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The adaptation of a game into an-hour-and-a-half movie is a difficult task to accomplish. A video game is not only telling a story, but is also interactive. The challenge that a director faces is not only catering to the fans of the game, but also catering to the classic elements that make a successful movie.
Luckily, both video games and movies share a common thread of rise and fall story telling as well as the ability to engage an audience. In the end, movies based on games try and increase the public appeal of a game series that most certainly turns into a franchise. The success of the movie is therefore oftentimes indicative of the success of the overall series.
5. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft brought to life, this movie was a hit for fans of the classic pixilated hottie played by Angelina Jolie (Mr. and Mrs. Smith). High-flying and ass-kicking, the film owes much credit to Jolie’s casting as the starring role for which the film might have otherwise failed.
The role of Lara Croft demanded an actress who could be sexy, athletic, and commanding rather than ditzy, underwhelming, and humorless. A younger Daniel Craig in his pre-James Bond days is also on the film, along with Jon Voight, the real life and on screen father of Angelina Jolie.
Besides the treasure hunting elements of the film, the relationships between the characters really make the film come alive. Lara Croft and the relationship with her father Richard, is one of the best aspects of the film since her memories of him are the key to unlocking key information for the plot of the film.
The film also boasts high production values, with mansions, high end sports cars, and multiple filming locations, along with a total budget of $115 million. The film grossed more than $275 million at the box office, netting huge profits and paving the way for the sequel Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life.
Agent 47 makes his full screen debut portrayed by Timothy Olyphant (Fx’s Justified). The Silent Assassin was required to successfully eliminate a target by the name of Mikhail Belicoff played by Ulrich Thomsen (Kingdom of Heaven). A movie tie-in was also printed for the movie, though the plot of the book differs from that of the movie itself.
Still, actor Timothy Olyphant brings an emotional quality to the part of Agent 47 that is otherwise not often seen in the games. Throughout the movie, fans of the game series can see Agent 47 go through several changes from heartless assassin to contemplative savior. Agent 47 questions what his duties are and begins to show a protective streak for Nika Boronina played by Olga Kurylenko (007: Quantum of Solace) , who was used as bait during the film.
More than a simple movie about assassinations taking place, this movie is about character growth through the perspective of both Agent 47 and his adversaries. There are many other agents in the film that feature the bald head and dual wielding guns, but none of them are like Agent Number 47.
3. Resident Evil
Action Horror at its best, this movie set the stage for a modestly successful film series. The first in the run of five movies so far, this film earned more than $100 million at the box office. Starring Mila Jovovich (Fifth Element) and Michelle Rodriquez (The Fast and the Furious) the two battle across The Hive while Jovovich’s character, Alice, tries to regain her memories. Both are trying to escape the untold horrors of the zombie-filled world that Capcom created.
One of the most celebrated parts of the film are how the characters must move through a maze of horror that can only be traversed with great difficulty. Echoing the games, there are scenes in the movie where characters must flip a switch, connect a plug or otherwise gain access to an item that requires actual thought. The Resident Evil games were a survival horror series like none other, and the movies certainly hold the same qualities.
Fans of the games will also recognize signature creatures within the series. The Red Queen, a form of conscious intelligence, is in control of the security and movement within the facility, which make for many of the most terrifying scenes within the movie.
The scene featuring the laser beam defenses in the Red Queen corridor had manyviewers simultaneously horrified and impressed with the filmmakers. Part horror movie, part AI movie gone wrong, this movie is one of the first in a long line of biochemical nightmare that features some of the best zombie scenes in recent memory.
2. Mortal Kombat
The oldest movie on this list was also one of the most exciting of the ’90s. The first Mortal Kombat movie, despite critical reviews, was a success in the eyes of fans, and was a worthy tribute to characters like Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade and Thunder God Raiden.
Fans joined their favorite heroes in OutWorld as they struggled in the deadly contest of Mortal Kombat. Watch as Sonya Blade battles Crime Lord Kano in her quest to bring him to justice, just as action star Johnny Cage dukes it out with Scorpion in a deserted forest. The central role is played by vengence seeker Liu Kang, guilty over the death of his brother at the hands of Shang Tsung.
One fight scene after the next, the entire movie is an homage to fans of the games. As one of the most successful game to movie adaptations it has become an instant hit with gamers and brought in a new legion of fans to play the games. Not only was the video footage stellar but the music that accompanied the movie was one of the best movie soundtracks of the ’90s.
1. Advent Children
Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is the only movie on this list that has no human actors. At the same time, it has some of the most iconic characters in video gaming history, and is derived from one of the longest running game franchises. More a continuation of the game itself rather than an adaptation, this movie stands apart from other video game adaptations since it feels like the filmmakers took the time to make a great movie rather than simply a movie tie-in.
The director’s cut contains some of the best high-flying action sequences around. They manage to combine an intricate story with great choreography. In the face of many other subpar games-to-movie projects, fans agree this one is the most successful in recent memory. With production value is that is not only high, but also features an excellently well crafted storyline, Final Fantasy Advent Children renewed the faith for an entire generation of fans in the power of Cloud and his allies.
Honorable Mention: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is newer than some of the other films on this list, and the franchise has more than enough plot points to make a noteworthy sequel or two. The game itself features jumps and climbing similar to Tomb Raider and martial arts similar to Mortal Kombat and Advent Children.