Best Movies About or Based On Video Games 
Wed, April 21, 2021

Best Movies About or Based On Video Games 

Despite of some bad video game adaptations, there are still a number of successful adaptations happened / Photo Credit: Shutterstock


The history of video game movies has never been the best. There’s honestly just too many variables that get watered down when elaborate video games are given the live-action treatment and it’s been proven true through years of video game movies that are just, well, really bad. The Guardian writer Gretchen Smail explains that part of the reason video game adaptations are bad is studio executives don’t really take these adaptation projects seriously. 

Because, as it turns out, they “often misunderstand what makes the source material so popular to begin with.” 

That may yet be easily upended if you look at the blockbuster success of the new Pokemon movie, which garnered more critical acclaim than any of its video game peers combined. It’s by no means a top performer (its Rotten Tomatoes score is only a 66%), but the top-notch animation and game story to match shows that there is hope yet, but there’s just no lucrative, tangible formula. 

Of course, it can also be argued that Pokemon had an unfair advantage in the game, considering Pokemon is one of the most saturated video game franchises in the world, surpassing all of Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Harry Potter. 

Nostalgia aside, Kotaku writer Brian Ashcraft says that what made the “Detective Pikachu” work as well as it did was because the people involved in the project themselves had a passion for the franchise. They know what they were doing, and knew how to translate years and years of merch and intellectual properties to get the best result from a movie possible. 

Clearly, “Detective Pikachu” is the new standard for video game adaptations done right, although it’s blessedly not the only adaptation that did exceptionally well. Here are some adaptations that live up to their franchises and some movies that have been based on video games and done a great job at it. 



Successful Adaptations

Silent Hill (2006)

“Silent Hill” is a force to be reckoned with in the world of gaming. It’s got that nostalgic appeal, though not as much as someone like Pikachu has. The adaptation was still pretty successful, after accounting for some areas in which the story was “needlessly clunky.” Games Radar writer Rachel Weber feels it is necessary to acknowledge the effort that went into making an adaptation of Silent Hill, if only because it had a good enough effort.   

Resident Evil (2002)

Arguably, the best out of the many movies that were spawned from the video game franchise is the first one, in which Weber insists was where Mila Jovovich, as her character “Alice,” excelled the most. It was full-tilt action and didn’t miss a beat with the audience. Rewatching it now may be strange after our technology has evolved to laugh at the efforts of those at the start of the decade, but that’s alright. The first movie was best in that it was carried perfectly by Alice, and had iconic set-pieces worthy of parallel video game fame recognition. 

Tomb Raider (2018)

Weber included the new “Tomb Raider” to the list despite it just pulling from the movies in large part because Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft was bursting with life. Weber also describes Vikander’s debut as a “watershed moment for video game movies: no longer content with being kept to the shadows, this is a forceful entry filled with star talent that might open up the door for even more video game treasures down the line.” 



Successful Movies About Video Games

Not to be confused with video game-based movies, movies about video games use the world of video games as a setting to the story. Here are some of the successful movies about video games. 

Wreck-It Ralph (2012) 

There’s no doubt that Disney has cooked up the perfect recipe for a successful hit movie, and one of the benefactors of this is 2012’s “Wreck-It Ralph,” Disney’s attempt at creating and spinning off different genres of games to stitch together the perfect video game world. Every game in the movie is an original, and everything else is such a creative masterpiece that it extends into the imaginative rendition of what “the idea of communal life” in an arcade would be like. The result is a “stellar, beautiful, and emotional piece of art,” writes Cinema Blend. 

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017)

So it may have changed everything about the old Jumanji movies, but it’s worth mentioning in this list because of director Jake Kasden’s “smart use” of very common tropes seen in most video game adaptation movies. “Welcome To The Jungle” takes the cake thanks to Kasden’s ability to deliver on “one of the best modern ensemble comedies” in the movie. The fantastic cast was one thing, but it’s actually the way in which the story played around with the concepts usually associated with video game movies that made the movie truly interesting. 


Also, some movies became successful because it is adapted to a video game / Photo Credit: Shutterstock