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Hollywood has been trying for years to crack the code of turning video games into movies. As of yet, it's hard to say that there has been a single film based on a game that was great, but that doesn't mean they've all been terrible. Most of them are. Most of them are laughably bad, but a few have at least some good qualities that make them worth a view, even if they'll never become your favorite movies.
Here are seven movies based on video games that you should check out if you haven't before. Yeah, we can't really claim that they're fantastic, but we've all enjoyed the occasional movie that wasn't perfect. Here are a few that aren't exceptional, but they're fine.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Hollywood is taking another swing at Tomb Raider, with Alicia Vikander playing Lara Croft in a movie based on the video game series' reboot in 2013. Hopefully, the reboot will help the movie in the same way it helped the games. Having said, the original attempt to bring Tomb Raider to the screen with Angelina Jolie wasn't actually terrible. The actress was perfectly cast as the globetrotting adventurer that the character was originally designed to be. Opinions seem split on which of the two Lara Croft movies is the slightly better one. The sequel got barely better critical reviews, but it doesn't include a bungie-based indoor gunfight, so that puts in the original over the top in my opinion..
The first Resident Evil movie was made before the game series it was based on became the action-heavy franchise that more closely resembles the big screen adaptation. Still, while the Resident Evil movie may not be a great adaptation of the game series, it's a perfectly decent action movie in its own right. The first movie's smaller scale keeps it from getting quite as ridiculous as the sequels that would follow. It keeps elements of the source material that make it feel less disconnected from the games while still being willing to do its own thing, which isn't as big a flaw in video game adaptations as it is often treated.
The Angry Birds Movie
Video games have become a more regular source of adaptation primarily in recent years when the games themselves have often had stronger narratives. However, there's something to be said for the freedom you have when your game has essentially no narrative whatever. The Angry Birds Movie is just a fun little comedy that happens to be based on a video game. With a cast that includes names like Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Keegan Michael Key, there are some truly funny talents on display. The film makes sure to include all of the elements of the game that one would expect, but it's not beholden to them. It's not the best animated movie for a slightly more mature audience, but it's not a bad one either.
Silent Hill is not a perfect movie. It's a bit overlong and the plot is mostly nonsense. However, the plot is not why we enjoy horror movies, and it's not why you might enjoy Silent Hill. The movie is visually striking, creating all sorts of fantastic and terrible creatures, many of which are pulled directly from the game series. The plots of the Silent Hill games rarely made sense either (insert "dog ending" joke here) so as far as that goes, the movie is a fairly true adaptation of the games. Also, it has Sean Bean and he (spoiler) doesn't die in the movie, so it's worth checking out if only for that rare cinematic treat.
Similar to Silent Hill, Warcraft's plot is a complete dumpster fire. If you don't have Ph. D in the early game series, most of what happens will mean nothing to you. However, Warcraft should get some credit for being technically impressive. The work done to create the movie's orcs was no small feat, and since they make up half the movie, it was vital that they come across as real, relatable, characters. Some of the best motion capture work to date was done to bring the orcs to life, and it works. In the end, the orc half of the movie is the half that works best. They can't save the movie themselves, but they make it watchable.
Viewed by many as the best video game adaptation ever put on screen, Mortal Kombat wins the prize for being a decent enough movie that also fully embraces everything it can about the games that it is based on. The games are about a fighting tournament, and so that's what the movie is about. When fighting is your whole point, you have to get the action scenes right, and Mortal Kombat does that, making the fights fun to watch while showing off all the over-the-top bits that make each character in the game unique and fun to play. It also has one of the best movie soundtracks ever playing throughout it all.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia notwithstanding, the movie based on the video game reboot was an obvious attempt by Disney to start up another franchise like Pirates of the Caribbean. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time works about as well as the sequels to that movie, which is to say, not great, but it's a fun enough little swashbuckling adventure story that certainly could have been a lot worse. You probably won't remember much about this one shortly after you see it, but it's a solid ride while you're watching it.
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