Last week I talked about bad video game based movies and provided a list of every one I could recall. Thank the broadband for Wikipedia! When I reviewed the list, it was clear to me that some of the most creative and commercially successful video games were never made into films. For example, why didn’t Lucas Arts ever make a movie based on The Secret of Monkey Island? Well, after what happened in 1993 with the movie Super Mario Brothers, you could understand the reluctance of video game publishers to let any of their original properties be adapted to film. I still think Bob Hoskins was an excellent choice for Mario. I will never forget the giant Koopa trooper I met at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas! Of course, Nintendo created the Pokemon franchise and everyone knows how massively successful that series continues to be since its introduction in 1996 (even the good doctor has his trading card starter pack and music CD’s – I still do a mean Team Rocket voice impersonation “..Prepare for trouble…and make it DOUBLE!”).

Let’s take a look at some video game based movies that Doctor Arkanoid prescribes as recommended viewing:

MORTAL KOMBAT (New Line Cinema, 1995)

I believe that this film shows the right way of how to adapt a video game for the big screen (or today’s HD screen). Mortal Kombat the game has a well developed backstory. There are a set of characters who clearly represent the forces of good and evil. Each of these characters is unique and possesses amazing fighting powers. They also have established relationships with each other, such as Raiden and Shang Tsung. The locations for the battles were exotic and nicely designed. The script for Mortal Kombat was well written and the dialogue was reasonably decent. But for a video game based movie to be a commercial success, it must attract both the video gamer and non-video gamer alike. Gamers were impressed that the movie was faithful to the game’s actual fighting moves and special  finishing techniques. Probably one of the most compelling features of this movie was the soundtrack’s opening techno theme, which eventually was adapted and played in many dance clubs around the the world. Even today, the theme is immediately recognizable. The movie grossed $122 million worldwide.

TOMB RAIDER (Paramount Pictures, 2001)

Ah, Lara Croft. How many gamer hearts have you broken with your beauty, your intelligence, your tight fitting clothes, and your arsenal of weapons? Sure, Metroid has Samus Aran, Street Fighter has Chun-Li, and Dead or Alive has its squad of gorgeous yet vapid beach volleyball bimbos. But frankly my dear, none of them hold a digital candle compared to you! Since her first appearance in 1996, Lara has become the world’s most recognizable video game heroine. So it was only fitting that a larger than life video game character would appear on the big screen. It’s fair to say that Tomb Raider was a natural candidate for a video game based movie because it channels the adventure and action of Indiana Jones with the sophistication  and wit of James Bond. This isn’t a surprise when you realize that not only was Angelina Jolie the perfect choice to play Lara Croft, her nemesis in the movie was none other than Daniel Craig who would later become the new James Bond in Casino Royale. Jon Voight also starred in this film as Lara’s father. Tomb Raider is considered the most commercially successful video game movie yet – it grossed over $300 million worldwide.


The Final Fantasy series of role playing video games started in 1987. The first Final Fantasy game was produced to save the fledgling company from bankruptcy. 22 years later,  Final Fantasy has a huge cult following around the globe. Final Fantasy: Advent Children is a computer generated movie based on the video game Final Fantasy VII, which was produced for the PC and Sony Playstation in 1997 and 1998. The game features two of Square’s most famous video game characters – Cloud Strife and his massive sword versus Sephiroth the one winged dark angel. It’s considered one of Square – Enix’s most successful titles with over ten million units sold. Unlike the epic video game movie disaster Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), this film remained faithful to the mythology and story of the original series. It was also a DVD only release that sold approximately 11 million units worldwide and received several awards for its quality.

In the Doctor’s mind, these three films epitomize the best of the video game based movies released to date.

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid