Uwe Boll has made a career of adapting video games for the big screen. The German filmmaker, nicknamed “the Master of Error” for his sloppily-made pictures, brought us House of the Dead (No. 56 on IMDB’s Bottom 100) and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (five per cent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes) among other crimes against cinema.
One that thankfully escaped Boll’s grasp is this weekend’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Despite the LA Times sweeping declaration that games don’t work as movies, Hollywood heavyweight Jerry Bruckheimer adapted Ubisoft’s hit game into a mega budget summer film.
In it, Jake Gyllenhaal plays an adventurous prince who must protect the mystical Dagger of Time while also romancing a pretty princess (Gemma Arterton).
Whether this is a blockbuster-in-waiting remains to be seen, but so far finding a good video game movie is harder than making it to level four of Ghosts ’n Goblins.
The first video game movie set the tone for many to come. 1993’s Super Mario Bros., based on the popular Nintendo game, is so awful its star, Bob Hoskins, calls it “the worst thing I ever did.” Critics agreed.
But not all gamer movies are bargain bin-bound. Many of these movies are popular with audiences.
A recent poll revealed interesting insight into what gaming enthusiasts want in their movies.
“The X-factor in a game-to-film adaptation is a strong female lead,” said Helen Cowley, of the TV and film rental service Lovefilm. The poll is topped by films anchored by women in lead roles — Silent Hill, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Resident Evil, “so we’re hoping Gemma Arterton gives Jake Gyllenhaal a run for his money in the Prince of Persia,” Cowley adds.
Richard Crouse’s Movie Show can be seen every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on the E! Channel; firstname.lastname@example.org.