Video game films have a bad reputation for being…well, bad. While there have been some films to come out recently that have performed better at the box office and with critics, video game franchises have mostly failed to break through to the film world the way comic books have. Often, bad scripts and worse plot adaptations have been to blame. In the video above, GameSpot Universe’s Dave Klein takes us through the some of the worst video game movies of all time and breaks down where things went so wrong.
It all starts, of course, with the very first live action video game adaptation. Super Mario Bros. started the trend of dysfunctional film productions that resulted in not-so-fantastic films. As Dave explores in the video, there were disagreements between directors, producers, and Nintendo from day one. The script was a mishmash of rewrites from various writers and casting issues too. Bob Hoskins, who played Mario, and John Leguizamo, who played Luigi, were so unhappy with how the film was going that they started drinking on set, which (unsurprisingly) produced disastrous results.
But Super Mario Bros. quickly had company in the ‘bad video game adaptation’ department. A series of films in the 90’s, like Wing Commander, Street Fighter, and Double Dragon, failed to do their games justice. Others, like Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Mortal Kombat, did better, but were by no means film triumphs. This continued further into the 2000’s, when director Uwe Boll (then bolstered by favorable German tax laws) became Hollywood’s director-of-choice for video game films. From House of the Dead to Far Cry, none of them turned out well.
The industry itself is changing, and video game studios themselves are getting involved. Nintendo has announced an animated Mario feature is coming, and Paramount is making a Sonic film. With more studios taking responsibility for how their games are featured on the big screen, one can only hope we’re seeing a shift that will result in better video game adaptations to come.