This is purely a matter of taste, but as far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any good (theatrically released) movies based on video games. For one reason or another, every one of them falls apart somehow.
That being said, there are a handful of tolerable video game movies. You could even call some of them entertaining! Not good, but entertaining, at least.
Since I recently wrote about the worst of the worst video game movies, I thought I’d give credit to the ones that don’t make you want to gouge your eyes out. Here are my picks for the “best” video game movies ever made:
I gotta be honest: I've never managed to sit all the way through one of these movies. I've seen bits and pieces of each, and they just don't do it for me. I should note that I don't really like the 'Resident Evil' games, either.
Even so, I recognise that they're goofy, gory and trashy in generally the right ways. If you want to see people kill zombies and other genetic monstrosities in fun ways, there are five (!!) 'Resident Evil' movies with a sixth coming soon.
I also think it's cool that they tell an original story with an original protagonist who isn't in any of the games. It's good to do your own thing.
Since I can't be too nice to any of these movies, I'd like to share the climactic fight scene from the end of 'Resident Evil: Afterlife,' which is embarrassingly cheesy.
'Pokémon: The First Movie' is based on an anime series that was loosely based on a video game, so maybe it only gets on this list on a technicality.
I also haven't seen it in full since I joined droves of other children of the late 1990s in storming the local theatre to see Pokémon on the big screen. At the time, it was rad.
It probably doesn't hold up particularly well, but it's oddly dark, as the climactic end sequence has several fan-favourite Pokémon fighting evil clones of themselves, or something. It all has to do with Mewtwo's plot to destroy humanity, I think.
Oh, right, this is the movie that gave us Mewtwo. Mewtwo's pretty cool.
Gosh, this is a strange one. 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within' was directed by game series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and produced by Square Pictures, an all-new film division of the company that made the games.
Its deep creative connections to the games makes it all the more baffling that it is basically unrecognizable as a 'Final Fantasy' product. Instead of telling a highly dramatic story in any of the games' iconic fantasy worlds, it's a somewhat dull science fiction tale set in post-alien-invasion Earth.
Its characters are all fully computer-animated, but made to look realistic instead of cartoony. It was ambitious, but the technology just wasn't there at the time, so everyone has creepy, dead eyes.
Having said all of that, I don't hate 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.' There are glimpses here and there of the 'Final Fantasy' soul, with some great visuals near the end of the movie.
Sure, it's exceptionally silly and the early-2000s edgy attitude is grating now, but 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' is passable as far as video game movies go. These things don't usually rope in big stars like Angelina Jolie, so it at least has that going for it.
It also had Daniel Craig before you knew or cared about Daniel Craig. Finally, the end of the movie features a really hilarious race to the top of a magical pyramid, which justifies everything else before it.
The 'Silent Hill' series could actually make a quality psychological horror film in the right hands. The 2006 movie adaptation doesn't live up to that potential, but it's not terrible.
It absolutely nails the look of 'Silent Hill,' as exceptionally creepy monsters populate the titular abandoned town. When things get hellish, it looks like you would want it to look.
It's a shame that pretty much anything involving human beings interacting with each other in this movie is bad. Still, there are some things to like about this one.
There was a sequel in 2012, but nobody saw it so I'm not entirely convinced it exists.
'Warcraft' is filled with wooden acting and its plot will make less than zero sense to people who don't love the video games. As a standalone cinematic work, it does little to stand out among other fantasy action movies and pretty much only exists to please fans of the games.
As a fan of the games, I wasn't especially pleased by it, but plenty of others enjoyed it. There are tons of little nods to the games in here, as it admirably stays true to the source material in a number of surprising ways.
If the acting had been better (seriously, everyone does a poor job), I'd like it more. As it stands, it's one of the less offensive video game movies I've seen.
'Ratchet & Clank' is an animated children's movie based on the series of classic PlayStation 2 action-platforming games. It features most of the same voice actors and the same kind of cartoonish humour as the games, so it's pretty accurate as far as video game movies go.
It came out in 2016, but you'd be forgiven for not knowing that, as very few people saw it.
The writing isn't nearly as sharp as it is in the games and it's ultimately little more than an inoffensive children's movie. There are a couple of decent bits for people who like the games, though.
2014's 'Need for Speed' is a 'Fast & Furious' movie without any of that franchise's fun characters or comic book-esque world-building.
Put simply, 'Need for Speed' has a bunch of genuinely great car chases sandwiched between scenes where characters who aren't interesting talk about things that aren't worth caring about. The final race, in particular, actually does a decent job of depicting the cops vs. racers dynamic of the more recent games in the series.
It's fine. If you need something fun to watch on a Saturday afternoon, you could do worse.
'Mortal Kombat' is pretty much exactly what it needed to be.
The games are campy and don't take themselves seriously at all. Neither does the movie. Cheesy outfits, goofy martial arts, and some violence here and there make it basically what you would have wanted out of a 'Mortal Kombat' movie in 1995.
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