It may come as a shock, but there was a time when video games were considered unsuitable as blockbuster movies. Constrained storylines, nonsensical celebrity casting, and cheesy dialogue were the norm for theatrical adaptations of massive, blockbuster titles, and they struggled to make their money back at the box office.
In 1993, the Super Mario Bros. the film set a precedent for future releases. Very loosely based on the Super Mario franchise, it starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, respectively. The duo traveled to a dystopian cityscape in another dimension to help their friend, Daisy, who had been kidnapped by its inhabitants and the evil King Koopa, played by Dennis Hopper.
Siskel and Ebert tore up the film, criticizing it for a lack of compelling characters, a horrific story, and a serious misunderstanding of its target audience. They went so far as to say it was a total waste of money. These same criticisms have plagued other video game movies, like those in 2005. Alone in the darka film with so many flaws that it holds a solid 1% on rotten tomatoes.
However, we are currently experiencing a renaissance in video game adaptation. Esoteric was based on the hugely popular League of Legends multiplayer game and was nominated for two Emmy awards earlier this year. sonic the hedgehog was nominated for Family Movie of 2020 at the People’s Choice Awards. And Nintendo, despite being burned by the first theatrical release of Super Mario Bros., is once again bringing the plumber in the red hat back to the big screen.
Many of Hollywood’s biggest studios are looking to jump on the crossover video game bandwagon, so many that it’s hard to keep track. We’re here to let you know what to watch out for and give you some background on what’s to come.
Gearbox Software brings the Borderlands franchise to the big screen. The film wrapped filming in 2021, but other than character silhouettes and limited behind-the-scenes footage, few other details have emerged. The Borderlands franchise has always been known for its bombastic, almost intentionally crude presentation. The series follows the exploits of “Vault Hunters” who travel to the fictional planet Pandora to score wealth, fame, power, or good old mayhem. The movie version, slated for a 2022 release, has a few big names attached to it (Jack Black, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Hart), and will be directed by Eli Roth.
Sega, building on the success of its last two Sonic films, is adapt his cult classic side-scroller, Comix Zone. The title will be called Area, , and focus on a jaded comic book writer who gets sucked into the world of his latest issue. The protagonist will have abilities based on their meta-knowledge of being in a comic. The film will be written by Mae Catt, who worked on the Emmy-winning series young justice, an animated series based on the comic book of the same name. There is no set release date yet.
Ghost of Tsushima
Following the success of Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima in 2020, Sony Pictures launched a film adaptation last year. The film recently scored Takashi Doscher as screenwriter and Chad Stahelski as John Wick will lead. The film will follow the trials and tribulations of Jin Sakai as he rids the island of Tsushima of Mongol invaders. Stahelski recently revealed to Collider that the film will be shot entirely in Japanese and will feature an all-Japanese cast. A release date has not been announced.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Post-apocalyptic action-RPG from Guerilla Games, Horizon: Zero Dawn, is coming to Netflix. In the video game, you scavenge components from animal-like machines that roam the earth to create the tools you need to survive and find out what brought the world to its knees. The television series centers on Aloy, an outcast from her tribe who tries her best to survive in the 31st century after a global catastrophe destroys a thriving civilization. Netflix has secured Steve Blackman (The Umbrella Academy) as showrunnerbut the cast and release date have not been announced.
Channel 5 space
Space Channel 5, another cult title from Sega, was a rhythm game released in 1999 for the Sega Dreamcast in which you play as a journalist who fights alien invaders using the power of music. The film sees a reporter from the future picking up a fast food worker from the past to help stop an alien invasion. The movie will be written by Barry Battles (Bayton’s Outlaws) and Nir Paniry (Extract); we don’t have a release date yet.
The last of us
When The Last of Us was released in 2013, PlayStation 3 fans were immediately drawn to the cast’s heartfelt performances and the cinematic world Naughty Dog developed. Next reissues and a sequel, the post-apocalyptic zombie shooter gets another chance to wow audiences when it releases as a full HBO series. Scheduled to release in 2023, the show will follow Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they travel across a run-down United States to stop the zombie outbreak.
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