Arts 37

Published on October 14th, 2005 | by Greg


Movies, Games: Two Great Tastes that Taste Terrible Together

Within the last week two prominent directors- Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg- have announced separate deals regarding videogame properties. Jackson, of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and the upcoming King Kong, announced that he will be executive producer of the upcoming movie based on the enormously successful Halo Xbox game series. Spielberg took a leap in the other direction, signing on with EA-LA to helm 3 games.

On one hand, such deals should come as no surprise. Despite their highly uneven history as cinema, there is no doubt that videogames could and will make great movies, and that movies can translate into excellent games.

But one need only look briefly through the massive resources of the Internet to discover that Hollywood and Silicon Valley haven’t had the best of track records. In fact, if you really sit down and look at it, you’ll be flung into a black hole due to the massive suckitude. We barely escaped, and present our list of the worst of the unholy alliance between videogames and movies.

And before you let me know about all of the great movies that I’m overlooking, let’s run through some of the basics.

Resident Evil- Perfectly decent movie? Condemned by critics, and spoiled by a terrible sequel. Lara Croft:Tomb Raider- Another nice popcorn flick. But once again, demolished by critics, and spolied by a mediocre sequel. Well then, how about Final Fantasy:Spirits Within? It wasn’t too bad, right? It was pretty, and… well, it was pretty. It also lost a ton of money for the studio, and was once again panned by the media .

Get the picture? Those are some of the best of the bunch! Studios get lured in by the chance to connect directly with their most prized demographic, but end up alienating both their core audience and pretty much everyone else. We’ll see if Doom, the upcoming movie starring The Rock manages to avoid repeating history, but early buzz is not very positive.

It doesn’t have to be this way, right? At least video games based on movies are doing pretty well! The Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Superman, Spiderman have all translated into critical and commerically successful games, true. But if you think about it, those are all properties that came first from comic books. They simply don’t count, because the characters and storylines and appeal came first from somewhere besides the big screen. Lord of the Rings gets knocked off of the winner’s platform for the same reason.

That leaves us with a few classics (Goldeneye- N64 anyone), and a lot of mediocre to awful games.

Here are some of the worst of the worst- 5 movies based on games, and vice versa.


*House of the Dead – Terrible idea, worse movie. Blame Uwe Boll- but just blame someone so that we can rest assured that this sort of travesty won’t happen again. Currently #45 on the worst movies on IMDB .

*Super Mario Brothers- I like John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins, but this movie makes people cry.

*Wing Commander- Yes, they made a movie. No, you shouldn’t see it. Bad casting, terrible dialogue, and like the rest of the movies on this list was barely connected to the game.

*Mortal Kombat: Annihilation- The original movie had a good soundtrack, Christopher Lambert, and a few excellent scenes. The sequel failed in every aspect.

*Street Fighter- Jean-Claude Van Damme! Raul Julia! A script written by brain-dead monkeys! And not even a good fight scene.


*Fight Club- A great book, an excellent movie, and a crappy, senseless, unredeemable game. Beat yourself up and save the money you’d waste having this game abuse you. On the list, despite the literary source, because it’s just so damn sad.

*E.T.- A classic failure. Rushed to make the Christmas deadline, the game was unplayable, and helped speed the demise of Atari. 5 million copies of this game were destroyed- but it didn’t stop the pain.

*Evil Dead: Hail to the King- Wow. Bruce Campbell can’t even save this stinker. Poorly designed, repetitive, and buggy.

*Last Action Hero- Proof that crappy movies can inspire even crappier games. Little more than a junky clone of Double Dragon.

*Toys- Simply confusing. Belongs on the list because of the incredible failure of the game to capture any part of the movie, entertain in any way, or even work as a game.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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