It's a mystery which movies will take home the big honors this weekend at the 85th Academy Awards. The winning films might be based on a book or use an original screenplay, but one thing is for sure: No Oscars will be going to movies based on video games.
A surprisingly large number of video games have been adapted into films over the years, which is rather odd when you consider nearly every such film has been even worse than, say... Spider-Man 3.
Here's a list of the five most egregious movies based on video games. Watch at your own risk:
5. Super Mario Bros. Directed by: Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel
The directors of this particular abomination decided that the traditional setting for the Super Mario Bros. games was too colorful; instead, they set it in an alternate universe where humans evolved from reptiles. This alternate world, a dystopian version New York, is supposed to be gritty but comes across as ridiculous. It's fitting, though, because the thought process that led to this film only makes sense in an alternate universe.
Actors Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins all credit this film as the worst mistake of their careers. It bombed at the box office, not even making half of its $48 million budget. That's hardly surprising; any movie that expects viewers to take these guys seriously as villains is doomed to fail.
The Resident Evil series is by far the most lucrative of all video game movie adaptations. The five films have collectively brought in $897 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The problem is that these movies have never been good. Because of their success, they won't go away -- but they've gotten progressively worse over the years, even as their budgets increased.
There's only so many ways Alice can kill the undead. What was badass in the first one or two films becomes expected by the fifth. The Umbrella Corporation has existed through five films and still can't seem to understand that engineering a zombie apocalypse might not be good for business. But audiences still can't manage their massive hard-on for zombies, and a sixth film is planned.
Doom the game remains one of the most influential titles of all time for a multitude of reasons. Plot was not among those reasons, but Universal Pictures obviously thought plot isn't really all that important in film. "A game with a nameless main character is sure to make a great movie," the executives must have thought.
Like the game, the movie features gratuitous violence, dim lighting, jumpy pacing and something that only barely resembles a story. These things can work in video games. They don't work in film. A perfect example of this phenomenon is the first-person shooter sequence in the film. Because what's better than playing a video game? Watching someone play a video game, of course!
This infamous adaptation of the famous arcade game is bad even for a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. Much of the dialogue is unintelligible, but that's almost preferable to the campy one-liners that plague the rest of it. The over-the-top fight scenes, the central element of the film, look like they were choreographed by a 13 year old.
This movie cast a Belgian to play Guile, whose entire character design centered on him being American. Raul Julia's performance as General M. Bison is the only decent performance, but even his casting isn't faithful to the muscle-bound character from the games. The film adapts a mostly-serious fighting game with fantasy elements and turns it into a comical B movie that's about as painful to watch as a roundhouse kick to the face.
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Uwe Boll, who's proclaimed himself the only genius in the movie industry, has made ten movies based on video games. If the directors of the other films on this list can take solace in one thing, it's that at least they didn't make any of them. Boll's films, many of which are direct-to-DVD releases, are all produced on minimal budgets and include such catastrophes as House of the Dead, Bloodrayne, Postal and In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.
Most of Boll's abortions weren't even based on good games--at least the other films on this list borrowed from quality source material. Not that choosing good games to base movies on would help. He tried that with Far Cry and Alone in the Dark, the latter of which includes a scene where you can see a slain character get up to walk off set. At least they didn't have to watch the rest of the movie. Honestly, I don't even know how Uwe Boll can watch his own movies -- they really are that bad.