Thursday, October 9, 2008

Extra Lives: Bottom Five Worst Video Game Adaptations


For whatever reason, many video games have not made the transition to movies very well. In video game’s defense, many movies have not either.


I’m looking at you, E.T.

Anyway, here are the five movies I think of when I think of as particularly egregious examples.

5. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (West, 2001)
Game Premise: Platform Adventure game. Female Indiana Jones with proportions Russ Meyer can only dream of looks for treasure in various ruins, most likely battles crippling back pain.
Movie Premise: Lara Croft, British socialite, goes seeking relics that, somehow, allow her a through time confrontation of her father, played by Jon Voight. Most shocking of all, Voight doesn’t seem the least bit bothered by this.
What Went Wrong: I want you to go to the imdb page and see how many people were involved with writing this movie?

Don’t worry, I’ll be here.

If you don’t didn’t go check, there are 8 writer’s credited on Tomb Raider. And it shows. There are easily six movies in there struggling to get out, and you can almost tell where one stops and the other starts.

Many of the examples here are guilty of having way to much story for their own good.
4. Double Dragon (Yukich, 1994)
No, not this:

But this:

Somehow, unlike many of the other concepts here, in staying true to the original game, this is somehow worse. Having Scott Wolf in it doesn’t help. .

3. BloodRayne (Boll, 2005)

Uwe Boll has a reputation as a hack. And, I mean, to his credit, it’s difficult to make something about a pseudo-bisexual leather-clad vampire-killing-vampire work as a legitimate piece of story. But, really, as easy as it is to screw up such an idea, Uwe Boll manages to screw it up in a way so fantastic it boggles the very mind.

This movie also has Ben Kingsley in it. Ben. Kingsley. Gandhi. One of the best actors of his generation. Thankfully, his presence in the film is minor (in fact, the only villain role given less time in a movie is John Malkovich in the equally godawful Eragon.)

I tried to find a video on youtube, but most of them were Goth-y AMV’s that kind of made me throw up in my mouth a little bit each time I looked. You’ve been warned.

2. Super Mario Bros. (Jankel and Morton, 1993)

This would be #1 if my choice for #1 wasn’t so godawful. The problem here for Super Mario Bros., like Tomb Raider above, is the sense to make sense of out of what is essentially a senseless premise. Instead of going with “there’s this other world full of dragons and walking Goombahs” (whatever Goombahs actually are…are they mushrooms?) there was a lot of attempts to allegorize characters, rationalize saving the Princess, and all other manner of business that the film’s target audience (boys under 10) not only will not appreciate, but will be downright antagonistic towards.

Also, Dennis Hopper, in the midst of his villains phase (including movies like Water World) gives arguably one of the worst performances in his career as King Koopa.

Everything in this movie, besides being too much story, has a feeble attempt to allegorize Mario monsters into people. So instead of “Big Bertha”:


We get Big Bertha:


...Which is in and of itself symbolic about the problems with the movie.

1. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Leonetti, 1997)


Now, I actually quite like the first Mortal Kombat. That is because, primarily, it’s essentially Enter the Dragon with name changes and a sideplot where Johnny Cage beats up a four-armed demon prince to prove himself as a real fighter. I’ll talk more about it when listing my top three video game adaptations.

But MK:A is stilted, it’s bogged down in character mythology and too much of the story from the game which, at that point, had been so saturated with characters (I believe they even managed to work in the Animality combos from the third Mortal Kombat game, as well as characters from that game like Sektor and Cyrax [who as Robot Ninjas are almost awesome].)

They also couldn’t get Christopher Lambert to reprise his role (the best one in the movie) as Raiden. Clearly, there could be only one. (/highlander-joke.)

Tune in next time, same Son of Double Feature Channel, when I talk about the other side of the coin, my three favorite video game adaptations.

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