Please, Just Stop Making Videogame Movies!

I love movies. I love videogames. But some things just shouldn’t be combined.

Before I even begin to make the argument that videogame movies just shouldn’t be made, let’s take a stroll on over to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review aggregator. They’ve done most of the heavy lifting already.

Check out the coundown they’ve got for the best videogame adaptations. It’s not their opinion, but the general consensus of the critics on the site, based on the score of the movie. It’s a pretty funny list at first, but it starts to get depressing as you go higher up.

At number three, we’ve got Paul Anderson’s (not Paul Thomas Anderson, mind you) ‘Resident Evil,’ which was a bad movie by all accounts, even though it got away without too much internet abuse. I’m willing to venture that putting Leeloo Dallas Multipass (aka Milla Jovovich) in there made a lot of people – who would otherwise be damning the film – really happy.

Number two on the list, ‘Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,’ is a surprise, and you can bet it’s only on there for the technical achievements. It’s sure not for the unclear story, lack of a real enemy, or the awful script.

Number one on the list and the best reviewed videogame movie of all time is ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.’ It makes new ground for videogame movies by being the first with a score of over 51 percent. Yikes.

Now, I haven’t seen ‘Prince of Persia’ yet, so I can’t really comment on the film. The previews made it look like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ in the desert and without all the charm. And that’s the absolute best movie we’ve got.

I don’t know exactly why game movies don’t work. It could be because games don’t rely on story for entertainment. I’m not saying they don’t have stories, and sometimes even good ones, but the most exciting narrative is the one you create yourself. It’s not what the boss says before the fight that’s exciting; it’s how you go about beating him, and the thrill of conquest.

Multiplayer games like ‘Modern Warfare’ are perfect examples of this. There’s no story at all. Players spend far more time playing competitively than they do in the single player campaign. You can’t make that experience into a movie. It’s an interactive experience, not a passive one.

Sure, there will be exceptions. I’m generally not a fan of coconut. I can’t stand it in candy, and it’s unacceptable in drinks. It overrides every other flavor, and when I should be eating a chocolate bar with some coconut in it, I feel like I’m eating a coconut bar with shredded coconut surrounded by coconut nougat. When it’s freshly shredded on my chicken though, I love it.

When the ‘World of Warcraft’ movie comes out, I have no doubts that it’ll be coconut chicken. That’s because Blizzard is intense about its properties, and knows what could happen if the ‘WoW’ movie ends up being as bad as the ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ movie.

Unless other companies are willing to step up their game and actually work with the movie studios to produce a worthwhile experience for their fans, we’re going to get more flicks like ‘Wing Commander,’ ‘Double Dragon,’ and the Uwe Boll catalog. If that’s the case, which it likely is, then let’s just stop altogether.


  1. steve

    Resident Evil was great. Only the first one though. While Milla was a bonus, all i have to say is “Hallway Scene”.

    No Final Fantasy is not awful. Spirits Within was awful. Advent Children was a nice compliment to the games.

    Whoever wrote that rotten tomatoes article should be castrated.

    I really look forward to the WoW movie, as well. So don’t stop making videogame movies, just stop making bad ones!!

    • Allow me to clarify that I meant to say Final Fantasy: Spirits Within specifically. I’ve never played any of the games or seen Advent Children. (Though I haven’t heard anything good about that one either.)

      • I’ve actually started to take up the theory that Ben Kingsley hates movies and only applies his brilliant acting talent to terrible movies as an attempt to destroy cinema.

          • BostonMA

            yeah i don’t know it’s kind of strange. he’ll put amazing and/or extremely talented performances out in one part of his career and then put out complete paycheck performances for another part. ah well, i still love him.

  2. Max

    Although I ABSOLUTELY love the Mass Effect franchise/universe… I’m just wondering how bad they will destroy all of its charm with the newly announced movie…

    Haven’t the studios checked out the general consensus of game-adaptation movies? They generally all suck!

    I would prefer to NOT have a Gears of War or Mass Effect movie than to have hideous and awful adaptations to be shy to even acknowledge they exist.


    I could not disagree with Dick Wad’s opinion that Ben Kingsley only does terrible movies more. Take for example Shutter Island. Now that was a good film.

  4. Onix

    I have to agree and disagree about video games not being able to transition well to movies. Games like Metal Gear Solid, God of War, or even the Uncharted series are so cinematic on their own, they could easily be considered interactive film. I believe that these movie execs don’t think that the stories in these games are serious or complicated enough to be enthralling at the movies. If one had played through the Resident Evil game series, you’d see how amazingly complex and epic the story is, which puts the movies writers to shame. Hell, the story in the Metal Gear series is so utterly deep and complicated, it literally has an encyclopedia dedicated to the games timeline. I truly hope that one day a director capable of handling Metal Gear will helm the project, because that would be amazing. Until then, we’re just gonna have to suffer through this transitional period. The same thing happened with comic book movies. It took some time before we could say “wow, that was based on a comic book,” and not be ashamed to do so.

    • I’m not a big fan of stealth action, so I won’t jump on the ‘Metal Gear,’ but dude, did you just ccall out the ‘Resident Evil?’ series? Yikes man, that was a poor example of good writing :p

      “I just had an extreme makeover!”

  5. Onix

    I should have been more specific. I meant the first couple of RE games, particularly 1-4, 4 being the highlight. The writing in the games was always meant to be cheesy anyway, but it’s a hell of a lot better then the crap we got in the movies. RE 5 changed a lot of the pacing of the series, so it wasn’t one of my favorites. Still, Wesker mentioning “complete global saturation” is classic. 😀

  6. Some adaptations are based on games that have a great storyline (like Silent Hill), but for some reason, they won’t just leave well enough alone, and in the adaptation process, something becomes lost. I don’t understand why they do this.

  7. Motorheadache

    I would definitely say there has never been a GOOD video game movie. I do like some of them as guilty pleasures (Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter (1994), Resident Evil) but I would hardly argue with anyone that they were “good.”