Since 2008 there have been talks of an Uncharted movie based on the popular action-adventure video game series. Finally, the film will be hitting theaters in February starring Tom Holland as the cheeky treasure hunter Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as his older, and just occasionally wiser, mentor Sully. While one would expect the millions of fans of the game franchise to be chomping at the bit to catch the flick at their nearest theater, there’s always going to be a slight sense of apprehension when approaching any video game adaptation.
Historically, movies based on video games have been notoriously poorly received. In fact, regardless of the genre, Hollywood has just seemed to be unable to get it right. Whether it was the schlocky 90s beat ’em ups (Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat), shoot ’em up misfires (Doom) or poorly paced racing flicks (Need for Speed), nothing worked. Even a movie based on the world’s most beloved Italian plumbing siblings, the Super Mario Bros. failed to impress. There were attempts at horror (Silent Hill, Resident Evil) and action adventures (Prince of Persia – Sands of Time, Assassin’s Creed) but still nothing—and the less spoken about Uwe Boll’s many, many failed attempts, the better.
While things have started to look up slightly in recent years with Detective Pikachu, Sonic The Hedgehog, and the most recent Mortal Kombat movie all receiving generally favorable reviews, albeit still not amazing, it feels like Hollywood is still not tapping into the full potential video games have to offer. There have always been games that tell great stories, but now games are becoming more and more focused on engaging storylines and fully developed characters over simple button mashing, the opportunity to tell those stories to non-gamers as well, is there for the taking. With that in mind, here are 5 video games that would make great movies.
5 The Legend of Zelda
It seems almost insane that there is not already a movie based on the Legend of Zelda games. It is one of gaming’s all time biggest success stories, with the games having been enjoyed by literally millions of people worldwide. The iconic Link and Princess Zelda protect Hyrule, a medieval Western Europe-inspired fantasy world, which has developed a deep history and wide geography over the series’ many releases. The lore and high fantasy aspects of the game are on par with that of The Lord of the Rings, which has proven to be a huge success on film. There has been rumors that the folks over at Netflix are working on something Zelda related. If this is the case, in order for the project to avoid ending up getting panned like so many other game-based movies, and because The Legend of Zelda already has such a dedicated fanbase, it needs to stay true to the tone of the games and avoid becoming overly campy.
4 Horizon Zero Dawn
While The Legend of Zelda benefits from having a built-in fanbase, Horizon Zero Dawn’s general obscurity to non-gamers could actually play to its advantage. It provides a blank canvas, as it were, to allow non-gamers to experience the magic of this beautifully unique story for the first time. Horizon Zero Dawn would take what we know about post-apocalyptic films and turn them on their heads. Following Aloy, the mysterious, yet fiercely independent female protagonist, as she traverses stunning and beautiful landscapes overrun by deadly robotic dinosaurs, it would not just be an epic sci-fi adventure, but also a brilliant coming-of-age story.
3 God of War
This title has been on the ‘will they, won’t they’ list of movies getting made for years, especially since the 2018 reboot entry of the gaming franchise hit the shelves. Widely regarded as one of the best video game narratives of all time, God of War would lend itself gloriously to the big screen. On the surface, it’s a huge swords-and-sandals action-adventure epic revolving around Norse mythology. But dig a little underneath, and there’s a deeper, more intimate story focusing on a father-son relationship as it follows the journey of a widowed father who delivers his wife’s ashes to her final resting place with his estranged son. It just so happens that this widowed father happens to be Kratos: God of War.
2 Grim Fandango
Grim Fandango is a 1998 point-and-click adventure game directed by Tim Schafer and developed and published by LucasArts for Microsoft Windows. As with other most other point-and-click-style adventure games at the time, the player must converse with characters and examine, collect, and use objects to solve puzzles. Grim Fandango has got to have one of the most entertaining, exciting and unique stories ever. Set in the Land of the Dead, it spans four entire years as it follows afterlife ‘travel agent’ Manny Calavera as he attempts to save a lost soul on her journey through the afterlife. The game combines elements of the Aztec afterlife with film noir style, with influences including The Maltese Falcon, On the Waterfront and Casablanca. It has the perfect combination of humor, excitement, and emotion. Watching this as a movie would also allow people to skip endless nights of pulling their hair out trying to figure some of those seemingly nonsensical puzzles in order to progress the story.
1 Life is Strange
The plot focuses on Max Caulfield, an 18-year-old photography student who discovers that she has the ability to rewind time at any moment, leading her every choice to enact the butterfly effect that ultimately has huge impacts on the outcome of friendships and even the fate of the entire neighborhood. Seeing as this game relies almost entirely on its narrative, the movie plot pretty much writes itself. However, where the studio might encounter difficulty is that, in the game, players can make certain decisions on behalf of Max that actually alter future events and the final outcome of the game. This would make it difficult to decide on exactly which storyline to go with. Fortunately, the added element of Max being able to rewind time, could, if done cleverly, allow the studio a little more creative freedom when exploring different choices. The game was praised for its strong character development and tackling of taboo subjects and if the movie manages to come even close in these areas there’s potential for a solid teen drama mixed with some fascinating sci-fi elements.
A new poster for Sony’s Uncharted puts the spotlight on the all-star cast and adventurous surroundings.
About The Author