Breaking the curse: The video game movies that actually aren’t half bad
Video game movies have their high highs, but more often than not, they’re known for the low lows. We don’t always get a Mortal Combat, Sonic the Hedgehog, or Detective Pikachu. We have to find the diamond in the rough for fans of video game movies, and there is plenty of rough to sift through.
Even though we claim some of these video game movies are bad, they have some redeeming qualities. Here are some of the video game movies that aren’t half bad.
Pokemon The First Movie – Mewtwo vs Mew
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 15%
Critic Consensus: Audiences other than children will find very little to entertain them.
I know we’re privy to Disney and Pixar making films that entertain both children and adults. However, Pokemon is a children’s show, and Pokemon The First Movie – Mewtwo vs Mew is a movie based on the show. It would be like us giving Fifty Shades of Grey a poor review because “children will find very little to entertain themselves with.”
That’s all we have to say on this one other than it’s a classic and beloved among older Pokemon fans. It might not be the best Pokemon movie ever made, but it has a strong emotional ending and a great message.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 10%
Listen, what do you expect from a movie based on a fighting game. People complained that it’s overacted, but there isn’t much to go off from the video game. However, if you forget you’re watching a Street Fighter adaptation and look at it as a campy 90s action-comedy it’s pure perfection.
It’s not hard to forget you’re watching a Street Fighter adaptation because there is not street fighting or any resemblance of a martial arts tournament. It’s actually a war movie. However, the action and fighting scenes are over the top and carry the film. And sometimes we just want an action movie that’s more action than story.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 20%
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is if you blend Brandon Fraiser’s Mummy franchise with Indiana Jones except with a female leade. However, we’re talking about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Angelina Jolie is great and brings the iconic character to life, embodying the character quite nicely. What holds this video game movie back is its reliance on cheesy over the top 2000s stunts. We don’t want it to feel like a video game because we could just play the game over watching the movie. The stunts are so unrealistic and are more flashy than practical.
One thing the film does nicely is it’s a template for further entries in the franchise. The movie’s 2003 sequel and 2018 reboot advance the franchise and improve upon what the previous film started.
It’s also a nice nostalgia watch. It might not have the immediate rewatchability like other video game movies, but not bad to return to after some time has passed, or you want to binge watch all three movies.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37%
Prince of Persia suffers from the same fate as The Last Jedi: They’re good if you forget they’re a part of a popular franchise. If you go into Prince of Persia without any prior knowledge, you’ll enjoy yourself. This is where being a fan sometimes doesn’t bode well.
Even though the film is named after one of the games, it bears no resemblance to the game’s storyline despite being penned by the game’s creator. Disney went with a loosely based adaptation.
Prince of Persia’s creator John Mechner told Variety at the time, “Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new video game, we’re taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story.”
Was the CGI good? Absolutely. Did fans enjoy it? Not really. The big complaint was Disney helming the project and its choice of actor. Disney chose to adapt an M-rated game and paired down the violence, exchanging it in for cool CGI. It was entertaining but missed the mark.
Then Jake Gyllenhaal was probably a poor choice. He was coming off a stellar performance in Zodiac but wasn’t enough to carry the film. The film was likened to Pirates of the Caribbean, however, with none of the praise or comedy.