We’re a society that loves movies. We also love video games. It’s no wonder then, that so many of us want to see our favorite titles brought to life on the silver screen.
When you’ve got a hit game on your hands, it’s not as simple as handing it over to the studios and getting them to make a movie out of it.
You need the right talent, the right story and, most of all, the right team behind it.
BEST video game movies
What Are video game movies?
Video game movies are a pretty big deal these days. Many studios spend millions of dollars to make their own video game movie and they even have the potential to be big box office hits.
The problem is that most of them aren’t very good, but there are some exceptions.
Not all video games can be adapted into a movie. A movie must be capable of telling a story, and it must have a lot of action. While some video games can tell a good story, many cannot. They consist of little more than shooting things until you beat them.
However, most gamers love shooting things and seeing things get blown up, so this is not always a problem for them.
So what does make for a good video game movie?
The story has to be interesting enough to carry the action along.
If the story is weak, then the movie will flop no matter how much action is in it and how cool the special effects are.
For example, “Assassin’s Creed” has an interesting premise but it was not carried out well on screen.
Best Video Game Movies
Trying to pick out the best video game movies is never going to be easy because there are so many bad ones out there.
After all, if you choose one at random, there’s a pretty good chance that it will be utter rubbish!
But let’s take a look at some films that have done things a little bit differently and actually managed to live up to their source material!
There are a variety of video game movies out there! Video game movies have gotten better over time, but some still aren’t quite there yet. Here’s our list of the best video game films (so far).
Mortal Kombat is the first movie based on the Mortal Kombat franchise, created by Midway Games.
The film was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and stars Christopher Lambert in his first appearance as a video game character.
The movie begins with Shang Tsung (Lambert), a shapeshifting sorcerer from Earthrealm who manipulates events to bring about Mortal Kombat—a tournament between warriors from all other realms—whose winner will gain control over time itself.
In order to win this tournament, each warrior must fight one-on-one matches against their opponents until there is only one left standing among them all; whoever wins this match receives their prize and becomes ruler of all time itself!
Mortal Kombat was rated R for excessive violence, bloodletting, and gore throughout its duration
- Starring Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, and Colin Salmon
- Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
- Based on the video game series of the same name
- Rated R for violence and bloody images
The Spirits Within was released in 2001 and is based on the Final Fantasy video game series. The film was directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi and Moto Sakakibara, while it was produced by Square Pictures.
The movie tells the story of Aki Ross, who is a scientist working on a project called “Phantom” which involves creating bio-mechanical soldiers to protect Earth from alien invaders. After learning about an impending attack, Aki decides to investigate further with her friend Barret Wallace, who works for Shinra Inc., which created the Phantoms.
Super Mario Bros. (1993) is arguably the most famous video game-turned-movie, at least among those who’ve seen it.
It’s also considered one of the worst films ever made by many critics, and it was nominated for three Razzie Awards in 1994: Worst Supporting Actor (John Leguizamo), Worst Supporting Actress (Daryl Hannah), and Worst Original Song (“Super Mario World”).
Despite its negative reviews and box office flop status, Super Mario Bros. still has its share of fans who love its campy fun—and that’s what makes this such an interesting movie to watch!
Ratchet & Clank is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated science fantasy action comedy film based on the video game series of the same name. It was directed by Kevin Munroe, produced by John Cohen, and executive produced by Michael Hefferon.
The film tells the story of two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy. Along their journey, Ratchet and Clank meets new friends and foes in their quest to stop Chairman Drek before his plan succeeds.
Doom is a 2005 American science fiction action horror film based on the video game of the same name.
It was directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, written by David Callaham, and has been described as being “in the vein” of Aliens and Starship Troopers. Released in 2005, it stars Karl Urban as a space marine who battles genetically engineered monsters on Mars.
The project took advantage of state-of-the-art visual effects for its time, which included CGI and motion capture technologies that DreamWorks had been developing before acquiring the rights to the Doom franchise in 2002.
Doom received negative reviews from critics at the time of release but has since become something of a cult classic with fans praising its combination between live action and CGI.
The film spawned several sequels (including one direct sequel) but none received critical acclaim as much as this one did.
Silent Hill is a 2006 horror film directed by Christophe Gans, based on the Silent Hill video game series of the same name.
The film stars Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva and Sean Bean as Christopher Da Silva (who also happens to be her husband).
Rose goes to Silent Hill with their adopted daughter Sharon to look for Rose’s missing husband; however, things take a turn for the worst when Sharon gets trapped in another dimension called “Silent Hill” that exists only in our minds.
The movie was a box office success in America but not so much elsewhere. It currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 27%. Critics complained about its lack of characterization and weak plot line while fans claimed that it was just too scary for them!
Regardless, many consider this movie one of the worst video game movies ever made because there were so many creative liberties taken with both characters as well as plot lines–and let’s not forget what happened with Pyramid Head…
Lara Croft is a fictional character in the Tomb Raider video game series. She is the main protagonist of the series and was created by Toby Gard and developed by Core Design.
The Lara Croft character has also appeared in comic books, novels, board games, short films, and even an animated TV show. In 2001, Angelina Jolie starred as Lara Croft in her first big-screen adventure film based on the video game franchise: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider!
Like the video game series it’s based on, Warcraft is a fantasy epic with a large focus on orcs and humans. The film stars Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Ben Foster (A Single Man), Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger), Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Ben Schnetzer (The Infiltrator). It was directed by Duncan Jones and released May 24, 2016.
Directed by Justin Kurzel, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Based on the video game series of the same name, this film follows a new assassin who is trying to find answers about his past. The film was released in December 2016 and received mixed reviews from critics.
Based on the video game series Hitman, this action thriller follows Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), a freelance assassin who must take out his targets in ways that make it appear as though they were murdered.
The film was released in 2007 and features a rating of R for violence including intense sequences of brutal violence throughout, sexual content/nudity and language.
Street Fighter (1994)
- Directed by Steven E. de Souza
- Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raúl Juliá, Ming-Na and Kylie Minogue
- Based on the popular video game of the same name
The plot of Street Fighter revolves around Colonel Guile (Van Damme) and his team of soldiers as they attempt to stop Bison (Juliá), the leader of Shadaloo who has kidnapped Chun-Li’s father for unknown reasons.
Best Video Game Movies – Wrapping Up
There are a tonne of video game movies out there! There are a variety of video game movies out there! Some are good, some are bad, and some are better than others.
While this list doesn’t include every video game movie ever made (for example, it doesn’t include the 1995 film Mortal Kombat), it does include 14 top films based on video games that you may enjoy.
Ready to learn about some other Film Movements & Film History?