Video game movies are typically seen with the same cynicism as video games based on movies. There seems to be great difficulty, in most cases, for filmmakers to adapt the source material into a compelling movie, and vice versa. In fact, the vast majority of of video game movies are terrible.
That being said, while there has yet to be a video game movie that anyone can call truly spectacular, some of the films have been significantly better than the rest. These are the 5 best video game movies made so far.
[NOTE: Before we get to the list proper, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s original animated feature film that pays homage to an exhausting number of video game franchises. Wreck-It Ralph is arguably the best film that features video games, but since it is not a direct adaptation of any one video game, it does not meet the requirements to be featured on this list.]
5. Ace Attorney (2012)
Capcom’s Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney franchise may not be the most financially successful or popular series they’ve ever made, but it has developed a dedicated cult following over the years, thanks to its smart writing, great sense of humor, and unforgettable characters. The premise of prosecutors and defense attorneys battling it out in over-the-top, court-based combat is fairly absurd, and adapting it into a competent film seems like a nearly impossible challenge.
However, filmmakers in Japan realized that there was really no way to bring the adventures of defense lawyer Phoenix Wright to life and make it completely serious, so they decided to create what is perhaps the most faithful game to film adaptation ever made. Virtually everything in Ace Attorney is taken from the games, from the characters to the cases to the perfect costume design. While the fact that it’s a foreign film may keep all fans from enjoying it to the fullest, Ace Attorney should nevertheless be praised for its unrelenting faithfulness to the game series that spawned it.
4. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
During the pre-production process of a video game movie, it’s always exciting to see which Hollywood actors are cast as gaming’s most iconic characters. Some choices may leave fans scratching their heads, but when it was announced that Angelina Jolie was going to play Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movie, nobody was complaining.
Jolie is basically the perfect Lara Croft, and she completely and utterly nailed the character. While some took issue with various other aspects of the film, the thrill of seeing Lara in live-action is hard to beat. The film was also a major commercial success, surpassing Aliens to become the highest grossing action film with a woman in the lead role.