Video game films have been the polarizing subject of the ages. Are they good? Are they bad? Do we continue to hold out hope for the resurrection of the genre? It's incredibly hard to say how high our hopes should be. Personally, I've grown tired of waiting for the video game film that will change my mind about the genre as a whole. And yet, in my bitterness I still seek the light.
There are some hopes for the future of the video game film industry. But first, let's masochistically remember where we came from. The start of bad video game films is usually accredited to Super Mario Bros from 1993, which features an adorable baby John Leguizamo. It has a seemingly high 4/10 on IMDB, with a more accurate rating of 15% on Rotten Tomatoes. Feel free to disagree with me if you like. Maybe this is a treasured film from your childhood. I mean, most people hate Wild Wild West, but I adore that movie because my sister and I used to watch it over and over again as kids.
Moving on from there, we have Street Fighter from 1994. I've admittedly never watched this movie, but just look at the promo photo. I mean, seriously. I realize film costuming has come a long way since then, but even in the early 90's they could have come up with better and more realistic costumes than this. I saw someone once mention the fact that cosplayers have seriously created way more realistic versions of the Street Fighters cast than this film did. It's pretty sad really.
There's also the Prince of Persia movie that I really don't need to say anything more about. Except maybe that I'm still salty about it most likely being the reason why the game series faltered and died. I genuinely enjoyed the first Prince of Persia game. But anyway, I digress. The history of video game films is a nasty one. There are some seriously bad movies and then there are some okay versions that we just pretend never happened. Some of the Tomb Raider movies weren't all that bad, which leads me into the first shining light of hope I have for video game films.
The most recent Tomb Raider games have brought the franchise into the modern era. They're gritty, they're realistic, and they're super fun to play. This is a version of Lara Croft is a badass and I'd love to see her get some updated films. There is a film that's slated to release next year based on the Crystal Dynamics version of Lara, and it's being directed by the man who gave us The Wave and Escape. He's got a brilliantly memorable name by the way, Roar Uthaug. I'm putting my hopes and dreams into your work, Roar. Please give us the updated Tomb Raider we long for!
Some other franchises that have teased film adaptations that I'd love to see are Borderlands, Uncharted, and The Last of Us. The latter two have an IMDB pages already, but their statuses are listed as “pre-production” and “unknown." The Last of Us 2 is probably going to be given more attention at E3 in just a few short weeks, which should give the film another little push into pre-production at least. I would love to see Ellie and Joel's tale shown on screen so that I can share the majesty of The Last of Us with my friends and relatives who will never play the game. I think my mom would love the story of Ellie and Joel coming together and adopting each other as family. She doesn't play video games though, so a film adaptation would be her only chance to understand it.
Uncharted has been teased left and right as a film, but there's still the potential that it could be kickass. Indiana Jones is a staple of 90's kids' childhoods, myself included, so Nathan Drake would be an awesome new adventurer genre for this generation. Borderlands is also sort of a no-brainer. The little hints and teases that have been made about the potential film reveal that it would be getting an R-rating. Thanks to Deadpool, it's even more likely this could actually happen. Borderlands is brash, it's crude, and it's hilarious. I would love to see it made into a film, and I think a lot of others would agree.
All in all, video game films have been a collective disappointment over the years. There haven't been a lot of glimmers of hope. That's why when our favorite video games hit the big screen, we either opt to stay home or begrudgingly trek to the theater expected to leave sadder than we went in. There is hope on the horizon, though. Tomb Raider is getting a new film, which might lead to a new series. There's also hopes for films inspired by The Last of Us, Uncharted, and Borderlands. These are some modern takes on the genre that just might take little bitter old me back to the theaters in happiness.
Image Credit: Kskripann23