I know, I know. They’ve been making video game movies for decades now, and still we have yet to find any we can actually call “good.”
Yes, it can be argued that films like Resident Evil or Prince of Persia or even Silent Hill are “good for a video game movie,” but that’s still far away from actual cinematic legitimacy.
I fully believe that there is great potential for video game movies to be just as thrilling and entertaining as summer blockbusters. They just need the right talent behind them in the directing, writing and acting slots. There is such potential in some franchises to crossover into becoming film classics, that I can’t wait until it actually happens. Because it seems like I’m waiting freaking forever.
Here are six franchises I think are ripe for solid movie adaptations. Some are in development, some aren’t, but you can bet your ass that they will be some day, as Hollywood is turning EVERYTHING into a movie these days. If Battleship can get its own film, then surely these games can too. These six, in my eyes, have the best shot of breaking the unfortunate trend.
When I heard that Gore Verbinski was on board to direct a Bioshock film, my heart skipped a beat. He was the perfect man to capture the dark mood of Rapture and bring the whole universe to life in a terrifying way.
But he sadly departed the project, and as it stands, the whole thing is currently underwater (pun intended). The story of Andrew Ryan’s once great uber city would be visual fantastic, and could be a killer horror film if put in the right hands.
Another film that has recently lost a director, but this time, it’s for the better. David O. Russell had cast his BFF Mark Wahlberg in the role of Nathan Drake, but fans of the game knew that was an incredibly misguided decision.
He changed the hero, changed the canon, and was prepping a new story for the film involving a “family of criminal antique dealers,” when he too departed. We are in desperately need of a new Indiana Jones-type figure in films today, and I will smack you if you say Nicolas Cage in National Treasure is cutting it. Drake is funny, his adventures are harrowing, and the most likable man on planet earth is dying to play him, Nathan Fillion, what’s the problem people?
3. Assassin’s Creed
There actually is NOT an AC movie in the works currently as far as I know, but Ubisoft recently set up their own studio to be able to make their own films in the future. Sounds good in theory, as they can guarantee it will stay close to the source material, but they will need big Hollywood players to make these films good.
The action sequences are already out of control when they appear in cinematic trailers for the game. Imagine seeing them with live actors on the big screen. They would need to rewrite and shorten the plot a bit to be a touch less convoluted so this series can be consumed by the general public, but I think the game has a great framework for a film adaptation.
4. Dead Space
Another game that uses atmosphere masterfully, and could easily be a terrifying horror film if handled by a competent team. The dead ship Ishimura is a great setting for a horror film, and would blow Event Horizon or Pandorum into the stratosphere.
There would need to be a lot more backstory, though some of that is covered by comics and such, and the cast would likely have to include more than one person, but it could work to have a meek engineer traipsing around in the dark uncovering the mystery for himself. There is definitely a lot of potential here, and I know the film rights have indeed been sold.
5. God of War
How this film hasn’t been made already, I have no idea. It seems perfect for someone like Zack Snyder, whose slow motion and familiarity with the ancient Greek for 300 would make him the ideal man for the job. The problem? Last I heard, the rights were in Brett Ratner’s hands. I’d rather have this movie murdered in its cradle than be raised to adulthood by him.
The series may have gone off its rocker in terms of the plot in later games, but the first game has a great story to go along with the bloody mayhem as Kratos seeks revenge on Ares for the death of his family and his enslavement, and it comes with a twist ending to boot. This would be a huge, sprawling epic that would make a TON of money and be highly entertaining. Obviously, an R-rating would be a must.
6. Mass Effect
Where to start? Even in game form, I’m convinced Mass Effect could be this generations Star Wars if it really tried. And if turned into an effective film? I absolutely believe it could be a genre classic. The universe this game takes place in is so rich, and there is so much backstory and character development poured into these titles, that it’s just begging to be given a chance on the big screen.
I fully believe that if this was given the full budget and Hollywood A-list support of a George Lucas or James Cameron feature, that it could stand up with the most classic action sci-fi film franchises out there. Conversely, I feel if that adaptation is butchered, any hope of that would be lost forever. A gamble, but a risk work taking on this phenomenally scripted series that already plays like a film.