Movies based on video games tend to, for lack of a better word, suck. Super Mario Bros. Max Payne. Even the, ahem, “charms” of Milla Jovovich, have not been sufficient to mask the fact that the Resident Evil franchise lacks the old-school chills that made the video games such memorable classics.
Blame lazy studios (it’s always fun for us fanboys to rely on that complaint); video gamers tend to be a zealous lot, devoting tremendous amounts of their time and income on their hobby. Executives know this, so they understand that they can produce a cheap movie, that, with enough extra tits and gore thrown in, will make a profit.
And all that’s a shame, because, not to call out Roger Ebert, but video games are most certainly art. Their primary purpose may be to entertain kids and bored college students, but a true fan knows that the creative minds behind some of the best video games ever are telling truly cinematic stories. Here’s a list of a few that, with the proper cast and crew, could look great on the big screen.
And no, Halo is not on the list. Everyone already knows that should be a movie.
5.) Metal Gear Solid
This game represented one of the first instances in which major developers recognized that not all video games had to consist of non-stop action. Although it’s fun to run into a room with far more ammo than necessary and destroy the place in seconds, it’s also very challenging to be stealthy, and that challenge can be addictive. Featuring a nuclear paranoia plotline and one of gamers’ most celebrated protagonists, a film of this could draw a crowd.
Ideal cast and crew: David Hayter, who wrote such films as X-Men and Watchmen, also lent his voice to the character of Snake. He’s been trying to make a directorial debut, and this could be the right project for him. And, although he may not look the part, Jason Isaacs needs to play Snake. The character demands an actor who can maintain a tough demeanor without being excessive. Someone who can be patient, playing it subtle.
One of the most exciting first-person shooters ever is also one of the most unconventional, at least in terms of plot and character. The protagonist is Gordon Freeman, a physics geek who is forced into the action hero role when aliens from another dimension trash his research facility like drunken freshmen. On top of this, secondary antagonists arrive in the form of the United States military, which has been recruited to cover-up the event. It’s survival horror mixed with combat sci-fi, with a hefty dose of conspiracy thriller thrown in, where the bad guys are your own government. We just love those stories nowadays.
Ideal cast and crew: Edward Norton has the everyman qualities necessary for Freeman, and James Cameron would take this subject matter and be too distracted by designing crazy alien battle sequences to smear it with his lame dialogue.
3.) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Any video game enthusiast who has ever geeked out with fellow gamers has had this conversation at least one hundred times in his life: “You know, I’m still hoping they make a Zelda movie one day.”
It’s a completely understandable desire. The world of Hyrule is a brilliantly conceived fantasy land, the story is nearly worthy of Tolkien, and the sense of adventure captures the kid in all of us. Isn’t that what a fantasy epic is supposed to be?
Ideal cast and crew: Elijah Wood as the hero Link, Peter Jackson directing. Ok, maybe not. James McAvoy could probably balance Link’s determination and vulnerability, and Guillermo del Toro could instill the film with his signature sense of magic and danger.
We know, that was, at one point, nearly the cast and crew of The Hobbit. It’s hard to think of this story without thinking of Lord of the Rings.
2.) Grand Theft Auto IV
This particular franchise of games is, in part, an exaggerated tribute to the great crime films of the past, so it would only make sense to turn around and make a movie out of the material. The latest outing seems the most appropriate for celluloid. Niko Bellic is the most likeable protagonist in the franchise, heading to America to leave behind a violent past, only to get dragged down into the hell of the underworld. If done wrong, it’s another The Fast and the Furious, sure, but if done right…well, it would be one of a kind, combining surprisingly layered storytelling with over-the-top action.
Ideal cast and crew: Sam Worthington’s Australian heritage may make him seem like an odd choice for the vaguely Eastern European Niko, but he conveys the stoic tough guy qualities that make the character so admirable. Zack Snyder could take the staples of crime genre and amp it all up to 11. William “I am better than you because I wrote The Departed” Monahan MUST script it.
One of the most enduring video game franchises ever also features one of the most badass chicks in all of gaming. Lara Croft may be the more iconic female video game character, but then again, Samus Aran doesn’t need to be scantily clad to draw fans. Although her adventures are a slight rip-off of the Alien movies, the world of this game is immersive enough to stand on its own and become a definitive sci-fi film series.
Sure, video game films have failed in the past, but it took comic-book movies a long time to hit their stride. Maybe we’re in for a similar revolution someday soon.