Disney's 'Prince of Persia' is hitting DVD shelves this week, and while the latest addition to the history of perfectly serviceable video game flicks wasn't the franchise-booster the studio was counting on, I wouldn't bet that Hollywood is done with video game movies just yet. Last weekend at the box office proved once again that game franchise fans will always stand up and show their pride on opening weekend -- and if there is money to be made Hollywood will continue to return to the well again, and again ... and again. Which might sound depressing to you non-gamers or gamer haters, but I'm an optimist, and I choose to believe that video games are just as good as any other medium, like novels or board games -- you just have to do it right.
Everybody thinks they have the perfect formula for making a video game into a great movie (the world is full of armchair quarterbacks, and I'm no different), but for most gamers, one of the frustrating things about most console-to-big screen endeavors is that they usually bear little resemblance to the game that everyone loved in the first place. Take for example 'Silent Hill'. There was a game with great design, atmosphere, and a relatively cinematic plot, but by the time the title made it to the big screen everything was different, and not in a good way. In fact, if you scan a list of some of the video game flicks in the last couple of years you'll see that they all suffer from a similar fate.
We are living in a golden age of video games, and we've come a long way from Pong. Games now have stories and visuals that are just as complex as anything we can get at the movies, which is why today's Cinematical Seven is about video games still out there that have what it takes to be great movies.
Lord knows I'm not the first person to think of making a big-screen version of Irrational Games' groundbreaking game. And even though it hasn't worked out so well for Hollywood as of yet, a girl can daydream. My inner fan girl can't help but wonder what Jack's journey to the underwater city of Rapture would look like on the big screen -- I'll just keep my fingers crossed that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has better luck than Mr. Verbinski did.
There is just something about an apocalypse that guarantees a good time. In the third installment of the RPG shooter, you are an escapee from Vault 101 out in the wilds of a nuked-out cityscape. What the game lacks in wall-to-wall action it makes up for in atmosphere, and don't get me wrong: there's plenty of carnage to go around. The game mixes together a creepy 50's vibe mixed with 'Mad Max'-style bad guys, and I can't help but wonder what a splatter happy director like Neil Marshall could do with that kind of story.
American McGee's creation is another long suffering potential movie project, and while plenty of people have tried to make the third-person shooter into a reality, it doesn't look like it is going to happen anytime soon. But I was never one to give up hope, and with fingers crossed, I hope someone can still bring this twisted vision of 'Alice in Wonderland to the big screen. Tim Burton may have tried to make a trippy Alice fun for the whole family, but I'm a little more interested in an Alice that is a little more gore-soaked.
'Metal Gear Solid'
The long-running franchise has something that most games can't claim, and that's memorable characters. 'Solid' is one of the most beloved titles in video game history -- and the franchise is still up and running 12 years after it first began. The project has been in development a long time and was recently pronounced DOA, but, if the success of 'The Expendables' taught us anything, it's that that people still love their larger-than-life action heroes and Snake is one of the greatest of all time.
'Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic'
It may seem strange to nominate a game based on a movie that was eventually spun off into a game, but this 2003 game takes place long before Luke and Leia were a glint in Anakin's eye, and this game had something that the prequels lacked: a reminder of what we all loved about 'Star Wars' in the first place, like big, epic battles, colorful landscapes and serious coolness.
In this first-person shooter your bad guy isn't a dictator run amok or a bloodthirsty army, it's a little girl named Alma. Comparison's have been drawn between the game and the tradition of soggy little girls of Japanese horror, but the combination of action and atmosphere could make for a great 'REC' style horror, don't you think?
I know what you're thinking: Didn't they already make a movie based on this? Well technically, yes, but as any fan of Ms. Rayne will tell you -- those films had nothing in common with the blood sucker we know and love. So that's why I decided to work through my issues with those substandard movies and nominate the slayer for a reboot. Majesco's original game had it all: sweet cinematic locations, a bad-ass heroine with nifty weapons, and, um, you got to kill Nazi's! C'mon, what more could you want in a movie?
Now I'll turn it over to you for suggestions. Which video games would you nominate for big-screen adaptations?