Upcoming video game-related flicks

Bloodrayne (Widescreen Edition)If you are a video game fan, then you will have noticed that so far Hollywood hasn’t been very kind to movies that are based on video games. Many of them have been absolutely terrible by anyone’s standards of “good” or “must-see”, these films include such titles as: Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, as well as every movie released by universally despised (by video game fans at least) German-born director Uwe Boll, who has released two insanely bad video game movies so far — The House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark — that did nothing to help the status of video game movies as legitimate entertainment.

Unfortunately, Uwe Boll has much more to offer us, with several movies in the works. BloodRayne will be releasing to theaters soon, and upcoming games based on films include: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (set for 2006 and in post-production), Hunter the Reckoning (2006, pre-production), and three more announced films: Far Cry (2006), Postal (2007) and Fear Effect (2008).

Fortunately, there is a bright side to this picture (pun-intended) . . . .

Thanks to the success of the Tomb Raider and Resident Evil films, as well as the first Mortal Kombat movie and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (and the upcoming Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which is coming direct to DVD and UMD), publishers realized that there is a demand for game based movies and that if done reasonably well, they can reach a wide audience and become a success. While the aforementioned movies were not the greatest movies ever, they were far from terrible and certainly serviceable, as well as close-enough to their source material to not completely abandon fans.

The most recent flick to hit theaters based on a game was Doom, starring The Rock. While the movie apparently wasn’t great (I haven’t seen it yet) and sales were below expectations, I’ve heard that it is far from a terrible movie. The Rock will also be starring in an upcoming movie based on Midway’s Spyhunter series (The Rock will also play the main character in the upcoming game).

And that’s just the beginning of what is quickly becoming a video-game movie avalanche. The most high-profile video game based movie is definitely Halo, which will be executive produced by Peter Jackson, who will oversee the movie to make sure the standards are high. In addition, his companies, the same ones that worked on The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, to bring them to life, will be helping to create Halo. The Halo movie will no doubt be of very high caliber, and here’s to hoping that the film will obliterate the thought that no good video game based movie can exist.

Other video game films that are either already in production or have been announced include: God of War, Castlevania, Pac-Man, The Suffering, Tekken (which may include martial arts superstar Jet Li), Splinter Cell, Dead or Alive, Silent Hill, Kameo: Elements of Power, Hitman (which will star Van Diesel as Agent 47), Fatal Frame and Max Payne, as well as two more Resident Evil films, the third of which is being dubbed Resident Evil: Afterlife, and a third Mortal Kombat movie is also on the way. A sequel to Doom is also likely, and Uwe Boll’s latest movie (which he is actually collaborating with Hero director to help direct the film . . . hope against hope that this means the movie may actually be good . . . at least serviceable . . . . please Uwe, spare-us!) will be split into two parts, the first being the aforementioned Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.

And that’s really only the beginning, there are several other games that may get movie adaptations, including several properties from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Nintendo’s is the most surprising, right now infamous action-director John Woo owns the rights to the Metroid movie-license, although it’s still up in-the-air as to whether the movie will ever actually get made, but beyond that Nintendo has expressed interest in entering the movie market-place, and it’s repertoire is rife with games that could be turned into movies including the Zelda series, Mario, Kirby, Fire Emblem, Donkey Kong, Star Fox and F-Zero. Although the majority would probably work best as animated or CG films.

But no matter what happens, movie adaptations of games are here to stay, and many of the upcoming movies could turn out to be very good movies, and if that happens there will no doubt be even more game-based films coming our way, even as Hollywood right now continues to scoop up the licenses to create video game films, and there are still many games out there that would make great movies. And that can only be a good thing, as good movies based on video games will go very far in legitimizing games as an art form to be respected.