It's a well known fact that video game movies are usually always awful or mediocre at best. As time has gone on, reactions from fans when a movie based on their favorite video games have gone from pure excitement to pure disappointment. It's a shame because the potential really is there. People who are not gamers could experience what gamers have already experienced, but instead, this time, through cinema.
So I am here to ask you two questions: Can/Will video game movies ever be good and Should video game movies even exist? Those really are the age old question in the video game industry. We know that video game movies in the past have been awful, but does that necessarily mean that future video game movies are going to be just as bad?
One of the most prevalent problems that video game movies have is the lack of care the directors, writers, and producers have for the source material. Most of the time, the directors or writers, have little care for the game and are only working on the film for sake of a pay check. Now, I'm usually against fanboys taking over something like a game franchise, but for a video game movie it works because they actually want to represent the source material fairly. This is why fan made movies on YouTube usually are the best adaptations out there right now.
My solution to this is for the developers to make an entirely CG movie. That way the original game directors, writers, and voice actors can produce an actual representation of the game counterpart. A good example would be Resident Evil: Degeneration and Damnation. Lower budget, but infinitely better than the extremely lackluster Paul W.S. Anderson films. Now imagine this for every video game and even your favorite game. That way you never have to lose familiar voice actors to over used Hollywood actors and you can still have the same writers and directors from those games.Fun fact: George A. Romero was actually originally going to make the Resident Evil movie. he even sat down with one of his assistants who played through the first game while he took notes.Unfortunately, there is going to be an Uncharted movie. The filmmakers want Mark Wahlberg to play Nathan Drake, but if you've played the games then you know that this a horrible choice. Nothing against Mark Wahlberg. He just doesn't fit the role. Now imagine an Uncharted CG movie made by Naughty Dog with Nolan North reprising his role as Nathan Drake. That would definitely work. It would also attract more fans to the franchise if released in theaters. A live action film would not do the games justice.
Unlike games based on movies, movies based on games have the potential to be good and all around well made. Should video game movies exist? Yes. It is a form of media for video games to expand, but it needs to be done properly. I guarantee you that the past attempts to make a video game movies has been nothing more than a cash grab in the same way that movie licensed games are a cash grab. Given to filmmakers that genuinely want to do the source material justice and a video game movie can really work. As bad as video game movies have been in the past, that doesn't mean they are going to be bad forever. Look at the Need for Speed movie starring Aaron Paul. It actually wasn't that bad. Granted, it was it's own original story while just using the game's name, but it was still fairly decent.
So yes, I do believe that video games movies should still happen because one of these days a director and writer that actual care about the game will do it justice. I have a few good examples of this coming up.
For better or for worse, a few video game movies have been planned, but have been since cancelled. One of the most popular victim of this was a potential BioShock movie that was to be directed by Gore Verbinski (Director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and Rango). This was cancelled for many reasons, but mostnotably was the cost. The cost to make the underwater looking sets to represent Rapture would have been astronomical. And since the film would have needed to have been rated R the budget would have been a lot lower than a PG-13 movie. So a BioShock movie was canned.
When I first heard a movie of The Last of Us announced I was disappointed because I was sure that it was going to stain The Last of Us name. But then I saw a glimmer of hope; Neil Druckmann, the writer and director of TLoU game was writing the script. And to further my hope, Naughty Dog, has final say on casting choices and changes to the story. I was also excited when Neil Druckmann stated that Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) may play Ellie. Now, I'm exited and looking forward to The Last of Us film.
A Half-Life film has been in development hell almost as long as Half Life 3. Two notable directors actual want to be the director; J.J. Abrams and Quentin Tarantino. Both are actually fans of the game and I believe both could do the franchise justice. Though, if I had to pick; I'd pick J.J. Abrams. His style offilmmaking would much better match the style of Half-life. Again, nothing against Tarantino. I actual am a Tarantino fanboy, but I see Abrams much better suited for the Half-Life movie. A Portal film would also suit J.J. Abrams very well with Olivia Wilde as Chell. That's something I'd like to see.
Until the day that Hollywood decides to make a good video game movie, Fan films are your best bet. This also is a good example of why fans of the games should be in charge of making video game films. Of course since they are indie films, the budget, isn't very high so you have to cut them some slack, but there are some pretty good ones. These fan films usually all live on YouTube. Some good fan films of games are inspired from: Half-Life (pictured above), Mass Effect, BioShock, Mortal Kombat, Fallout, and Watch Dogs. Fans have the power to make the game better or worse.
In the end, I do believe that video game movies will one day be as good or even better than the game they are based on. They need to be given to filmmakers who actually want to do the source material justice instead of just getting a paycheck.