This week, Tomb Raider jumps, scrambles, and a climbs its way into cinemas across the globe. It’s the latest attempt at bringing one of the most successful game franchises of all time to the big screen and, well, the fairly tepid reviews may have put you off. However, it may surprise you to hear that with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 50% fresh, Tomb Raider (2018) is the most critically acclaimed movie adaptation of a video game EVER.
Now, it’s not exactly like Tomb Raider is up against some esteemed competition on this front. Being the best film adaptation of a game is a horrendously low bar to meet but, when considering every other attempt has failed harder, it is some form of achievement.
For whatever reason, directors seem to struggle with bringing games to the silver screen each and every time. Anything that adheres too strictly to the source material is already doomed to fail, for the simple reason that the vast majority of gaming narratives are appalling compared to the greatest movies. There are a few that stand head and shoulders above the rest, but they’re either exploratory games that excel for the very reason that they are a video game, or they’re hundreds of hours long and filled with lengthy tomes of lore, ill-fitting for a two-hour popcorn grazing session.
So what we have on our hands is a lot of crap movies, ranging from Tekken to Pokemon; House of the Dead, Hitman, Postal, Super Mario Bros, and Prince of Persia. According to Rotten Tomatoes there are now a grand total of 45, with Tekken sitting at the bottom of the pile (0% fresh) and Tomb Raider (2018) and Resident Evil: Vendetta sharing the spoils at the top with 50%. Uwe Boll’s name crops up an alarming amount, a man you have to admire for building a career atop a steaming pile of crap. He’s made countless terrible movies, so terrible he’s practically household name, and still, he gets given further chances to redeem himself.
For some sick, twisted reason, I’m not actually contemplating working through all 45 of these movies, in the hopes that perhaps they’re not as bad as they’re made out to be. Some that I’ve seen, I would argue, aren’t. Super Mario Bros is quirky, irreverent take on the brothers plumb that is actually pretty damn entertaining, if only for the clear fact that whoever made it clearly made a point of never once playing a Mario game. It takes the rule book and absolutely tears it up.
So what I would like to know is, of all these video game movie adaptations, which do you think are the best? Are there some which are far better than they’re made out to be? Or do you think they’re all universally terrible?