Here’s a tough article, what are the best movies related to a video game? It’s a head-scratcher but we’re going to give it a go.
Come on, let’s be honest, when we think of movies based on video games we heave a sigh, roll our eyes and look despondently at our feet. We have all learned, through bitter experience, that this genre of movies has never been a good thing and our experience is a long and enduring one. Since Hollywood first spat out the first example, way back in 1993, with the release of Super Mario Bros which starred Bob Hoskins. Maybe his agent thought this was a good idea after Hoskins’ appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988, who knows?! We have been inundated with 29 movies all in all.
But why do they do it? The cynical reason why Hollywood looks to the gaming world for inspiration. Like an experienced surfer riding the wave all the way into shore. So the movie studios look to ride the success of whatever video game is dominating the market and the zeitgeist at that time. How to ensure that your video game movie captures the best box office? It must capture the attention of the excitement and player support that the game garners.
Now one of these entries was pure animation and may not sit comfortably within your purview of what makes up a movie? But in 2016 we were presented with The Angry Birds Movie which was a decent box office success. Hitting $350M on a $73M budget though critically it failed to inspire. One of the reasons for this (apart from the bad script) was the fact this movie appeared 7 years after the game had come out and become the sensation that it did.
A studio issue?
Unfortunately, most studios forget that they still need to make good movies around a video game. Due to low budgets, poor scripts, and ham acting, we, the poor audience, have to suffer the consequences and sit through most of this drivel. But that’s the thing, even though we know what to expect we still go and watch the next installment to this. So we only have ourselves to blame for keeping this disappointing genre going! And so we have the very latest edition to this shoddy list – Mortal Kombat (2021).
On the face of it, it’s difficult to understand why this movie was made. Coming almost a generation after the 90’s video game and 1995 movie of the same name. But this is based on the recently released game, Mortal Kombat 11 (2019), that was the highest grossing edition in the franchise. Judging by the “edgy” and violent trailer, the reboot is taking the movie franchise into a different direction. And certainly with a bigger budget than the first. Will we watch it? Of course we will. Will it be any good? Probably not. But that’s not the point, as this movie marks #30 pn the list, we will definitely be lining up to watch it just as we did the first way back when.
But there must have been some of these movies that are good, I hear you plead. Certainly there have been a few which have risen themselves (albeit slightly) above the rest of the fare and it is these that we turn our attention to now. Trying to find the right balance between encapsulating the joys of the game to producing a worthwhile movie that can achieve both critical and box office success (or at least just making some damn money, if nothing else!). So here are nine of the “best” movies this genre has to offer…trust me when I say, “that’s not saying much(!)”
9. Silent Hill – 2006
Based on the psychological creep-fest game that appeared in 1999. Silent Hill mirrors the tone of the game pretty well and makes for some uncomfortable moments. While piling on the creature-fest aspect, as well, though with less success. After having dreams about the place, our protagonist, Rose, has driven to the mysterious town with her adopted daughter. But they are involved in a car accident and Rose regains consciousness only to find that her daughter is missing and presumed to be lost in Silent Hill.
So far so good, but as the film producers were feeling pressured to “liven up” the project for a cinema audience. So they went a bit OTT on the creature feature and lost the atmosphere. This played heavily on the critics, who gave it a swerve. While the box office began well ($20M on opening weekend) but stalled with just $100M and when it cost $50M to make, that’s not good.
8. Resident Evil – 2002
The movie that spawned the most successful video game movies franchise ever. Six films and a billion dollars later, we have an enduring storyline that never knows when to stop (2021 will see a reboot to start it all off again!) and has kept husband and wife team, Paul W S Anderson and Milla Jovovich, in full-time employment for a long time already.
Compared with the sequels, this was quite a straightforward affair. It focused more on the initial fun of the 1996 video game with our female star getting to grips with a zombie outbreak. For the uncomplicated storytelling and the similarity to the game’s “shoot-em-up” model, it worked quite well. Though critics were split on this very issue. Box office receipts were moderate to start with as it just crept over $100M on a $33M budget.
7. Tomb Raider – 2001
Another stalwart of the video game universe that got a reboot over 20 years after the original 1996 game came out. This would be based on one of the latter game editions, that was released in 2013, and boasted the fact that they had an Oscar winner in the starring role. Swedish actress, Alicia Vikander, took up the baton left behind by Angelina Jolie.
