GWT,  Video Gaming

Why are Movie’s Based on Video Games Disappointing?

So imagine you are young and full of childlike wonder again. Imagine the announcement that your favorite video game, say Super Mario Bros, is being made into a movie. You absolutely love these games and have played them religiously. There is just no way that this movie could disappoint! The day comes and you and your family go to the theaters. Buy the ticket and the overpriced popcorn and flat soda. Then, we are all there to only to witness this movie…

“What happened here?” you ask yourself.

“This is absolutely nothing like the game at all!”

I mean, after all… this is the game… (shout out to Youtuber Riskman2892 for the videos.)

As you can see, the movie is absolutely nothing like the game in almost any way whatsoever. The only thing you can feel is disappointment.

The issue of utter disappointment has been an ongoing issue with movies that are based on popular video games. While later movies in this genre did a better job on matching the source material, the reaction among movie goers is generally the same.

So I went to Twitter to start a conversation with the GeekWithThat community.


Yes, there is some truth to that. Take, for instance, one of my favorite games of the last generation, Bioshock. This game slowly feeds you an amazing story over 10 plus hours. You scratching and clawing your way through Rapture. By the time you get to the game’s major shocking plot twist (no spoilers here), it has been 6 to 7 hours of fighting through a relentless amount of splicers to rescue (or harvest) the Little Sisters. Would such a plot twist have the same effect only an hour into a movie?

Medium Translation

I think this is also a good point. For instance, a first person shooter like the new DOOM really puts you in the game. The experience of slaying demons is satisfying on almost every level. However, an entire action packed movie in first person (e.g. Blair Witch Project) gave numerous people motion sickness.

Just a Cash Grab

This was the most cited reason. That they don’t take the time to properly research and produce a movie. For years, Hollywood just simply didn’t understand how to properly translate comic books from the source material into being palpable for movie audiences. Then they did and, needless to say, it has exploded.

In fairness, this is also the same reason why movies translated into video games also don’t translate as well 95% of the time. Can you name all the great movie-based video games? I can name three off the top of my head … Aladdin, Goldeneye, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. There’s more, but I need at least 3 more cups of coffee to dig a little deeper… 

Fair Efforts

There has been a few movies that stuck to the source material. While by all means they aren’t going to win any awards, they are considered “The Cream of the Crop.”

Silent Hill – This is a respectable movie. It won’t blow you away but the story telling is semi-coherent and sticks to the spirit of the original games.

Resident Evil – The series went off the rails in the sequels but the first one was fairly decent. It also helps that the first game can theoretically be completed in less than 3 hours.

Warcraft – I haven’t personally seen this movie but I hear that it is a solid movie from a lot of people. Not the breakout video game movie we have been wanting, but a fair effort.

Mortal Kombat – This one didn’t age very well. However, as a kid, I absolutely loved this movie. Its incredibly silly but sticks the source material. The less that can be said about the sequel, the better.


Maybe someday we will get someone who can figure out how to solve the riddle of the movie based on a video game. Considering that kids who grew up on video games are becoming adults, that may in fact happen someday. One can only hope. In the meantime, I think I will just stick to the Super Mario Bros game, thank you.

NEXT: What Video Game Powers Would You Like in Real Life?

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