After Resident Evil: Retribution made me look like a fool in last weeks “Box Office Psychic”, it got me thinking. Why aren’t there any quality video game movie adaptations? I loved the original Resident Evil game on Playstation and thought it would make a great movie. Studios had the source material to draw from and it had a built-in audience. The Resident Evil franchise has been profitable, but by no means are they good movies. That’s one of the reasons I did not pick the film to win the box office because I loathe those films. That’s what I get for picking with my heart and not my mind.
The success of Resident Evil: Retribution got me thinking. Why are there so many horrible movies based on video games. Silent Hill, Max Payne, Doom, Double Dragon, and Mortal Kombat are just some of the offenders on this list. Come to think of it, I can’t find a single video game based movie that I liked at all. Why is this? Producers and directors can take the source material from the games just as they would a comic book to make a great film yet they always lack substance.
So I think this would be a perfect time to break out the Couch Potato created column “The 4”. I’m going to give you a list of four video games that deserve a big screen treatment. Sorry Super Mario Bros. fans, you had your chance. This is for only games that have never been adapted for film.
The Legend of Zelda
How can the game with the golden cartridge sit on the ‘Hollywood shelf’ untouched for so long? The Legend of Zelda was one of the first games for the original Nintendo Entertainment System that required you to think past the A and B buttons on your controller. The Legend of Zelda told the story of Link who sets out on a quest in Hyrule to find the Princess Zelda who has been kidnapped by the evil Ganon. Everyone who played the original remembers the sense of accomplishment you felt when you shot the silver arrow into Ganon’s heart to save the princess. Zelda was full of great puzzles, stories and that unforgettable music. I understand that back in the 80′s the technology didn’t exist to pull off a Zelda movie, but now it does. The Legend of Zelda franchise has sold over 67 million copies but it’s still stuck in Hollywood limbo.
Halo is the reason the Oscar nominated film District 9 was made. Peter Jackson was set to produce with Neil Blomkamp directing a big screen version of Halo. Rumors swirled of the studio having little faith in Blomkamp and financing for the film dried up. So Jackson told Blomkamp they would make his little alien film instead and Halo has been in a production stalemate ever since. Halo would be the easiest to translate to screen. The adventures of Master Chief John-117 blasting his way through the parasitic flood would be perfect for the 3D. Also since you never really see the Master Chief’s face it wouldn’t matter who you cast. That way you can dump more money into the special effects. I have a feeling Halo will find its way out of the Hollywood black hole before any of the other films on the list.
Grand Theft Auto
The Grand Theft Auto series on paper would look like one of the hardest games to translate to screen. I would agree the translation is tough but you have to think big picture and change the story up. I would start the story with the plot from GTA3 and create a new character that helps Claude take out his ex-girlfriend Catalina in Liberty City. That character you would create would move along in the sequels Vice City and San Andreas. You like where I’m going? That way popular characters such as Tommy Vercetti and CJ could get help from the character the studios created to bridge the universe. Think Agent Coulson in The Avengers. Rockstar Games always assembled Hollywood stars to voice the characters in the GTA series. Why couldn’t they assemble GTA voice vets like Samuel L. Jackson, James Woods and Ice-T for a big screen version? Plus just like the games, the soundtrack would be amazing playing the hits from Wave 103, Flash FM in Vice City.
Here’s another game franchise that goes all the way back to the original NES, but the game’s popularity didn’t come until the late nineties. The release of Metal Gear Solid brought in an old character from the original Fox Hound group to the forefront, Solid Snake. Snake comes out of retirement to creep, stab and shoot his way through a rogue terrorist organization. I can’t tell you the hours I lost in college playing the 2 Disc edition of the Metal Gear Solid. The plot for Metal Gear Solid is what I would use as the basis for the launch of the franchise. You could have flashbacks that could show the earlier games action but Solid is where to start. If I had any say on who to cast as Snake, my vote would go to Guy Pearce.
So that’s my list of video games that need a big screen treatment. I’m sure fans of games like Call of Duty or Socom Navy Seals will be screaming, what about all those titles? The problem is those games will just be seen as a goofy war flick. I think it would be hard for people to take the films seriously with such a serious subject like war. Just ask the producers of Battleship. Also I’m a huge fan of late 70′s early 80′s arcade games but none of those titles could be taken seriously. You couldn’t make a movie about the Pac-Man family or Moon Patrol that people would go see. The reason those games were so great is that they were so simple. Simple doesn’t translate into an interesting plot. Fans of those games will have to wait for the video game all-star mash-up Wreck-it Ralph later this fall.