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6 Reasons Why Video Game Movies Are Almost Always Awful


How come you’ve never left a theater thinking, “I hope they make six more ‘Prince of Persia’ films!” or “I really believed Steve Buscemi WAS Pac-Man!”? Well, here are a few reasons why video game movies will always win big at the Razzies but never be invited to the Oscars…


Video Games Make You the Star. Movie Versions Pay Someone Else to Star

video game movie max payne wahlberg


When you play a video game you feel connected to the main character and his or her story because you ARE the main character. But when that character is played by Mark Wahlberg (or Zack Ward, depending on whether there was an actual budget or a just Craigslist casting ad), you spend the whole time in the theater wanting to push the actor aside and say, “Oh for the love of God just let me handle the drug cartel/zombies/drug cartel zombies!”


Video Game Characters Often Look Like Escaped Asylum Patients in Live Action

video game movie super Mario bros actors


On a computer screen you can stare at a chubby little Italian in a red jump suit running around in an effort to do anything but attend to his actual plumbing business and not think twice. But when you see him portrayed in real life you realize the studio would have been much better off if they had just made a nature documentary based on “Duck Hunt,” so long as the hunter missed every single time and that dog stopped making fun of you.


Most Video Games Either Have No Plot or Too Much Plot

video game movie world of warcraft screenshot


Some video game narratives can be summed up in four words—“Kill or hit replay.” Other games have such rich mythologies, convoluted backstories, and so many characters that they make a Tolkien novel reed like a Tweet. The result is either a movie that might as well have just pointed the cameras at a firing range for 90 minutes or something that would need an additional six straight days of running time to adequately recreate the game’s prologue.


Uwe Boll

video game movie alone in the dark


You may not know director Uwe Boll by name but you may know—or violently flinch on the mere mention of—some his IMDB listings, including “House of the Dead,” “Alone in the Dark (I and II),” “BloodRayne (I, II, and II),” and a slew of other video game-to-film adaptations so poorly shot, acted, edited, lit, scored, and catered that they have earned him the title “Worst Director in History,” thereby both helping to ruin the game movie genre and making one wish Ed Wood was still alive to have directed “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale” (I, II, II, and possibly IV) instead.


Some Movies Share the Video Game’s Title and Not Much More

video game movie final fantasy spirits within


Video game movies are rarely made by gamers for the same reason comic book movies are rarely made by fans—few of them are members of Scientology and so don’t have access to the right industry connections. So that means the game adaptations are often handled by people who don’t play games, ending up in movies so removed from their original source material that you’re left wondering why they didn’t simply rename “Final Fantasy: Spirits Within” as “Dead-Eyed CGI Characters Make Us Feel Cold and Scared.”


Not Everything Should Be a Live-Action Movie

video game movie pong original screenshot


”Battleship” (and the threat of a “Candy Land” trilogy) prove it for toys. “Marmaduke,” “Garfield,” and any possible attempt at “Peanuts” that would involve shaving an eight-year-old bald prove it for comic strips. Some things just aren’t meant to be turned into live-action films, film franchises, or the loose definition of the word “film” whenever it’s preceded by the phrase “A SyFy Channel Original.” So maybe it’s best one stops hoping for the definitive “World of Warcraft” movie (now in preproduction) and just pick up a sword and be the star of your own game until you realize it’s three days later and your boss fired you.

Are you a fan of video game movies? Tell us your favorite one in the comments!


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