A fairly straightforward plot of Lara trying to find her missing father on a mysterious island. That would lead to a lot of climbing and jumping about while firing off her big guns – which is all that you could ask for, really. Achieving a moderate critical response, though IMDB reviewers hold it in higher regard. But the nail in the coffin for this reboot franchise was that it gleaned $276M from the worldwide box office. Though this was considered just break even considering it’s whopping $94M budget.
6. Tomb Raider – 2018
The reboot is only beaten by the original. With an all-star cast that consisted of Jolie, pre-James Bond Daniel Craig and Jon Voight to name just a few. An accredited Hollywood director, Simon West, at the helm it was destined for good things – sort of. A spectacular set-piece (which means more jumping and climbing). And a spectacular chest from Ms Jolie would ensure entertainment for all.
But it would not be well received critically. The director would comment, a decade afterwards, that the prospect of a strong female protagonist was ahead of its time. If it had appeared after Hunger Games and Wonder Woman maybe its reception would’ve been different? After costing $115M to make it only managed $275M in worldwide receipts.
5. Doom – 2005
This early workout for The Rock was based on the third installment of the 1993 game that had come out just a year before the film’s release. Boasting acting chops from both Karl Urban and Rosamund Pike, this movie kept things close to the spirit of the classic First Person Shooter (FPS). Though with a touch of Cameron’s Aliens thrown in for good measure.
This close adhering to the game’s style would put off critics (I mean, what were they expecting? Shakespeare??) and the movie died at the box office as it failed to even recoup its $60M budget.
4. Street Fighter – 1994
This would be only the second video game movie to appear. But, though not one of the “greats”, it does have a lot of charm and a memorable performance from Raul Julia (which would be his last role). As well as ham acting from Jean-Claude Van Damme between his bouts of martial arts.
Considering the rather big budget of $35M, the movie boasted pretty poor production quality. Not to mention the poor script (when it wasn’t being tongue-in-cheek). It did manage receipts of $99M though could not manage kind words from the critics.
3. Sonic The Hedgehog – 2020
So, almost 30 years after the game originally came out, we get the delight of a Sonic movie. Though seemingly pointless, it would actually be quite a success. As a good blend of (newly improved) CGI, don’t mention the teeth, fun story and the antics of Jim Carrey (his best for a long time) helped to make this a hit.
Though splitting the critics, its $85M budget was recouped from its $320M receipts.
2. Pokemon Detective Pikachu – 2019
Based off the 2016 video game of the same name, this was a project you might not have much hope for, initially. But the shrewd casting of Ryan Reynolds to voice the lead proved intuitive and ensured the movie would sway the critics. Ensuring a strong $433M return on its $150M investment.
1. Mortal Kombat – 1995
Coming in at #1, Paul Anderson’s first foray into video game movies proved to be a successful one. Keeping close to the source, the fighting was upfront and centre with Christopher Lambert leading the charge. Achieving the strongest reviews within the genre, it would go on to make over 6 times its $18M budget.
Thank you for reading our article on the nine best video game movies. Did we miss any, which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about the top 11 video game heroes HERE.
Animal Crossing 2.0 – Review
On November 5th, Animal Crossing 2.0 alongside the DLC Happy Home Paradise was released. It was the last major free update to hit the latest game in the franchise and added a host of new features to the game. After almost a month of playing it, here’s our review and everything new in Animal Crossing 2.0 from Nintendo.
Animal Crossing has been around for 20 years, with its first release on 14th April 2001. Since then it’s released several versions of the game for the DS, Wii, and so on.
The latest version, New Horizons, came to the Nintendo Switch at just the right time; at the very beginning of Quarantine. It was easily the most popular Nintendo game last year. But it had a fatal flaw; rather than including everything upfront, Nintendo would release periodic updates where they would add to the game. The goal was to keep the game feeling fresh, but the result was that New Horizons felt unfinished. The game was bare-bones compared to past versions of Animal Crossing and didn’t have half as much to do. With the release of the last free update, New Horizons finally feels like a complete game. So what’s new? While there were a lot of things added and small things fixed, we’re just going to focus on the major gameplay changes and additions.
