Video games have been around since the Magnavox Odyssey came out in 1972. Movies have been around since the late 1800’s. Yet it wasn’t until 1986, and the release of a Super Mario Bros. movie in Japan, that these 2 monsters of media would get together and gift us with their bastard children. Some of these bastards have been pretty good (Resident Evil, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) while most of them have ranged from “so bad they’re good” (Super Mario Bros., Doom) to “claw your eyes out” horrible (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, BloodRayne). For better or worse, adapting video games into movies is a very fine art. You have to stay faithful enough to the source material that it’s recognizable while telling a story that will appeal to casual viewers. Though many a director has failed to walk that fine line, I am going to try my hand at it; then afterwards you guys can try you hands. Let’s play armchair director!
If we’re gonna talk about classics, let’s start with one of the legends. Released in 1979, Asteroids is considered one of the pillars of the “Golden Age of Arcade Games“. But wait, how can you make a movie based on a game where a triangle continuously shooting geometric shapes? Good question, but if they can make a movie based on the two plactic robots punching each other (and get Hugh Jackman to star in it), then they can make this work. In the vein of Armageddon, you have a bunch of deadly asteroids hurtling towards Earth and our only hope is a small 2-3 man spaceship/tricked-out fighter jet blasting the ‘roids to bits before they enter our orbit. You can cast Will Smith (he’s kind of in love with sci fi movies right now) as the “never-say-die” pilot, Jack Black as the comedic relief co-pilot, and Robert DeNiro as the “evil” politician/official and boom you got the next summer blockbuster. Or you can cast Caspar Van Dien and make it a SyFy Original.
2. Streets of Rage
This classic “beat em up” game was released for the Sega Genesis in 1991. Known for its great graphics (for the time), multiplayer gameplay, and an outstanding “chiptune” soundtrack Streets of Rage was one of the most popular games in Sega’s history. It features 3 ex-cops bringing street justice to a city in the grips of an evil crime syndicate. With its over-the-top action and martial arts obsession this game was tailor-made for a 80’s or early 90’s adaptation (and would’ve been much better than the horrendous Double Dragon movie). Bring in Idris Elba to play boxer-turned-cop-turned-vigilante Adam(and get on of the Smith kids to play Skates), Sam Worthington to play bad boy martial artist Axel, and Jessica Biel as sexy judo expert Blaze. You could even throw in Dave Bautista as the muscle-bound Max from SoR 2. Have Sylvester Stallone play Mr. X, the leader of the syndicate. Toss in lots of gratuitous violence and explosions and you got yourself one hell of a movie.
3. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Released in 1993 for the SNES and Sega, this cult classic “gun n’ run” game developed by Lucasarts (yea that Lucasarts) is a game about 2 teenagers rescuing their hapless neighbors from a town overrun with monsters. Beloved as much for its tongue-in-cheek humor as its creative gameplay, Zombies has gone on to spawn a sequel, be the most requested game for the Wii’s Virtual Console, and inspire modern games such as Dead Rising and Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia. In the game Zeke and Julie, armed with an wide variety of weapons (everything from squirt guns and silverware to rocket launchers and weed whackers) must go around town (and even other dimensions) to rescue innocent (and apparently fearless) people from a host of fiends based on classic movie monsters. From knife-wielding dolls and chainsaw-armed maniacs to shambling undead and even evil clones of the protagonists, this game was chock full of more references than a Pixar movie and one of the games that 2-player mode was made for. With America’s hard-on for all things zombie right now, this movie would be all-but guaranteed of success. Hell they’ve been trying to get a script off the ground since 2011. The key here would be to maintain the movie’s humor while not downplaying the gore. First off, like all good horror movies, you don’t want to cast any huge names for fear they’ll overshadow the movie (such as Brad Pitt in World War Z), but you still want one or two recognizable stars to drum up interest. Have Frankie Muniz (wherever he is) play the 3D-bespeckled Zeke and Ellen Page play Julie and you’ve got enough name recognition to get by (just don’t forget the cameos). Besides, everyone knows the real stars are the monsters.
Just like the last entry, this movie would benefit from the current vampire craze we’ve been in since the first Twilight film came out 5 years ago (thanks so much Stephenie Meyer). Created in 1986 by Konami Castlevania centers on the adventures of the Belmonts, a clan of famous vampire hunters. With it’s whip-slinging action and plethora of monsters, it could easily be the movie everyone hoped Van Helsing would be (I mean come on it had Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale). We could get Viggo Mortensen to play Simon Belmont (it’s not like he’s doing anything important right now anyways). Throw in Milla Jovovich as the love interest (especially if Paul W. S. Anderson directs) and Tom Hiddelston as the evil Dracula and you have the makings of, at the very least, an entertaining, monster-slaying romp.
5. The Legend of Zelda
Now for the one game that needs the movie treatment the most, the grandfather of the adventure game, the Legend of Zelda. I don’t know if anyone else saw the fake trailer for a LoZ movie that got circulated around Youtube a few years ago (here’s a link if you haven’t), but, before I found out it was a prank, I was getting pretty excited. Ever since the Fellowship of the Ring was released, I’ve thought that the adventures of everyone’s favorite time-traveling youth (and his uber-annoying fairy guide) would make the perfect addition to the medieval/fantasy film fad that we’re just now on the downside of. I don’t care who they get to play the roles of Link, the oft-endangered Princess Zelda, and the evil wizard Ganon, as long as they don’t butcher it. Hell, let Pixar or Dreamworks put out a computer-animated version and I’ll put your name on my checking account. I don’t even care which game they base the movie’s plot on (though I strongly suggest Ocarina of Time) or if they just make an amalgamation of all of them. I just want this movie made. Like now.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list and I will come out with a part 2 in the very near future. If you have any ideas to improve any of these movies, or ideas for video game movies of your own, please post them in the comments section. Thank you for reading.