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From Consoles to the Big Screen: 5 Impressive Video Game Movie Adaptations

From cult followings to legacy-threatening missteps, here are some of the biggest releases in the gaming community

Rolling Stone India Jul 06, 2021

Justice Smith, Pikachu and Kathyrn Newton in 'Pokemon Detective Pikachu.' Photo: Warner Bros. Picture

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Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Based on the ultra-popular eponymous video game franchise, Assassin’s Creed is a sci-fi movie directed by Justin Kurzel (Macbeth). Actor-producer Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs, Inglourious Basterds) takes the lead as Callum Lynch, along with Marion Cotillard (Contagion, Inception) as Sofia and Jeremy Irons (Die Hard, Justice League) as Rikkin. Set in the same universe as the game, the movie follows a new story to expand the video game mythology and brings an urban twist to the plot. Cal Lynch (Fassbender) is a modern-day man who chanced upon a machine that lets him travel back to the Spanish Inquisition to explore his ancestral secret, revealing the new world of the Assassin Brotherhood to him. 

Lara Croft/Tomb Raider (2001 – 2003, 2018)

The Tomb Raider franchise has always been a favorite of the audience. Although the game has had more than ten titles released so far, the movies are still a little behind. Starring Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003) were well received in their time but may not do well for today’s audience because of its lack of a comprehensive storyline. However, the franchise made a strong comeback in the cinema space with the reboot Tomb Raider (2018) starring Alicia Vikander, welcoming a more emotional approach. 

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Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

This 3D animated movie about the world’s fastest hedgehog (albeit imaginary) was one of the most anticipated movies of all time. But like any other video-game-turned-movie situation, the fans were geared up for the release only to be disappointed with the initial animation of Sonic. Hundreds of memes and trolls later, the animators deferred the release from November 2019 to February 2020 to redesign everyone’s favorite prickly friend and make him more like the video games. Sonic the Hedgehog became the highest-grossing superhero film in 2020, beating Marvel Studio’s nine-year record. 

Mortal Kombat (1995 – 1997, 2021)

If there is a fan-favorite game-to-movie transformation, it has to be the Mortal Kombat franchise. Made largely to appeal to fans, Mortal Kombat (1995) was very successful, especially in the gaming community, and built a cult following for itself. The sophomore addition, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), did not receive the same response and was a disappointment for the fans and the makers alike. Finally, earlier this year, the franchise released their reboot film Mortal Kombat which targeted the gaming community. Although it lacks emotional depth and has a choppy narrative, fans will love the game-like scenes and graphic violence.  

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

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With Pokémon’s massive worldwide success, it’s a no-brainer to ask for a movie on everyone’s beloved electric furry being – Pikachu. This mystery film is loosely based around the homonymous video game and is directed by Rob Letterman (Gulliver’s Travels, Goosebumps). Thanks to the adorable Pikachu, the movie was received with open arms globally and was a strong competitor for Avengers: Endgame.

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