In this day and age of crossover and triplicate appeal in all of the art forms, video games are finding an increasingly mainstream presence possible, not just on television and the internet, but in films. Of course, that being said, there is also a long and painful history of video game films being excruciatingly bad. The Mario film, Street Fighter, and god forbid you ever mention the name Uwe Boll, but it’s not all B-Movies and bargain binners for the gaming faithful.
There is hope on the horizon and if films like Resident Evil (passable if not amazing) and the hefty price tag and big names Microsoft is trying to attach to its Halo franchise, the video game films stands a chance yet. Let us remember that only 10 years ago, the idea of a good comic book film was all but abandoned, save the anomalous success of Superman and Batman (in a small percentage of their offerings at least). And now we have franchises like Spiderman, and Nolan’s newer darker Batman that are really quite amazing films. If you attach the right director and put the right budget with any of these franchises, you could have one hell of a film.
Now, let’s do what fans do best and pretend. What could happen if the right time and attention went into any single video game? Which games deserve more than others the right to be made into film?
1. Zelda – This is the obvious number one game on this list (for me at least), and here’s why. Of everything here, this is the one game you and I both know could make one hell of a film. Hollywood has proven itself not only with the technology, but the direction, in fantasy films in the last five years that they can be done epically and with style. Of course, it took 40 years for the defining epic to be made reality, so hopefully we’re not waiting so long for Zelda. Can you imagine though; Peter Jackson at the helm of a live action Zelda film.
2. Metroid – Science Fiction brilliance here. This shooter stylings of Nintendo’s Metroid series would be amazing on film. Technology can match it, so long as Hollywood has the balls to put down the money in making it. The science fiction epic is long overdue for a come back, and what better way than with Samus.
3. Halo – Peter Jackson was in the beginning phases of producing this baby, when the money fell out and the license floated back to Microsoft. Of course, the epic amounts of cash that they were looking for didn’t quite match what Hollywood though might come of the franchise, but if the games are any indication, the promise of cinematic excellence is endless here. Master Chief is the perfect smarmy badass for a film.
4. God of War – Come on. Tell me a film about a cursed Spartan warrior fighting the gods wouldn’t be awesome as hell. The production values of the game are enough to tell you that. If nothing else on this one, we can expect a PS3 sequel which is as good as a film any day.
5. Knights of the Old Republic – Now here’s an idea. Let’s take the game franchise born at Bioware that was infinitely better than George Lucas’s own prequels and make it into film. The Star Wars storyline is done, but that doesn’t mean that the franchise will disappear. Don’t count on it for a second. There’s more than a little bit of money to be made for Lucas and co.
6. Warcraft – I don’t know how they’d do it, and I don’t care. I just know that a game in Azeroth would be awesome. World of Warcraft took a few very popular strategy games and made them into a monstrous, fully realized world where millions of people play every day. All they’d have to do is shrink it back down and take out a few million people…or better yet, tie them in. Instant marketing genius.
7. Xenogears – RPGs are hard to imagine as film, because they’re usually huge. It would take a television series to realize the entire story of a good RPG. Xenosaga for instance ran a 12 episode anime in Japan with just the story of the first game. However, the story itself in Xenogears is incredible and with the right writer and director, and the willingness to write a different story (of the same ilk…just shorter), this could be one mind bender of a film.
8. Half Life – A rumor for years, and never even in preproduction, Half Life would still be one hell of a badass film. Shooters are perfect for film because they’re full of action, short on story (though Half Life isn’t as much) and have amazing, realized worlds and enemies. I’d like to see this done right though. A thriller along the lines of Die Hard, campy but not ridiculous.
9. Shadow of the Colossus – An ephemeral, epic game, much like Zelda but less populated and huge. This is another instance of how an amazing film maker, with the eye for beautiful visuals and smooth transitions, someone truly subtle in their art could make a wonderful film out of a game. And it wouldn’t even be a problem cutting it down. It’s already a very simple, straightforward game.
10. Metal Gear Solid – Ah yes, how I wish thee could be made flesh, Solid Snake. Solid Snake is a rough guy, the kind that film goers thrive on, James Bond with a cigar and an eyepatch. If you take Rambo, and make it…well, good and throw in some elements of Bond and the new wave of intelligent, hyper energetic, gritty spy flicks you’d have an adrenaline shot of great film here.
I don’t have the ideas that would make these great films, I just have the desire to see them. If Uwe Boll keeps snatching up licenses and making horrible movies out of games no one played, then we’ll never see the truly great franchises realized, but then again who knows. They said for decades that The Lord of the Rings couldn’t be done right, and look where that ended up.