A reader names three titles that might finally be able to break the curse of bad movies based on good video games.
Bad video game films are a tale as old as time. Countless attempts have been made to make the next big franchise based on a successful video game, yet it’s acceptable to say that none of them have been roaring successes. But why? Turning a good video game into a film seems like it should be straightforward; these properties already have captivating stories, integral lore, and large fanbases. Yet, looking back over recent years the highest praised video game films have been Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019), and Tomb Raider (2018) but even these films have been polarising – one would certainly not call them masterpieces.
Perhaps studios are just not picking the correct video games, or, more likely, they are not adapting them correctly. The Resident Evil film series (2002-2016) and Assassin’s Creed (2016) are perfect examples of film studios taking creative liberties and not grasping what made the original games great. If only they had stuck to what fans love and provided a faithful reimagining, then this article would read differently.
Now there’s the news that the Uncharted film has entered full production, The Last Of Us and Fallout are being adapted into TV series, and, most surprisingly, two new iterations of Resident Evil (a Netflix original series and a rebooted film series) it’s the perfect time to brainstorm other video games that could be great films.
3. Dead Space
This seems like a no-brainer and it’s very surprising that this 2008 horror game has not already been made into a terrifying film. There has been talks for years of this becoming a reality, with even John Carpenter himself expressing his desire to direct, yet nothing has materialised. Dead Space borrows greatly from Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), however there has not been a great space horror film since then. 1997’s Event Horizon and 2017’s Life have tried to reinvent the genre, but both were not critically or financially successful. A Dead Space movie would bring fresh (and amputated) legs into a forgotten genre.
Playing as protagonist Isaac Clarke, an engineer tasked with repairing an unresponsive mining ship, you get trapped, alone, with Necromorphs – easily one of the scariest enemies ever seen in video games. Bringing these creatures to life on screen would be an exciting prospect, and one that should not be hampered by computer-generated imagery. A Dead Space film should take examples from The Thing (1982) and utilise practical effects when possible. Seeing a real-life Necromorph instead of CGI would heighten the terror.
It’s been a while since a horror film was truly terrifying and Dead Space has the potential to be the scariest yet. Dark corridors, enclosed spaces, terrifying creatures, and a space setting that opens up many possibilities (zero gravity, space walks), this film would be a sure hit.
2. Mass Effect
BioWare’s Mass Effect has the biggest potential for a huge multi-movie franchise or long running TV series. Star Wars (1977), Star Trek (1966) and, more recently, Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) have all proven that the space exploration genre will forever be alive, but maybe it’s time for a new property to enter that field.
A main trilogy of films can follow the arc of the original games, focusing on Commander Shepherd recruiting a team to explore a plethora of planets and battle the Reapers and Collectors. However, a Mass Effect film universe can spawn many spin-offs and adjacent TV series. Sticking to the same lore and rules of the universe, subsequent films can bring in new characters, new planets, new threats; the list of possibilities are endless. A Skyllian Blitz movie would be a personal highlight.
Mass Effect can truly have the power to challenge the dominance of Star Wars and Star Trek, a studio just needs to take the plunge.
Everybody wants to see Rapture and Columbia on the big screen. Considered to be one of the best and most original game series ever, 2K’s Bioshock was a revelation when first released. The beauty and awe of seeing Rapture, the city under the sea, for the very first time has rarely been matched; except, of course, travelling to Columbia, the city in the sky, for the first time in 2013’s Bioshock: Infinite. These settings alone are a good enough argument to win over film producers.
The horror and terror of sneaking through the dark corridors of Rapture, evading Splicers and Big Daddies, would make for tense, edge-of-your-seat moments. On the other hand, the excitement and thrill of gliding through the air on the Sky-Line and dropping down on a Handyman would be like nothing else ever seen in Hollywood. Bioshock has the settings, the creatures, the brilliant 1960s music, and atmosphere. Mix that in with the body augmentations and experiments and you have a great sci-fi epic more ambitious than Total Recall (1990). Not only that, but Bioshock also has memorable characters and a dense story.
Booker and Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite are perfect lead characters that any A-list Hollywood actor would love to play. Their chemistry and integrated relationship can be beautifully developed on screen, and the possibility to create a trilogy ending with the brilliant 2013 DLC Burial At Sea can elevate these two characters to one of cinema’s greatest duos. The multiverse theory that underlines the entire Bioshock series has the potential to birth various spin-offs and ideas that trail off the beaten path and locations of the games.
By reader Lewis A Downie
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