Video Game Movies: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

I haven’t done this article-type since the Harry Potter one, which was one of my first articles, so this outta be interesting. With the advent of another live-action Street Fighter movie coming (centered around Chun-Li… who is being played by the non-Asian Kristin Kreuk), I felt it might be a good time to talk about Video Game Movies. Video Game Movies have been the bane of movie existence for some time. Some are pretty good, others decent, but most are just God-awful and incredibly horrible in paying the original source material homage. The following five movie series’ (or just movies) will detail what is good, bad, and ugly about each. But you don’t always have to be a fan of the games to be able to say whether or not it was a bad movie (though it does help some). So without further ado, here we go.

NOTE: Uwe Boll movies were automatically disqualified from this list due to none of them having any quality outside of ‘ugly’.

Super Mario Bros. (1993).

Intro: What’s a video game movie list without this one? Seriously. It would just be incomplete. Super Mario Bros., based on the insanely popular video game series of the same name, starred Bob Hoskins as Mario, John Leguizamo as Luigi, Dennis Hopper as Koopa, and Samantha Mathis as Princess Daisy. Though I must admit I haven’t seen this one since I was younger.

The Good: The movie might be bad, but it had some fun moments. Yoshi, after all, looked pretty cool. Also, those jumping boot things that they wore later on into the movie were cool. And Samantha Mathis was pretty hot in this movie, I have to say. Oh, and getting their red and green uniforms toward the end was funny/cool.

The Bad: Probably the acting, but it’s been too long to say. If I had to add something to this category, though, I’d say the ending. It left it at this huge ambiguous cliffhanger that really isn’t explained at all… and there’s probably never going to be a sequel… so that sucks. Most of everything else pretty much falls into the next category, though.

The Ugly: The story is absolutely nothing like the game. It’s like the writers tried to pay homage, but then got scared that the audience might not be able to grasp or comprehend the fantasy aspect of it, so they added a scientific twist to the whole thing. Instead of being just another world, it became a parallel universe where all the dinosaurs went when the meteorite crashed. Then they evolved into humans, as if they were afraid of having walking dinosaurs. And the Goombas were just de-evolved human-forms with huge bodies and tiny heads (when it should have been the OTHER way around). Toad was a hippie with a guitar and harmonica who was turned into a Goomba. Koopa was just an old dude who turned into a Raptor or something for roughly 2.5 seconds at the end instead of being a bulky monster dinosaur thing. It was just completely screwed up.

The Mortal Kombat Movies (1995 and 1997).

Intro: The first movie was actually pretty decent and fun. The second movie was, well, not. The first one revolved around just the basic characters from the first game or so. The second one… well, we’ll get to that.

The Good: The first movie was entertaining, stayed true to characters, and had some cool action. Scorpion and Sub-Zero were awesome. The Liu Kang/Reptile fight is wicked awesome. Goro was cool looking, too. I liked how they even threw in signature moves for each character. And Liu Kang doing the Hadoken or whatever at the end was awesome. The second movie… well, it was cool seeing all those characters on screen. And the Scorpion/Smoke/Sub-Zero fight was neat.

The Bad: First of all, Johnny Cage dies within the first five minutes. How lame is that? Second, the bad guy was lame and wasn’t nearly as creepy as Shang Tsung. Third, the dude who played Rayden changed (with a shorter haircut), only to be explained by him becoming mortal or something. Finally, the woman who played Sonya also changed… pfft. They kill off the character when the actor is the same, but they keep the characters whose actors change.

The Ugly: While seeing all the brand new characters from the later games on screen was cool, there were just far too many trying to be incorporated, and the story suffered for it. Not to mention that there were just some incredibly pointless scenes. It made the movie muddled and nearly pointless.

Silent Hill (2006).

Intro: Again, based on the games of the same name, Silent Hill is a creepy survival-horror game (supposedly one of the scariest). I haven’t played any of the games, but I’ve read that the movie was similar to the first game (I believe), but changed up a bit (such as making the main character a woman instead of a man).

The Good: This movie did have some pretty creepy moments, most specifically the ‘darkness’ scenes with Pyramid Head and all the other monsters (The Janitor was crazy! And I don’t mean the one from Scrubs). The story was done pretty well, too, as everything that comes together at the end was all pretty cool. The acting wasn’t too bad, either.

The Bad: After the first viewing, the movie gets pretty boring, especially the beginning. And the scenes with the husband (Sean Bean) are almost completely irrelevant and pointless. In fact, the movie was written with only a full-female cast, but the studio wanted some men in there, so they added the husband’s side of the story. It’s obvious that it was just tacked on with no real purpose.

The Ugly: The ending basically ruins this movie for me. I try to pretend the movie ends as soon as they drive off away from Silent Hill. But no… they go home in a world covered in the misty stuff never again to come back to the husband/father… and the little girl is still possessed or whatever by her evil half… and the sequel doesn’t seem to be coming until 2010 at the earliest, with possibly none of the cast from the first movie involved.

