By Paul Semel
Hollywood spends a lot of time (and money) these days making movies out of comic books and fantasy novels—and movies that actually treat the source material with respect. Now it’s time they turn more of their attention to another ripe source for fresh film ideas: video games.
Of course they’ve been down this road before. But in the past many of these game-sourced movies have wound up being, let’s just say, less than impressive. Examples include the two botched Tomb Raider flicks as well as Super Mario Bros., Doom, Max Payne, Bloodrayne, Far Cry and both Silent Hill movies.
With the Tomb Raider features, the studios let low-rent Michael Bay-wannabes Simon West (The Expendibles 2) and Jan de Bont (Speed 2: Cruise Control) direct them. As for Doom, they misfired by hiring screenwriters who’d obviously never played the games. And the movie versions of Alone in the Dark, Bloodrayne, House of the Dead, Postal, and Far Cry were ruined by signing over the rights to a man who puts the “D” in director, Uwe Boll.
Now Hollywood does have some game-inspired films currently in the works, including World of Warcraft (which is being directed by Moon‘s Duncan Jones and stars Ben Foster and Paula Patton), Uncharted (which doesn’t have a cast or director yet) and even a new Tomb Raider (also still in the planning stages). But considering the depth and breadth of the games landscape today (vs. they heyday of the first Tomb Raider in the mid-1990s), these titles barely scratch the surface of possibilities. Just as there’s hope that the next Call of Duty will be fun, there’s hope that many more great games will one day jump from the Playstation to the silver screen.
Which we’d really like to see because, if done right, we could wind up with new Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy flicks (Dragon Age, Skyrim), Star Wars-ian epic sci-fi space operas (Mass Effect) and Matrix-ish cyberpunk adventures (Deus Ex).
Plus there’s the whole, “it’s a fifteen-billion dollar industry and 59% of Americans play games” thing.
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Below we’ve compiled ten games that we feel would work well as feature-length films. And as a bonus, we also tossed in three that never should make that leap.