Movies based on video games are often frowned upon by fans because the adaptation isn’t what they have expected most of the time. Many fans clamor for a proper video game adaptation, but Hollywood often results in less-than-desirable results.
That being said, we have seen some decent video game movies over the past years. Even films that were dismissed by critics as bad turned out to be loved by fans or have achieved cult status over the years since it was released.
This year we will see two big video games from Naughty Dog that are now being adapted into a movie and TV show. Uncharted, starring Tom Holland as Nathan Drake, is opening in cinemas this February, while The Last of Us, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, will debut as a series from HBO later this year.
Read on as we bring you our favorite movies based on video games.
Currently the only video game movie critically acclaimed by both fans and critics, this film perfectly embraces the horror-comedy roots of the hit VR game. The movie follows a group of people living in a small town in Vermont trapped during a snowstorm in a local inn. Panic ensues when a mysterious creature begins terrorizing the community, and all start suspecting that one person among them is a werewolf.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Despite not being loved by critics, this spin-off of the popular video game franchise is still revered as one of the first films to feature photorealistic animation. It was also one of the most expensive video game movies released during its time. The film tells the story of a female scientist preparing herself for Earth’s invasion by alien phantoms.
The original adaptation of the CAPCOM game starring Milla Jovovich is the highest-grossing video game movie franchise. Focusing more on action instead of the franchise’s signature horror elements, it tells the story of Alice, an ex-operative of the Umbrella Corporation who is on a mission to stop them from further destroying the world that is now ravaged by the undead.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Critics dumped on this movie when released, but Angelina Jolie was the perfect person to play Lara Croft. Keeping the same elements of the original Tomb Raider game, this film follows Lara as she collects ancient artefacts while being pursued by the Illuminati. Fans loved Jolie’s performance so much that a sequel was fast-tracked two years later.
The movie follows a plot similar to the video game: a mother comes across a small town looking for her daughter after they are both involved in a car accident. She then finds out that the place keeps a dark secret that she and her daughter are connected to. While it didn’t make much money at the box office, fans praised the faithful recreation of the game’s elements, including the scary creatures lurking within.
While the movie is only loosely based on the original video game, the film brought in new elements to the story that make it more of a Hollywood epic. Dwayne Johnson stars in this action-adventure about a primatologist who teams up with his friend gorilla to try and stop enormous, mutated animals from destroying Chicago.
Mortal Kombat (2021)
Many enjoyed the original 1995 adaptation of the hit video game. But the 2021 version of Mortal Kombat certainly delivered on the action and the fatalities, fulfilling the wishes of fans who wanted to see an actual live-action version. The film introduces a new character, Cole Young, who was summoned to be part of Mortal Kombat to protect Earthrealm from the Outerworld.
Sonic The Hedgehog
Originally mocked due to Sonic’s original design, the movie became a hit after the filmmakers decided to redo the character that resembles more like its videogame counterpart. In the film, Sonic teams up with a local sheriff to help stop Dr Robotnik from using his powers to invade Earth. A sequel is due to be released this April.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu
One of the highest-grossing video game movies, Detective Pikachu is the live-action adaptation of the hit animated series. Ryan Reynolds voices Pikachu, who must help a Pokémon trainer named Tim solve a mystery surrounding his father’s disappearance.
The Angry Birds Movie 2
You may not expect this movie to be part of the list, but this sequel to The Angry Birds Movie (that we think is bad too) is surprisingly a decent watch. It brought back the voice cast from the original, including Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Danny McBride. In the movie, the birds are forced to team up with the pigs as a new weapon threatens both their homes.