Recently, reports have started coming out that Nintendo is close to finishing a deal with Illumination Entertainment to make an animated Mario movie. For those who do not know, Illumination made the Despicable Me, Minions, and Secret Life of Pets movies. If you would like to read up on that some more you can check out Gamespot’s article HERE.
As a guy who has loved videogames and the Mario franchise for as long as I can remember, I am a little hesitant to express any excitement for this movie. Now, there is always the chance that this movie being animated could turn into a great movie for kids and long time fans. However, as any other fan of videogames can tell you, we have not been that lucky when it comes to quality movies based on videogames. Let’s take a look at some examples of what we have gotten in the past. DISCLAIMER: I acknowledge that movie critiquing is not my strongest suit. Videogames have always had my focus and I never really take movies too seriously, but regardless these are my opinions alone. It’s okay to have guilty pleasures if you enjoy a movie that is on this list, I have a few myself.
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
Starting off with the first time Mario had his own movie made and well…. it is an experience. Starring the late Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as everyone’s favorite plumber brothers, this movie is the prime example of why Nintendo has not made a movie in over two decades. This is a live-action take where Mario Mario and Luigi Mario (that’s right, their last name is Mario) have to save the world and Princess Daisy from King Koopa (Bowser’s old name) who plans on invading the world. Long story short, the characters in this movie are nothing like videogame characters you grew up with. There is no mention of Peach, Toad is a guitarist, Yoshi, while he is a dinosaur, resembles a raptor more than anything else, Koopa Troopas are dinosaurs instead of turtles, and the image below is what Bowser looks like. The story is a mess and resembles nothing of any other Mario property ever.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Admittedly, I actually enjoy this movie, but I recognize that it is not necessarily great and has not aged well. It is probably my favorite bad movie. While the Mario movie is a large departure from the videogame equivalent, Mortal Kombat for the most part sticks to the concept of the games. Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage must fight for Earth’s protection and prevent the Nether Realm from winning the Mortal Kombat tournament and then invading Earth’s Realm. The main cast does relatively well. Liu Kang is a good protagonist, Johnny Cage is a hollywood prick, and Sonya is tough on the positive side. On the negative side, Reptile is a tiny, insignificant lizard, Raiden has a terrible voice, and Scorpion has what I am guessing is a scorpion tail coming out of his hand? Out of all this though, the biggest crime this movie has for me is Scorpion and Sub-Zero working together.
Resident Evil series (2002-2016)
Once again, these are movies that I have actually enjoyed in the past; not for their ties to the videogames, but instead because they are crazy and stupid in all honesty. I have yet to watch the last entry in the series, but if you are looking for just some stupid, fun action this series is for you. Regulars from the games do make appearances like Chris and Claire Redfield, Albert Wesker, Jill Valentine, and Leon Kennedy, but the main focus is on a girl named Alice who is essentially a super human after being infected by the T-Virus. She becomes an insanely good fighter and kicks butt for a good six movies. Elements in the movies are definitely borrowed from the games, but do not go into these movies expecting a definitive Resident Evil game story experience.
Max Payne, 2008
Personally, I have never played a Max Payne game, but I did go see this movie in theaters back in 2008. At the time I was a sophomore in high school and had never even heard of Max Payne before. My only thinking for why I went to see it was a friend wanted to see it, and I don’t believe that friend was even into videogames. As for the movie itself, it’s weird. Mark Wahlburg plays Max Payne who is a detective obsessed with finding the murderer of his wife and kid. Along the line of trying to find who killed them he gets caught up in this drug situation that turns some people into warriors, and makes others go insane from hallucinations. The (demons?, angels?, valkeries?) that hang around the people who take the drugs at first look interesting, and look like they will bring something big to the table, but at the end of the day this is a movie drowning in mediocrity.
Tomb Raider (2001)
MINDLESS ACTION! SHOOTY SHOOTY BANG BANG! LOOK ANGELINA JOLIE HAS BOOBS! SHE MAKES A GREAT LARA CROFT! In all seriousness, Jolie does do a pretty good job of playing Croft, but this movie is filled with so many wire jumps and flips and pure nonsense. The Illuminati are trying to find a talisman before the planets are aligned just right that will allow them to control time so Lara is going to stop them. It doesn’t make sense and Daniel Craig tries to talk like an American in it. With the new Tomb Raider movie coming out in the future and baring some resemblance to the reboot games, I am really excited to see what is to come.
Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)
A movie that tries too hard to be serious and plagued with bad stunts and fighting scenes, Hitman: Agent 47 is the attempted reboot at making Hitman a movie franchise which failed in the same aspects eight years prior, even written by the same guy! I understand that Hitman is a popular videogame series and people that like it really love it, but wow, Agent 47 is a boring character to watch and this world just does not catch me. When thinking of games that need movies made about them, please leave this one out in the future.
Assassin’s Creed (2016)
I wanted this movie to be good so bad. With the exceptions of Syndicate and Origins, I have played every Assassin’s Creed game and have really enjoyed myself with each one. Even Michael Fassbender starring could not save this movie. Fassbender is killed by lethal injection and subsequently revived by Abstergo who are looking for the Apple of Eden which they can use to stop violence in the world by controlling human’s free will. Fassbender and Abstergo are able to see his ancestor’s past by being put in a machine called the Animus which reads his genetic memories. This movie is shot bad and tries too hard to focus on things about the Assassin’s Creed series that I really don’t care for. But hey guys, there is always that Division movie Ubisoft is making in the future! Wait, where are you going? Come back….
Those are just a fraction of examples of how we have been burned by videogames turned into movies. They just do not transfer well from a medium where the player controls almost everything to one where everything is experienced second hand. I haven’t even gotten into other titles like Warcraft, Street Fighter, DOOM, Need For Speed, Postal, and Silent Hill. There are plenty of videogame movies on their way, as well. Tomb Raider reboot, The Division, Sonic the Hedgehog, Rampage, and like I said at the beginning, Mario. I want this animated Mario film to be good, but I just can’t hold out anymore hope.