There aren’t many excellent video game adaptions in the movie world for whatever reason. Though there have been a few here and there that haven’t been bad, most tend to be a massive disappointment. It’s a shame since there are so many great video games, many of which would easily translate to cinema.
Whether it’s a matter of relying too much on the popularity of the story, not crafting a big story, or a video game curse, a good video game film isn’t typical. Still, this isn’t to say there aren’t some video game films, especially their scripts, that hold some value. One can make the argument that every film has something to add.
Nevertheless, below will highlight a few good scripts adapted from video games. Keep in mind none of these films are on the level of a classic like Taxi Driver (1976) or Ikiru (1952). These are just a few video game adaptations worth checking out, especially from a script point of view. Let’s take a look!
Still from 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu'. Photo credit: Looper
Logline: Feature adaptation of the video game where werewolves attack a small town.
Werewolves Within is often regarded as the best video adaptation from a script perspective and as an entire film. Though the film isn’t perfect, its combination of horror-comedy makes it a perfect example of genre-blend. It’s fun, quick, and should be a shining example of how to make a solid video game adaptation.
Logline: In a world where people collect Pokémon to battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.
Though there have been many great Pokemon series over the years, no one expected Pokemon Detective Pikachu to be as solid as it is. Led by the highly likable Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu, this was a surprisingly fun film that went above expectations. If you’re a fan of Pokemon, you’ll love Pokemon Detective Pikachu.
Logline: After discovering a tiny, blue, fast hedgehog, a small-town police officer must help him defeat an evil genius who wants to do experiments on him.
As far as controversial video game adaptations go, the initial reaction to Sonic The Hedgehog has to be on the top of the list. Though much of that blame was on the animated design of Sonic, the studio made adjustments and delivered a solid flick. It’s fast-paced and a perfect family movie everyone should check out at some point.
Logline: Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she discovers the island where her father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), disappeared.
Though some people have nostalgia for the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider, most agree that the 2018 Tomb Raider is superior. This isn’t to say there is anything groundbreaking in the film, with a few significant flaws. Still, Tomb Raider managed to reboot the franchise with a more grounded approach and a significant lead in Alicia Vikander.
Logline: A woman, Rose, searches for her adopted daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill.
The dialogue and countless plotholes are significant issues with 2006’s Silent Hill. However, its visuals and aura make it a solid start to a potential franchise in the Silent Hill film world. Though that didn’t pan out for the best, it’s nice to have an okay Silent Hill film to look back on and enjoy.
Why Are So Many Video Game Movies Bad?
Now that we’ve covered the five best scripts adapted from video games, many of you probably wonder why there are so many bad video game movies. Truthfully, there are a lot of reasons tied to this subject. Answers include studio interference, playing it safe, and some stories not being good-enough for adaptation.
Generally speaking, the fundamental issue with video game adaptations is that the content writer regularly changes the story instead of sticking with the video game. This means the writer makes their own story instead of keeping up with the original story. Though that could work out in theory, it doesn’t a lot of the time.
Upcoming Video Game Movies
Though some stigma is tied to video game movies and scripts, this shouldn’t deter you from checking out future video game adaptations. There was once a time when superhero movies were looked down on, now look at what they’ve become. That same mindset can apply to video game adaptations, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying what’s already out there. Nevertheless, here are a few critical upcoming video adaptations:
● Sonic the Hedgehog 2
● Super Mario Bros
● The Division
● Minecraft: The Movie
● Five Nights at Freddy's
● Tomb Raider 2
● Metal Gear Solid