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'Top five video game movies

September 21, 2007

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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Movies and games. Games and movies. History tells us they don't go together quite as well as peanut butter and jelly or Mario and Luigi, but that won't stop film studios from making 'em, though. Just look at this week's list of movie releases, and you'll see Resident Evil: Apocolypse hitting the big screen, and with plenty of big names behind it no less (Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter and Carlos Olivera to name just a few). But you know what? There are a few gems out there if you give them a try. Before I give my list of favourite video game movies, just remember a couple of things - it helps to have a healthy love of all video games, but more importantly, check your brain at the door. These aren't, nor will they ever be considered, anything close to Academy Award material. They're there for the same reason video games exist - for fun. And all of these are a lot of fun as far as I'm concerned.

DoomDoom: Another movie that the most hardcore of Doom fans loved to hate, but I thought did a great job of capturing certain aspects of the third game in the series. Keep in mind that of course this movie is going to be a little 'brighter', so-to-speak, than the games because, well, it's a movie and no one would spend $10 to see a movie about a bunch of marines running around in near darkness. Also keep in mind you can't have an action movie based on a game involving only one person (like in the game). No matter how big a fan you are of Karl Urban or the Rock, there's no way in Doom's hell they'd be able to carry a movie almost exclusively on their own. What makes this movie work are the setpieces - which look like they're taken straight out of Doom 3 the game - the enemies, and most importantly, the first-person action sequence near the end of the film that sets the bar for how an FPS should look onscreen. It was done to near-perfection and it was great that the director didn't hold back in terms of gore.

The Wizard: Why this movie gets such a bad rap I will never understand. This movie came out at the height of Nintendo's popularity, before the console wars erupted. Admittedly, the movie was very much a Nintendo commercial from beginning to end, showing off everything from The Legend of Zelda to the Power Glove ("It's so rad"). Besides all that, I still remember how utterly awestruck I was when I saw Super Mario Bros. 3 for the first time - that was pure movie magic that could make a game-playing pre-teen salivate - and oh, how it did. I knew the game would appear in the movie, so when they unveiled it near the end of the film on the giant screen at the video game tournament, I almost peed my pants ... and I think it's altogether possible that I actually wet myself. You also get the one-two punch of Christian Slater and Fred Savage as brothers, and you have yourself a pretty unbeatable combination. I think every young boy was a little jealous toward the main character. You know, the little kid who pretty much did two things in The Wizard - play video games and say 'California.' And what has that guy done since? Actually, I looked him up on the Interweb, and he did appear in American Pie 2 (as 'High School Guy') and Jeepers Creepers II. Proof positive that he peaked too soon in a classic movie.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits WithinFinal Fantasy - The Spirits Within: I'm the furthest thing from a Final Fantasy fan, but this movie I did enjoy. No need to watch a slew of characters take turns attacking and defending; I could just sit back and revel in how beautiful this movie was. If you're someone who loves a graphically-stunning video game, this is the movie for you. The characters look photorealistic in their movements and in their detail. The plot is easy to follow and requires no prior knowledge of the games.

Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse: As an absolute fanatic of the Resident Evil series of games, I had every right to pick this movie apart and hate it from beginning to end, but you know what? It's pretty darn good. There are plenty of little things the moviemakers did to pay homage to the games themselves. Besides the overall dark mood and atmosphere in Raccoon City (which captures the game perfectly), even little things like how the zombie dogs walk and how zombie humans climb out of holes in the wall without notice and crawl across the floor just like they do in the games, is fantastic to watch. The best part about this movie was that as a change of pace, there's a section in Resident Evil 4 the game that actually borrows directly from RE2 the movie. Very cool stuff indeed! It doesn't hurt that the movie has some sweet eye candy in the form of Milla Jovovich and Sienna Guillory, either. Staaaaaaaars.........

Grandma's BoyGrandma's Boy - Pure. Comic. Genius. I don't know how many people have guffawed whenever I mention how funny this movie is. Most of those people who laugh it off, actually end up loving the movie once they actually give it a chance, quoting it in everyday conversation just like all the rest of the converted Grandma's Boy follows the hijinks of a 35-year-old video game tester who, through several unfortunate incidents, ends up living with his grandmother and her two female roommates. Much of the movie takes place in the offices where the testers work, and every scene is geek-gold, with many thanks going to the character called J.P. ("I'm thinking about getting metal legs. It's a risky operation, but I think it'll be worth it"). So next time someone suggests watching Grandma's Boy, and you think only death would be a worse fate - give it a try. You just might like it!

 
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