With The Super Mario Bros. Film on the horizon, fans of video games and cinema can unite to see one of the biggest gaming franchises hit the big screen. Though video game adaptations are usually maligned by critics and audiences alike, some actually go a long way in faithfully bringing the games to life.
From chilling horror flicks like Silent Hill to animated adaptations like Street Fighter II, the best video game movies capture the essence of the games they are based on. Though plenty of adaptations have tried, users on Reddit took to the site to bring up the video game movies that most accurately represented their source material.
Assassin’s Creed (2016)
While faithfulness is usually always a good thing when it comes to video game movies, films like Assassin’s Creed proved that it can be quite alienating as well. User moose_man expounded on that idea when saying of the film “I think AC was good for people who are invested in AC and bad for everybody else.”
Like the games, the movie’s convoluted plot left a lot of casual moviegoers perplexed by its complexity. However, fans of the franchise had a lot to cull from the movie, and it was a surprisingly strong entry in the video game movie genre because of its faithfulness to the games. Though it invented new characters and opted not to follow the plot of the games, Assassin’s Creed felt right at home among the series’ many titles.
Adapting one of the best MMORPGs of all time was no easy feat, but Warcraft found a nice balance between an accessible story and the rich lore of the games. Of the movie’s faithfulness, user Krimsinx wrote “The general lore is there…the movie is by no means perfect…I’d say it was decent.”
What the movie did well was narrow the focus of the story down to fine details that every viewer could understand without sacrificing the game’s history. The conflict between the invading Orcs and the humans is just one small part of World of Warcraft, and the movie hinted at a much larger world that existed outside the scope of the plot.
Since video games are an interactive media, movies are already at a disadvantage because they are a passive experience. User POFF_Casablanca mentioned the movie Hitman when asked about accurate adaptations, saying “I don’t think it’s a particularly good movie, but they did do a decent job with some of the fan service…game play is really what makes those games what they are more than the story.”
Eschewing the plot of the games, the movie adaptation of Hitman instead decided to blaze its own trail that brought the feeling of the games to life. Ramping up the action to ridiculous proportions, the movie made up for its lack of interactivity with a fair amount of over-the-top moments that sometimes felt more like a video game than a movie.
Ace Attorney (2012)
Though some video games require filmmakers to stretch their imaginations when adapting them, others are already laid out in a narrative format and offer much less challenge. Praising a certain video game movie, user EyesOfaCreeper said “I like Ace Attorney; it was faithful to the game…by far the best game movie I’ve seen.”
While it didn’t get much play outside its native Japan, Ace Attorney brought the adventures of Phoenix Wright to life with all the cartoonish charm of the games. All the memorable characters from the first game were there in live-action, and the movie even dropped in moments that poked fun at the video game medium.
Detective Pikachu (2019)
The Pokémon franchise has fared quite well at the movies, and the live-action flick Detective Pikachu was a continuation of that trend. Espousing the movie’s accuracy, user mikeyfreshh wrote “Detective Pikachu was actually pretty good at building the whole Pokemon world.”
The movie was a loose adaptation of the game that shares its name, but was pretty faithful when it came to world building. The live-action nature was a shock to long-time fans of the franchise, but the Pokémon were accurately brought to life in 3D and the way they interacted with the world around them was ripped straight from the games.
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (1994)
Though live-action has always been a little shaky, successful animated video game movies have been a bit more common. Believing there has only been one truly faithful video game adaptation, a deleted user wrote “Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie…And that was it.”
Unlike the silly live-action film that came out the same year, the animated form allowed the characters of Street Fighter II to shine brighter. The game itself has a loose plot, and the cartoon film was able to utilize the characters effectively in a story that didn’t deviate too far from the basic premise of the game.
Tomb Raider (2001)
Faithfulness in a video game adaptation isn’t limited exclusively to the story, and it is in the details that the best video game movies usually make their mark. Bringing up casting as a film’s strongest aspect, user Tropical_Nighthawk55 commented “The Tomb Raider movies weren’t that great but it was like Angelina Jolie was born to play Lara Croft.”
Even if the plots of the films opted not to borrow from any of the games, Jolie’s performance was faithful enough to make the entire enterprise worthwhile. Generally not regarded as masterpieces of cinema, Jolie helped the movie’s feel real, and there were a scant few other actors who could have embodied Croft like she did.
Even if no one was asking for it, schlock auteur Uwe Boll worked his video game adaptation magic on the film Postal and delivered a surprisingly faithful take on the controversial series. Referencing the flick, user Keksis_theBetrayed wrote “Postal definitely had the feel of Postal 2 onwards. It’s crass, offensive, and often disgusting, but it’s definitely Postal.”
With its costume design that aped the look of the games, to its rather colorful use of language and offensive ideas, Postal was the perfect film for Uwe Boll. Though it has largely been forgotten even among Boll’s list of awful films, Postal is still the closest the man has come to bringing a game to life onscreen.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
In the early days of video game adaptations, filmmakers weren’t quite sure how to approach the material effectively. Noting one exception, a deleted user wrote “I think Mortal Kombat (1995) is the best video game movie that is close to its source material.”
Opting for a sillier tone right off the bat, Mortal Kombat was tongue-in-cheek like the game it was adapted from. Even so, the movie took the established characters and made them feel real, and substituted the game’s extreme gore with accentuated and cartoonish violence instead. Though panned by critics, the movie has gained a cult following because it recreated the tone of the original entries in the gaming series.
Silent Hill (2006)
Video game stories aren’t always the most well-written pieces of media, and video game movies like Silent Hill chose to adapt only the choicest bits of both story and tone. Of the movie, user YogSothothOfficial said “Silent Hill is honestly pretty good…the atmosphere and visuals are pretty faithful to the games.”
Taken as an amalgamation of the entire video game franchise, Silent Hill is an accurate adaptation because it nails the chilling atmosphere better than most movies in the genre. The games are legitimately frightening, and the movie spared no expense when it came to bringing all the locations and monsters to life with an eye for the creepiest details.