I went Halloween costume shopping the other day and I was amazed at just how many costumes there are out there are of videogame characters!
Sure I knew heading to the store that I would see umpteenth costumes of cartoon/anime characters such as Yu-gi-oh, SpongeBob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, but I was surprised to see Mortal Kombat, Link from Legend of Zelda, and Nintendo’s Mario, (sorry Luigi unfortunately I didn’t see any of you- maybe next year okay buddy?)
Well anyway, all this got me thinking about how videogames are making their way into our everyday lives. From merchandising items such as toys, snacks, and under-roos (oh you laugh, but I bet you all have yours on right now!) to movies.
I think eventually every single video game will be turned into a movie, and I mean every video game.
So far, video game movies have fallen somewhere between campy, and B-movie status. That ain’t good.
We all love movies almost as much as we love video games right? But why must filmmakers butcher the heck out of them when they bring the game to the big screen. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen that happen way too often.
With very few exceptions, videogames have simply, politely speaking “not translated well” into good movies, or even semi-good for that matter.
Put down that controller and pick up your DVD remote and let’s take a quick walk down video-game-turned-into-movie-memory-lane, shall we?
SideNote: I apologize in advance for bringing up any painful memories, but hey, I’m making a point here!
Super Mario Brothers (1993) - It’s the very first film ever based on a video game and its bad- real bad. Bob Hoskins as Mario, Dennis Hopper as King Koopa and even John Leguizamo as Luigi did what they could, but they were not enough to save this stinker. Everything about this thing just looked and felt forced and fake.
So what went wrong? Good question. Years later, people are still looking for an answer. Fans resented the movie for having very little to do with the video game series and changing many facts about the game world.
Let’s face it even though Super Mario Brothers is a great video game and a lot of fun, it’s still at the end of the day a story about two plumbers who bounce on turtles and mushroom thingy’s while trying to rescue a princess. Yup, it turned out as good as it sounds. Budget $42,000,000 -Gross Revenue $20,915,465 (oh no, mama mia!)
Street Fighter: The Movie (1995- this one is bad for a whole bunch of reasons. Let’s see there’s the script, the story, the acting, yada yada yada. It didn’t even live up to its name by giving its fans any real street fights! It does however take one of the most popular video game ever and deliver its fans a nice roundhouse kick to the head.
SideNote: A new Street Fighter film is in development as we speak and is scheduled for 2008. According to the screenwriter, Justin Marks, the plot will revolve around Chun Li.
Budget $35,000,000-Gross Revenue $100,000,000
Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) Oh settle down now, all you guys in the corner drooling over Lara Croft, this movie is as bad as the rest of them. Yes, it is!
I know Angelina Jolie is pretty, and she may be the object of lust for many, but her performance as Lara Croft was just bad, it was so bad I started to weep. I really coulda used all the Kleenex her bra was stuffed with let me tell you. Yes it was!
Budget $115,000,000 Gross Revenue $274,703,340
Pokemon- its Pokemon. It’s a movie about… Pokemon. Just…think about that for a minute. You are only allowed to think this is a good movie if you are under the age of 12. But the film was a box office hit in fact it is the highest grossing anime film in the US.
Budget $30,000,000 Gross Revenue $163,644,662 worldwide-. (Stammering)Yeah well… that doesn’t make it …good… y’know!
SideNote: I realize we all think of Pokemon as more of a TV show and not a videogame per se, but so what!
House of the Dead (2003) based on the successful arcade game of the same name. Sure, you know the game, the one you walk past in the movie theater lobby, bowling alley, bingo hall, the one in which players’ blast away at attacking zombies who explode in chunky bits? Yeah- that one!
But in case you were still clueless, director Uwe Boll kept cutting away to pixilated shots from the game as if he were subliminally trying to remind the audience why they showed up in the first place.
It’s really bad, and not the good kind of bad.
Budget $9,000,000 Gross Revenue $10,249,719 (wow to be fair $1,249,719 is technically still “profit”)
Mortal Kombat (1995)-Umm, just another martial arts movie with a weird storyline. Another movie that completely destroys any fond memories I might ever have had of the video game because of its sheer “suckiness”. Budget $30,000,000 Gross Revenue $122,000,000
Resident Evil (2002) there’s nothing worse than a bad video game, except a bad video game that’s made into a bad movie that’s based on a bad video game (oh wait, I just said that! Well it bears repeating okay? Sticks out tongue) It’s a horror movie with no horror, it’s just a 120 minute shoot-em-up shooter that’s chock full of blood and bullets.
Budget $32,000,000 Gross Revenue $39,532,308
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I think the problem is that videogame movies are made by filmmakers not gamemakers. Having said that, “Listen Hollywood executives, I know it’s tempting to turn games into movies but it just doesn’t work. In fact I can’t think of any that have worked. So just don’t do it! "
Unfortunately, all this simply doesn’t matter. It's not about the quality of the movie; it's about the how much money it brings in that’s the bottom-line. They know that when they base a movie on a popular video game they have a built-in audience.
Bottom line, games are fun to play, but boring to watch.
Ladies and gentlemen I hope you enjoyed the show, please exit to your right the balcony is now closed, game over
-Jean-Claude Van Damme turned down the role of Johnny Cage in the Mortal Kombat movie in order to do Street Fighter.
-Lara Croft Tomb Raider is biggest grossing action film with a woman as the lead role. Second is Aliens.
-In Tomb Raider Lara Croft's father, Richard Croft, is played by Angelina Jolie's real-life father, Jon Voight.
-Danny DeVito was originally cast as Mario in Super Mario Brothers. But he backed out, no reason given.
-In House of the Dead during the rave scene, the Sega logo is shown in the background. Coincidence? Nah, Sega is the company that produced the game the movie is based on.
- Ed Boon, co-creator of the original video game Mortal Kombat, starred as the voice of Scorpion.
-In Resident Evil Milla Jovovich did all of her own stunts. All the minor cuts and bruises on Milla are real. No make-up was used.
-The makeup on the Resident Evil dogs had to re applied numerous times because they were constantly licking the blood and meat off themselves.