Comedy Writer Mike Drucker Picks the Video Game Adaptations That Got it Right
Although video games have been one of the most popular forms of entertainment for the last 30 plus years, that success has not always translated into great films and television. If we’re keeping it real, most video game adaptations are just plain terrible. One reason some think the art form doesn’t lead to inspired cinema is that the best story-oriented games are so amazing, the movie versions just seem like unnecessary carbon copies.
But what about the games that aren’t so story-centric? Comedy writer, Mike Drucker, has a theory as to why they often miss the mark, as well. “The thing that makes video games fun, is the fact that they're interactive. So when you remove that element, sometimes the plots can be thin.”
Drucker, is not only a stand-up comedian and writer for “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” he’s a video game lover since he was a kid growing up in Florida. In fact before he found success in the comedy world, he fulfilled a lifelong dream of working as an English language writer at Nintendo of America.
Although Drucker concedes that very few video game films make the grade, he does think there are several entertaining adaptations that are worth checking out whether you’re a video game aficionado or not, and he was nice enough to put down his game controller for a minute and share them with Caavo.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Highlander star Christopher Lambert brings some major fantasy movie cred to his role as Lord Raiden, one of the popular game’s most iconic characters. The movie sticks to the basics as we follow our heroes—Liu Kang, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade—as they take on the demonic shapeshifter, Shang Tsung, in an effort to what else? Yep, save the planet.
According to Drucker, the movie works because it leans heavily and unashamedly into the cheese. “They basically said ‘We'll just do an old-style Kung Fu movie, but It'll be just as violent as the games.’”
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
When this movie was made it was the most expensive video game inspired movie ever produced, and once you lay your eyes on the photorealistic computer-animation (the first movie to use this technology) you’ll see why. For Drucker, the movie actually works because it’s so different from the games .”Every Final Fantasy game is not like the any of the others, so it sort of makes sense that the movie is different from the games, and it’s just visually a fascinating movie to watch.”
Resident Evil (2002)
Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez get their badass action hero on in this horror/thriller based on the popular Resident Evil series. Resident Evil is one of the rare video game movies that was also a box office hit. As Drucker points out, you kind of can't lose with a plot that involves t-virus created Zombies. “Although this movie is only loosely based on the games, it really captures their spirit, and is totally fun.”
The newest movie on our list is based on the video game of the same name, and it has all the elements of any big budget summer action flick. This is director Brad Peyton and Dwayne Johnson's third film together, and you can tell the duo are really hitting their blockbuster stride. Drucker sells it best, “It’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with giant monsters. What else do you need?”
This film directed by Duncan Jones is based on the popular multiplayer video game series, World of Warcraft, and fans had high expectations to finally see the battle between the orcs and the humans brought to life on the silver screen. Despite disappointing reviews, Warcraft went on to become the highest grossing video game movie of all time, which is a tribute to how beloved the original game series is.
Drucker thinks it's definitely worth checking out. “This is another one that is visually stunning so you can enjoy it even if you don’t know the game, but of all the ones on this list, this one was definitely made for fans of the game series.”
Tomb Raider (2001)
A reboot of this video game movie classic was released in 2018, but there really is nothing like the Angelina Jolie original. This is the movie that made her into an action star, and her turn as Lara Croft is one for the ages. Drucker appreciates the film as an early video adaptation that really worked. “Lara Croft has a great back story, and this adaptation is super loyal to that.
Silent Hill (2006)
This is the first game on our list that takes on the horror movie genre. This adaptation of Konami’s classic game of the same name really brings some supernatural chills, as we follow the story of a woman searching for her daughter, who has disappeared in a creepy town. It’s Drucker’s favorite movie on the list. “They took all the coolest elements from the Silent Hill games and put them in a blender, and it just works. Another movie that really stuns visually.”
The last adaptation on our list is our only television adaptation. Based on the old school video game, Castlevania follows monster hunter, Trevor Belmont as he takes on Dracula, who has unleashed his army of monster and demons on the nation of Wallachia, and it’s a binge-worthy winner. Drucker can’t say enough good things about it. “Castlevania is probably the best video game adaptation there has ever been, movie or TV. It feels like a Saturday morning cartoon for adults.”
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