The Resident Evil Trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007).

Intro: The Resident Evil Trilogy is an odd puppy. The first movie is nothing like the games. The second movie tries to overcompensate. The third movie has to deal with the repercussions of the first two. So let’s get into it, shall we?

The Good: The first movie has the overall feel of the games, and the licker is pretty cool. The second movie has some of the characters from the games, such as Carlos, Jill, and the Ashford family. It also gives us Nemesis and S.T.A.R.S. The third movie removes Jill the Ashford’s and gives us Claire (sans her brother) and Wesker. The action that comes along with Alice is pretty cool, as she really is a badass, and Milla Jovovich is always cool. Oh, and the big fight at the end of the third movie with Tyrant was wicked cool.

The Bad: As stated, the first movie is nothing like the games at all in story. And you don’t even know Alice’s name until the ending credits. The Mansion was barely used, either. The second movie added in more game elements, but turned it from survival-horror to action. The third movie, unfortunately, had to wrap up all the crazy storylines going on, which made it fall symptom to something similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

The Ugly: Alice, a character completely unrelated to the games, was way too powerful of a character. She was literally almost unbeatable. That is… until the third movie, when suddenly she had weaknesses and limits to her abilities. Also, they cut and added characters in and out of these movies like they were nothing. Two characters major to the second movie (Jill and Angie Ashford) supposedly die between the second and third movies. Not to mention that a lot of the character backgrounds for the ones that were taken from the games were a lot different.

The Final Fantasy Movies (2001 and 2005).

Intro: There should technically only be one Final Fantasy movie (Advent Children), because Spirits Within really shouldn’t count. But we’ll get to those shortly. I’m ending with these two movies because they are perfect examples of how both not to make a video game movie and how to do it perfectly.

The Good: Regardless of anything, the graphics for both movies are nothing short of stunning. Forget The Polar Express, these movies were screwed out of recognition for their simply beautiful CGI. Now, as for Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children… that is how you do a Video Game Movie. Sure, they might have been doing it to cash in, but it seemed purely fan service. Every important character was there, it picked up soon after the game ended, and the story (while there isn’t much of one) is pretty cool. The voice acting, believe it or not, is done really nicely, too (with one exception). Oh, and the music is amazingly beautiful. A large portion is remixed from the game, but the game music was beautiful anyway. Finally, the action in is some of the coolest, most badass action I’ve ever seen in an animated movie (and I do watch anime). As for anything good about Spirits Within… well… the story was good, and it had a lot of really good voice actors (Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, James Woods, Keith David, Alec Baldwin, Ming-Na).

The Bad: Well, the only ‘bad’ goes to Advent Children, as most of the rest of Spirits Within would be under the next category. So anyway, Advent Children’s only bad side is that it really is a fan-service movie. If you haven’t played the game, you’ll probably be incredibly lost into most of the stuff happening (as it is a sequel to the game). Well, you might not be incredibly lost, as there is a voice-over narration that explains almost every key point you need to know, but you won’t get the deeper meanings or a full understanding of everything happening. Also, what the hell is up with the American voice for Cait Sith? Why they hell does he sound like a drunken Irishman? Especially since he’s actually a robot controlled by Reeve, who is even voiced via telephone before Cait Sith shows up in the movie, and is not a drunken Irishman…

The Ugly: This is pretty simple. Spirits Within had absolutely nothing, nada, zip to do with Final Fantasy. The first Resident Evil movie had more to do with its source material than Spirits Within, which is sad. There was one connection… a dude named Cid… but it was even SPELLED wrong! In the movie, they spelled it Sid. The movie itself isn’t actually all that awful… but it’s no Final Fantasy. There’s nothing even remotely similar to a Final Fantasy story that would be in a game. They should have gone with the original title idea and named it ‘Gaia’ instead of trying to cash in on the FF brand. That way, it probably wouldn’t have been boycotted like it was, it would have made more money, and Squaresoft wouldn’t have bankrupted like it did and be forced to merge with their rival company to stay afloat to become Square-Enix (it’s ironic that Final Fantasy was the game to keep the company going in the first place, and the FF movie was what basically killed them).

Conclusion: So all in all, I would like to conclude with this: Uwe Boll, stop making movies, you horrible, horrible man. You’re ruining video games and movies simultaneously. That is all. Oh, and people need to make more movies like Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children.

1 comment:

  1. I played through all of Final Fantasy VII, and I was still pretty lost when I watched Advent Children. I think maybe I skipped over too many side quests.

    About a month ago, we did "The Top Ten Movies We're Embarrassed to Say We Love" over at MovieZeal, and #3 was Super Mario Bros., mainly at my behest. It's truly one of those "so bad it's good" films.


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