With the announcement of a Monster Hunter film beginning its production, the game’s fans are a bit nervous in wondering whether or not the film will live up to their expectations, particularly when considering past game-to-film adaptations. Let’s lift up our hopes and ease our nerves a bit by looking at game-to-film adaptations that were actually okay. Yes, a lot of video game movies were god awful, but Wreck-It Ralph isn’t the only good one out there. Some video game movies were actually kinda good and deserve much more recognition.
One might think a game-based film would be easy to produce, but a quick reminder of the critically panned Super Mario Bros. tells another story entirely. It’s a bit depressing, particularly when you think about the number of video game adaptations that exist and how only a handful of them are considered not good enough to be beyond average. If only Hollywood just followed the story.
So here we go with our picks for the top five most passable video-game-to-film adaptations. Yes, they do exist. We promise.
1. Silent Hill
The Blair Witch Project-style of approach certainly helped this Silent Hill film adaptation, even if just in a few places. By focusing on the atmosphere, critics and fans alike were seemingly pleased. All was well… until they heard the film’s cast speak. In all fairness, video game dialogues from the ’90s weren’t exactly Oscar worthy and if you’re willing to forget one-liners like, “I’m the dark part of Alessa,” then you’ve got yourself a decent video game film adaptation.
2. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney
Courtroom adventure game Phoenix Wright isn’t a mainstream title, so perhaps it was cult fame that made this movie enjoyable. Fans reacted with near unanimous praise, while critics thought the jokes fell flat. As a Phoenix Wright fan myself, I thought the film was darn near perfect. I only wish a subtitled DVD was available in the United States. For those who like their crime mysteries with wacky comedy, definitely pick up a Phoenix Wright game before watching.
3. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Although Prince of Persia: Sands of Time did fail to meet box office expectations, it wasn’t universally hated. Filmmakers partnered with Walt Disney Pictures to bring a Pirates of the Caribbean experience and it worked. Audiences felt engaged in the action thanks to plenty of overblown special effects, and some critics even praised the cinematography. The rest who weren’t swayed mostly shrugged their shoulders while thinking it could have been worse.
4. Mortal Kombat
The fondest Mortal Kombat video game memories were always the most ridiculous moments, so even cheesy one-liners from the film’s cast felt like a small nod to the series and its origins. You could look at the silly animatronic Goro and come to a conclusion that this movie was nothing but a cheesy and melodramatic action film…but isn’t that Mortal Kombat? The series that later introduced finishing moves like “friendship” and “babality”? Fans of MK can and should agree on one thing: this adaptation delivered a kick-ass theme song.
5. World of Warcraft
Warcraft is now the highest grossing video-game-to-film adaptation of all time, but does it also hold the title of being the best? Judging from the average of the critics’ reviews, filmmakers failed to make more than a standard fantasy film with impressive special effects, CGI, and a dramatic musical score. The verdict from fans lies somewhere between good and decent. Not spectacular. Not terrible. Just alright. And if we’re looking back at the long history of video game films, we’ll take it.