So, seeing as there’s been absolutely no major film release this week, let’s talk about that Warcraft trailer that came out recently.
Aficionados of video games might notice something a little odd about this trailer. Mostly, it looks like an actual video game for once. This is, in my opinion, absolutely fantastic, because the main reason video game movies are so terrible is that a lot of video games take their plots from other movies. I already know the planned Uncharted movie is going to be terrible because Uncharted is basically a cheap Indiana Jones, just like how the Hitman films were both terrible Jason Bourne knockoffs.
In my last countdown about video games, I praised DOA for being a perfect translation from the computer screen to the cinema screen, and that’s because the filmmakers knew what made the games good and stuck to it, not by trying to turn it into a cheaper version of an existing movie. And Warcraft looks to do the same; of course it looks goofy and ridiculous! The games are goofy and ridiculous looking! And to celebrate, rather than telling you about what games could be made into rubbish versions of films you’ve already seen, let’s examine some of the more obscure gems of gaming’s history and see what potential Oscar winners we can find…
#5) Another World
Wow. I was not kidding when I said obscure gems, was I?
The much beloved and very old Another World is pretty impressive in that it was made almost entirely by one crazy Frenchman whose dedication to gameplay and narrative was matched only by his hatred for anyone who actually played his game.
Most of Another World’s plot is right there in the title; awesomely named physicist Lester Knight Chaykin is transported to another world and must survive. It’s highly atmospheric and full of nervous tension as Lester traverses the massive city he is a fugitive in and is occasionally rescued by his new best friend, an alien who resembles the love child of a gorilla and a potato.
The Ideal Director: Terry Gilliam
Perhaps a seemingly odd choice; Another World has no dialogue and lots of action, while Gilliam’s films all have natural dialogue and he’s admitted himself that he’s never managed to film people hurting each other in an interesting way. But Another World is about Lester’s desperate struggle to survive a hostile alien culture, and Terry Gilliam is just about the only person who can put a character into a city centre and make them feel utterly alone. That, plus his knack for stunning visuals, make him one of the few directors who could capture the visual wonder of potato-headed monkey men and dragons made out of Paper Mache.
Ok, it was the 90’s, Eric Chahi didn’t have the best computers to work with.
#4) Mother 3
All of the Mother games are infamous for being weirder than a breadfish. While all ostensibly comedies, they have a sick fascination with pairing up cartoony, whimsical graphics with soul crushing misery and tragedy, and Mother 3 is by far the weirdest and the saddest.
The world of Mother 3 is filled with quirky characters with funny little designs and funny little quotes, and we the audience get to watch every single one of them get emotionally destroyed as they join forces to fight an evil time travelling industrialist who wants to destroy the world out of boredom.
The Ideal Director: Pete Docter
So from that description alone, you know a Mother 3 movie would be a Docter-helmed Pixar film. Docter has made us cry over the disposal of toys and even imaginary friends, and Mother 3 starts with the protagonist’s mother being shot and ends with him destroying the world after watching his brother commit suicide. You won’t even be able to see the cinema screen through the tears, and you could swim home on the rivers coming out of children’s eyes as they watch a demented musician torture a monkey.
#3) Silent Hill 2
And speaking of depressing!
Highly regarded as one of the best horror games of all time, Silent Hill 2 tells the story of James Sunderland, who receives a letter from his wife asking him to come to the town of Silent Hill. A little peculiar as she’s been dead for three years, but James goes anyway because he’s a moron. What follows is possibly the best story told in a game, with layers upon layers of subtext tackling abandonment, sex, depression, suicide and loneliness, combined with some of the most psychologically disturbing imagery of all time. The game is filled with blood and insects and grime and allusions to religion and…
… now, that sounds familiar…
The Ideal Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Actually, I’m not the first person to think of a Del Toro helmed Silent Hill project, as he was brought in to make one of the games. That got cancelled, because the universe is a terrible place, but if Del Toro is never going to be allowed to make that Cthulu movie he’s desperate to make, why can’t he use another property to make the entire world reach for their brown trousers?
#2) Super Metroid
Super Metroid is the heartrending tale of a mother going against the odds to reunite with her adopted child… who is a soul-sucking jellyfish kidnapped by a space dragon who is also a pirate.
As silly a set-up as it is, Super Metroid is a game that manages to take itself very seriously, the ultimate villain being a gigantic brain notwithstanding. The atmosphere is moody, frightening and isolating, heavily inspired by Alien, and the game also stars Samus Aran, one of the greatest female characters in fiction. This is a woman so bone-crunchingly awesome that she struts around in a bikini if you beat the game fast enough and is still considered to be a feminist icon. She kicks so much arse that she needs scented boot polish to get rid of the smell of bum, and makes Katniss Everdeen look like Bette Midler.
The Ideal Director: Ridley Scott
At first, I was going to say “literally anyone but Ridley Scott,” but then this year he made The Martian and proved that his brain hadn’t been replaced with a toaster in 2005. So now he doesn’t want to make terrible movies anymore, maybe he can give Super Metroid a spin; after all, Samus is just Ellen Ripley with a nuclear device strapped to her arm. It’d be a match made in heaven, as long as we get the Ridley Scott who made Blade Runner rather than the one who made Robin Hood.
#1) Hotline Miami
I don’t think I’ve ever played anything more skin-crawlingly and disgustingly violent than Hotline Miami. Decapitating waves of policemen, pouring a pan of boiling water onto a man’s face, pressing your thumbs into a woman’s eyes before crushing her skull, Hotline Miami is one of the most twisted creations ever.
And I adore it.
The ambiguous story of a mentally disturbed hitman killing Russian mobsters at the behest of his answering machine for no discernable reason feels at times like a drug-induced hallucination, with its garish colours and 80’s soundtrack. While intentionally blurring the line between reality and dreams, Hotline Miami’s plot is simple enough to not interrupt the action, while being engaging enough to carry the audience through, and playing it is one of the biggest rushes of adrenaline I have ever had.
The Ideal Director: Gareth Evans
If you don’t love The Raid, stop lying; you love The Raid. It’s as simple a set up you could ask for with an action film; big building full of baddies, a man walks in and redecorates the walls with spinal columns. Gareth Evans has shown that he can direct action and make a bare-bones plot engaging; just give everyone awful fashion and blaring synth music, and boom! Jarkarta becomes 1980’s Miami, and then all you need is someone to murder their way through it. It would instantly be the best video game movie ever.
Though even 80’s fashion wouldn’t look as goofy as Warcraft.
Which video games do you think should have their own movies? Leave a comment in the box below!