The beloved pigeon, Brewster, has been in Animal Crossing since 2005. He runs a cosy coffee shop, The Roost, usually located in the Museum. But he has been missing from New Horizons. A fan favourite, his absence has definitely been felt. Brewster is one of the most demanded additions to New Horizons. With the update, you can find him gyroid hunting on one of Kapp’n’s Islands and invite him to your island, where he will set up the Roost once more. You will also find some of your residents and NPCs there and can invite current and past Animal Crossing characters to the Roost via Amiibo card.
Speaking of Kapp’n, the turtle is back. In past versions of the game, Kapp’n is usually the one taking you to your new village at the start of every game. Whether it be by taxi, bus, or train, Animal Crossing typically kicks off with the retired seafarer. But New Horizons didn’t feature Kapp’n at all; until now. Now you can have him take you on island tours via his little boat off your dock. Some of these islands are extremely rare and feature exclusive items. He also sings you a little song while you make the journey..
Gyroids have, once again, been a part of every Animal Crossing game until New Horizons. They are little singing things that can be placed like furniture. In New Horizons, you can find a fragment on Kapp’n’s islands, bury it, water it, and a gyroid will grow the next day. Or some may be buried on your island after a rainy day. While past versions of gyroids have been annoying, the New Horizon’s gyroids are adorable and delightful. In New Horizons, Brewster is an avid collector. You’ll even get a Brewster gyroid after drinking enough coffee.
Cooking / Farming
Cooking has also been added to the game, something entirely unique to New Horizons. You can purchase crop starts from Leif, start a farm, and then cook the produce you grow. This opens up a whole host of fun recipes, and you can gift your creations to your residents. Eating a meal will make your villager stronger for longer, the same effect eating fruit previously had.
You can also host a group stretching event in the plaza. Random villagers and NPCs will join you. You can use your controllers to actually stretch with them, or use the joysticks if you’re stuck with a Lite or don’t feel like standing up.
Harv’s Island was previously… pretty useless. There was really nothing to do there aside from taking pictures, which is fun once. Now you can help him build an open-air Farmers Market/Commune. For 100,000 bells each, you can invite NPCs to set up a permanent shop. Among these are Leif, Redd, Kicks, Saharah, Reese, and Cyrus, who have all been seen in New Horizons. But it also introduces the return of Tortimer, the mayor from past games. (Who some fans theorized was dead until now). Harriet, a hairdresser who introduces a ton of new hairstyles to the game. And the fortune-teller Katrina. This expansion to Harv’s island is a huge resource.
You no longer have to wait for these NPCs to come to your island to purchase goods from them. It also opens up more customization for previously uncustomisable items. And it’s another goal to work towards after you pay off your home loans.
You can now issue Ordinances through Isabelle in the town hall. These include things like adding a Bell Boom so that you find more bells and goods are worth more, but things also cost more. Or the Beautiful Island ordinance, which will have your villagers pick up weeds and trash and will cause your flowers to grow faster. You can also issue that your villagers wake up earlier or go to bed later.
Happy Home Paradise
In addition to 2.0, a DLC was added to the Nintendo Store. Happy Home Paradise allows you to “get a job” building vacation homes. You report to your boss Lottie for work, alongside your coworkers Niko and Wardell. From there, you choose a character and build a home for them. They will give you a theme and some items they want to see in their home. You can also design facilities, like a cafe or school and assign characters to work in them. Using an amiibo card, you can also design homes for NPCs like Isabelle or Tom Nook, where you will have free reign over the design.
Happy Home Paradise also introduces partition walls which allow for more design options in your house. It also includes a lot of new furniture. When you’ve designed enough vacation homes, you are able to then redesign the houses on your island.
HHP adds a lot to the game. Animal Crossing’s flaw has always been that it gets too repetitive. HHP adds some flavour and a lot more to do. So even long after you’ve paid off your home loan and made your island pretty, you can still really engage with the game. It adds to and boosts life on the island, but also extends the world a bit. You can interact with more characters beyond just your residents and have more interaction with NPCs beyond purchasing goods from them.
All in all, the 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise have elevated New Horizons. It makes the game feel new and adds what many fans have been asking for. While they are both great, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this all should have been included from the get-go like past versions of the game. After playing a skeleton of a game for a year, we now truly have a new Animal Crossing game.
Do you like Animal Crossing 2.0? Do you agree with our Animal Crossing review? Let us know in the comments below.
We compare Animal Crossing with Stardew Valley HERE.
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