Film adaptations of books are usually better or worse. It all depends on how much the director wants to interfere in the work, and whether he understands the message hidden in the work. Of course, this also works in the case of computer games. The world of film is full of attempts that have been made to screen a given book, and thus dress one medium in another. Fans usually get white fever when the phrase "screen adaptation" is uttered. No wonder. Interestingly, it's not so bad the other way around...
All right - maybe it wasn't the highest quality production. It certainly treated Alessa's story a bit lightly, changing quite a few familiar details. Despite this, the visuals were really great and evoked a healthy dose of fear. On top of that, the atmospheric music and pretty good acting make Silent Hill a rather nice tribute to the fans. It's not outstanding, but it's good enough.
Unfortunately, it had a weak sequel, which we should drop a veil of silence on.
The secret to success: As far as success goes, Silent Hill owes a lot to the game's brand itself and the fact that, as a horror film per se, it's quite professionally shot.
Prince of Persia
The cinematic version of Prince of Persia has as many supporters as opponents. The visuals, just like in Silent Hill, are stunning - the special effects, costumes, combat, music, and choice of actors create a unique atmosphere. It is not, of course, a very faithful production to the game, but it is still enjoyable to watch. Admittedly, the plot gaps make your teeth ache more than once. And they make fans complain quite a lot.
In reality, Prince of Persia actually lacks "that something". Perhaps it's a matter of the fact that the entire mood of the film, built by the director's vision, is quite different from the concept that guided the creators of the original title. Nevertheless, The Sands of Time is quite enjoyable to watch.
The secret of success: A big budget can save even potentially bad movies. Prince of Persia defends itself in several moments precisely because of how much was put into its production. It shows.
Final Fantasy VIII: Advent Children
Advent Children is living proof of how a movie sequel should be made. Of course, it's still just an animated feature that feels more like an anime than a live-action film. Nevertheless, Advent Children is simply very good. Not only does it tell the rest of the story, but it also gives vivid colour to the characters we know from the game. Cloud is depressed after the deaths of Zack and Aeris, Tifa is trying to be motherly to the wrong kids, Vincent is always there to save everyone's ass, and Sephiroth... see for yourself if you haven't already.
Sure, someone might say that the plot of Advent Children is a typical plot construct. The creators didn't really try too hard to create something very original. Nevertheless, it is the most enjoyable of the entries to watch. Not only does it remain faithful to the existing story, but also adds a nice piece of it.
And then there's "One-Winged Angel". A beautiful piece.
Reason for success: The Japanese know how. Advent Children is a canonical continuation of the lives of your favorite characters. What's more, it's very pleasing to the eye and is full of scenes in which our favourite characters beat up the bad guys in ever more imaginative ways.
Warcraft: The Beginning
Another candidate on the list of films that look nice, but otherwise have nothing to offer. It's not just a generic short where we don't even get a taste of Draenor and Azeroth. Familiar motifs are treated in a glum manner, especially the opening of the famous portal. Fans rated Warcraft as simply boring. Even the excellent Travis Fimmel, whom we loved in "Vikings", behaves in this production as if he had to play there as a punishment.
It's hard to even describe what the film is about. It's just that people are attacked and have to defend themselves. Somewhere in all this, however, the dynamics known from the games are lost, the sense and general atmosphere is lost. Of course, those who know the Warcraft universe will enjoy it. However, those who forgot or came to the cinema just to get acquainted with the brand, left feeling very frustrated. No wonder - if you don't know the world, you won't get anything out of this movie.
It's a shame.
Reason for... success: It definitely built on its own brand, but it failed. Too flat, too abbreviated.
Pokemons is a good example of how you can turn a successful game into a pretty successful animation. We've had a TV series, we've had a couple of feature films, all wrapped up in a meaningful and worthwhile story. I guess everyone has become attached to Ash Ketchum (who, admittedly, doesn't grow up at all during the series) and his friendly companions. Ash, of course, is the animated equivalent of Red and goes through more or less the same adventures.
The care with which Nintendo has treated the brand has made Pokemons living proof that it's simply possible to make a sensible game adaptation. What's more, as of today, people who talk about Pokemons are more likely to have the series in mind.
The reason for success: The Japanese know how. Pokemons were perfect material for a series and a feature film. They also have the advantage of being animation - they're allowed more.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Angelina Jolie doesn't save this story like she should. Anyone expecting a great storyline was a bit disappointed. Anyone who wanted to feel the adventure vibe that is omnipresent in the Tomb Raider brand got a glass - because not a bucket - of cold water on the head. Fortunately, it's still a pretty decent movie.
Of course, the production has its pluses. The fight scenes are great, Angelina fits the role of Lara well, the visuals are pleasing to the eye. The plot, though not thrilling, makes some sense and fits nicely into the whole story of Miss Croft. It is a piece of interesting cinema for a long autumn evening. If you're not dogmatically attached to every element of the game world, you're sure to have a good time.
Reason for success: Good casting.
The above titles are rated relatively well (aside from that unfortunate Warcraft). But what if an absolute dilettante takes over the film and serves us digested, uneatable content?
Alone in the Dark: Shadow Island
Uwe Boll is a bit like our politicians. Whatever he doesn't touch, he's going to mess it up. In fact, his main source of amusement is supposedly suing critics, who have bitter and unpleasant words for his films. Alone in the Dark is so stupid, so devoid of sense and elementary logic that it should be placed on the "how not to make movies" pedestal right next to The Room.
What do the film and the game have in common? The title. The main characters' task is not to be eaten by hordes of monsters. The characters themselves are, of course, so shallow and boring that one gets the impression that Uwe Boll took them out of a drama school for home-grown actors. And if it weren't for the fact that we're struck by the words "THEY ARE - Christian Slater, Tara Reid" I would really believe that someone simply chose a pair of talentless clones for this film. I have no idea what Boll must have done that killed the potential of these two in such a brutal way. Seriously.
Alone in the dark is perfect for an evening of "watching crap". Not necessarily a sober evening.
The reason for failure: Uwe Boll.
Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King
As if the defloration of one title wasn't enough, Uwe Boll took on another. Dungeon Siege is a bravura tale of a farmer who one day goes into battle to defend his kingdom. Since apparently farming serves the development of martial arts, instead of a rite of passage we suddenly have a kind of enlightenment, a kind of illumination. The protagonist grabs a sword and bangs on Jose! We will beat the scoundrels and the wicked!
Uwe Boll forgot one thing. In every game, we start from zero. Or at least from a small amount. We don't immediately step into the middle of a fight, we don't use our fists to beat everyone who comes along. Even Geralt in the third part of The Witcher has a rather modest initial budget. The farmer is not a credible character. Yes, he knew how to fight in the game too, it can all be justified, but damn it - he didn't start out the way Boll presented it! It's cinema, damn it!
Reason for failure: Uwe Boll.
There are, of course, more such films. Resident Evil has also been filmed, as have Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Max Payne and many others. However, you can have your say about these films - do you think they are worthy of recommendation? Or maybe you have your own thoughts on those already mentioned?