2007)
A born and bred assassin known only as Agent 47 is hired by a group called ‘the organisation’, completing his orders he is caught up in a political takeover which leads to a manhunt as Interpol and Russian agents are after his head. But this isn’t any Hitman they are trying to kill, it’s Agent 47!
Directed by Xavier Gens, this is the better and more successful of the of Hitman movies. The film is as action packed and as entertaining as the games, which I love for their dark creativity. In one of the film’s scenes Agent 47 jumps through a window into a kid’s room who are sitting playing Hitman: Blood Money on the Playstation 2, nice reference.