A list of the best video game movies? Some would call such a list impossible. Video games and movies haven’t exactly been best friends. At times, they’ve barely been mild acquaintances. Yet despite this, there are indeed some video game movies that have overcome the odds.
We’re going to honor those movies today and run down the video game movies that didn’t suck.
No wait, better than that: movies based on video games that are actually good.
It’s a difficult task, I know, but someone has to do it. That someone is going to be me.
Tomb Raider (2018) is let down by a weak story but the performances elevate it enough to be enjoyable
Tomb Raider (2018) is the reboot of the Tomb Raider film franchise. It was released in 2018 and is disturbed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It stars Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Daniel Wu, and Walton Goggins.
On the one hand, the Tomb Raider reboot is better than the original film services. On the other hand, that’s not exactly a high bar to reach.
The story acts as both an origin for the Lara Croft character, as well as a somewhat faithful adaptation of the video game series. While the narrative serves as adequate, it’s the performance of the cast that elevates the movie.
Vikander is Lara Croft. She owns both the character and performance, helping to save the film from what would have otherwise been a certain disaster. The supporting cast also performs well around her.
Plus, anything with Walton Goggins is going to be enjoyable.
Sonic the Hedgehog Is the Perfect Balance of Staying True to Its Roots While Providing an Original Spin
The Sonic the Hedgehog movie released in 2020. It was distributed by Paramount Pictures and stars Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, and Jim Carrey.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Sonic the Hedgehog make the jump beyond just video games. There were not one but two television series. Archie Comics also printed a comic strip based on Sonic and the “Freedom Fighters.”
While these past television shows were enjoyable enough Saturday Morning cartoons, they weren’t really memorable beyond that. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie, however, is.
Blending the perfect amount of original ideas and source material, both Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey absolutely nail their roles. Partnered with James Marsden as an “everyman” type character, the Sonic movie is honestly way better than it has every right to be.
I mean, you all remember the first design for Sonic, right?
Featuring a great mixture of heart, humor, and action, Sonic the Hedgehog is easily one of the best video game movies to ever see the silver screen.
Final Fantasy: Advent Children Isn’t Perfect, but It’s Still a Good Time
Final Fantasy: Advent Children was released in 2005 and is distributed by Square Enix. It stars Steve Burton and Rachael Leigh Cook.
If you ever wanted to experience a sequel to Final Fantasy VII in movie form, then Advent Children is everything you’ll ever want. For everyone else, it’s honestly going to be hit or miss.
The first time I watched it, I knew very little about the Final Fantasy VII story. Despite this, Advent Children still packs plenty of punch, thanks in part to the beyond impressive visuals and well-choreographed action sequences.
Even long-time fans may be confused by the narrative. Dialogue is on par with what you’d expect recently from Square Enix. In reality, I might be overthinking things here. Advent Children is the Square Enix version of a popcorn movie. It’s dumb but still a good time, making it an easy inclusion on our list of best video game movies.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 can’t escape the shadow of its predecessor, but it’s still one of the best video game movies ever made
Releasing in 2022, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is distributed by Paramount Pictures. It stars Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, and Idris Elba.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is more Sonic the Hedgehog, and that’s a great thing.
Does some of the charm and heart of the original get boggled down in the sequel? Unfortunately, yes; some of the best moments of the original were rooted in the film’s origin story. As a sequel, Sonic 2 lacks those beats.
Still, the sequel knows to stick with what works and avoid the pitfalls of what would not work. It’s not a bad movie by any means; the original was just that good.
When it comes to video game movies, Sonic 2 is still one of the best despite its shortcomings.
Mortal Kombat (1995) Has Aged Like a Fine Bottle of Wine
Mortal Kombat was released in 1995 and was distributed by New Line Cinema. It stars Robin Shou, Christopher Lambert, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.
1995’s Mortal Kombat is pure camp in the best possible way. This is a movie that is never going to appear on any awards list, but it’s still ahead of its time as one of the greatest video game movies.
Everything, between the set design, combat, and action does well to live up to the source material. There is no doubt that this is a Mortal Kombat movie through and through.
Except for the PG-13 rating, that is. I understand that rated R movies in 1995 are not the same as rated R movies in 2022, but still. Come on now.
1995’s Mortal Kombat is a real good time that provides a faithful enough adaptation while still succeeding as a movie. Plus, that theme song is a banger.
Pokemon Detective Pikachu Met the Hype to Become One of the Best Video Game Movies Ever Made
Releasing in 2019, Detective Pikachu is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It stars Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, and Ken Watanabe.
Detective Pikachu certainly isn’t the first Pokemon movie, but it’s certainly the best.
Few movie adaptations are able to perfectly integrate the universe of its source material without alienating a general audience. Detective Pikachu is the exception to this.
A world of Pokemon and humans existing together is well accepted without heavy-handed explanations. The decision to forgo any type of origin story works wonders; we don’t need to understand the ins and outs of this universe.
The constant easter eggs are both icing on the cake and a great wink to Pokemon fans.
I can’t believe I’ve gone this far without talking about Ryan Reynolds. He absolutely steals the show, as is expected.
Wreck-It Ralph Wears Its Inspiration Like a Badge of Honor, Resulting in One of the Best Video Game Movies Ever Made
Wreck-It Ralph was released in 2012 and is distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It stars John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and Jack McBrayer.
Technically, Wreck-It Ralph isn’t based on one video game. Instead, it’s inspired by the entire video game industry. Featuring a mix of iconic game characters and unique video game settings, Wreck-It Ralph embraces its inspiration.
The movie’s narrative uses the video game themes perfectly. It tells the story of characters who want to become more than what they’re programmed to be. The film’s writing and performances elevate the story to something truly special.
Not that it needed any help. Wreck-It Ralph may be the best video game movie ever made.
Did we miss anything on our list of the best video game movies? Whether it’s legitimately enjoyable films or guilty pleasures, let us know what you would have added in the comments below!