7 Of The Best Movies Based On Games

Video games and movies have a mixed relationship. In this list, let’s celebrate the high points with the 7 best films based upon games that have ever been created!

From Uwe Boll’s range of cinematic excretions-come-sweet tax breaks to The Rock’s first person Doom, we have been witness to many many terrible films that butcher the very games they’re based on. Check out 16 Bit Dad’s list of just seven of these.

And so, inspired by this list, I present the second #BlogVengers rebuttal - a “glass half full” approach to this questionable connection. Seven of the best films based on video games.

*Quick rules: films actually based on (sharing names with) video games. Not films with heavy references to games (sorry, no Wreck-It Ralph in this list). And this is my opinion, so if you don’t agree, please debate in the comments with at least some respect.

7. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

And so, we start this list with a Final Fantasy movie. Personally, I believe the 2001 classic was far superior, which is why you’ll see it further down the list. But that doesn’t mean this was an entertaining enough romp!

With some amazing voice acting talent and an important responsibility of telling the backstory of Final Fantasy XV, this expansion of the universe is important viewing for those fans of the game.

6. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is arguably one of the best platformers on PS2/Xbox/GameCube. The parkour puzzles were innovative and forced people to think about their surroundings differently. Pair this with a unique universe of colourful characters and brilliant sound design (kudos to the foley artists on this one), and you had a masterpiece.

Does it translate well into a film? I would say so, but critics seem to have an awkward time with this movie. Ben Kingsley absolutely nails the traitorous uncle (every British guy makes for a good bad guy), the set action pieces are typical over-the-top Disney goodness (back at the height of their Pirates of the Caribbean creativity), and director Mike Newell makes everything look tidy.

5. Ratchet & Clank

There’s not much to say about this really. You already thought Ratchet & Clank games were so graphically detailed & explosively colourful that they looked like Pixar movies… Sony just joined those dots!

The animated adventure of one of PlayStation’s most popular duos simply tells their origin story and marks out their quest to overcome evil. A simple family film premise that is perfectly entertaining enough.

What it lacks in emotional depth, it makes up for packed charming characters and solid performances.

4. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Cast your mind back to 2001. The movie industry and audience alike loved a good family animated flick. Pixar was hitting their stride and Shrek became an instant hit.

Nothing quite like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within had never been attempted. It was the first big budget flick to attempt realistic human characters, and it stands out in the history of animation as a real technical milestone.

The story is pretty nuts-and-bolts space opera and it lacks some intelligence in telling said story, but visually, this was a big moment for the industry. Very much like what Avatar was back at release - a visual feast with the weighty plot of Pocohontas meets The Smurfs.

3. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

All the respect in the world to Alicia Vikander for her recent portrayal, but Angelina Jolie was born to fulfil the role of Lara Croft.

Much like many of the choices on this lift, the game’s story may not translate into a gripping on-screen tale. However, the action scenes are brilliant - showing just how well gameplay can translate into the cinema.

That can be said for the majority of movies, though. 

2. Need For Speed

Aaron Paul’s first major post-Breaking Bad movie bid was 2014’s adaptation of EA’s long running game series - Need For Speed. 

Now, I’ll get the obvious question out the way… Why on Earth is a Fast & Furious rip off so high up on this list? To be honest, beyond number 1, these spots were tricky to pick. But I put this here for two words: mindless carnage.

There is a story in there somewhere, but who cares? You never watched the aforementioned Fast & Furious for the plot, so why not judge this on a level playing field?

True, it was no masterpiece, but the car chases were fun and holistically, it was a fun distraction - something that Hollywood is good at pulling off.

It may not have been good business, looking at the numbers. But Aaron’s first big foray onto the big screen is a good time while it lasts.

1. Ace Attorney

Otherwise known Gyakuten Saiban, this 2012 adaptation of Capcom’s visual novel went relatively under the radar in the west - receiving a Japan-only theatre launch. However, don’t sleep on it, as this masterpiece is actually one of the best video game movies I’ve ever seen.

Retelling the story of the first, second and fourth cases of the original game, director Miike Takashi stays closer to the source material than any other film in this list, while taking some of the game’s elects to their logical conclusions - such as turning the three day cases into spectator sports where fans buy tickets and lawyers have pre-fight interviews.

By emulating and exaggerating the game’s key hooks, Miike created a really engaging movie that stands on its own legs as a gripping legal thriller/drama. But when viewed through the lens of a gamer, it’s utterly mindblowing.

A must-see that you probably didn’t know existed until I told you about it just now.