More than you wanted to know
October 29, 2000 3:44 PM   Subscribe

More than you wanted to know about the "Tomb Raider" movie. What's weird about it all is that the timing sucks. The game has gone through five successive versions and they've used the same basic engine for all of them. These days it's looking significantly dated, and the last couple of games have gotten really poor reviews. Of course, it probably still sells well to frustrated teenage boys, but I think the last couple of games haven't sold anything like the previous ones did because it's the same old same old.

By the time the movie finally comes out, the game may already be history.

Has there ever been a movie made from a computer game which was either a commercial or critical success? "Mortal Combat" and "Super Mario Brothers" spring to mind as counter-examples.
posted by Steven Den Beste (38 comments total)
Tomb Raider was never really a great game, so this movie's success will be determined by how far away it strays from the game it is based on. I could never really understand its popularity but its probably still carrying on with TV shows like "Relic Hunter" (too lazy for links, don't think you'd want one anyway).

Did anyone notice Chris Barrie of Red Dwarf fame, is in this movie? As the butler?

On the topic of computer games transitions, The best thing i've seen is the Earthworm Jim cartoon TV series, which really brought the best out of the characters and produced a much underrated, and hilarious TV series.

posted by aki at 4:26 PM on October 29, 2000

I thought Tron was a fabulous adaptation of the classic video game Space Paranoids.
posted by solistrato at 4:29 PM on October 29, 2000

Actually, Mortal Kombat, though admittedly awful, was a surprise commercial success, even spawning an even more awful sequel. As to the question of whether any other video game has ever launched a profitable film franchise ... um, nothing positive springs to mind. Although I'm sure Sony and Squaresoft are hoping to break that cycle with the $100 million-plus Final Fantasy adaptation currently in production.
posted by highindustrial at 4:38 PM on October 29, 2000

I'll reserve judgement on videogame movies until the Final Fantasy flick hits theaters.
posted by harmful at 4:54 PM on October 29, 2000

Ah... another toplevel movie flick domain.

Anyone want to contribute to the "register expired second level domain names from movies and point them at porn sites" fund?

There *has* to be a way to convince these studios that having their movies *under* "" or whatever is a *good* thing...
posted by baylink at 5:41 PM on October 29, 2000

Hey, I happened to like the Mortal Kombat (with a K!) movies. They managed to keep the flavor of the video game while making a relatively entertaining film. Nothing mind-blowing, but I remember both the MK movies being 90 minutes of well executed shlock. Mario Bros. I didn't like though. Whoever directed it obviously didn't really understand the Mario Bros. genre.

Oh well. I don't think Tomb Raider will be anything to write home about. It's all been done before. Indy Jones, and Relic Hunter come to mind.

The Final Fantasy movie... I've got very high hopes and expectations for.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 5:52 PM on October 29, 2000

Double Dragon was another failure. But i am getting excited at all this Final Fantasy talk.
posted by Zool at 5:58 PM on October 29, 2000

Mortal Kombat was the closest to a good video game movie.

Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, Double Dragon, and from what it appears, Tomb Raider is going to head the same way. Let's hope no one decides to make a Metal Gear film.
posted by Cavatica at 6:03 PM on October 29, 2000

Don't forget Wing Commander! Any movie where the cats are the villains ain't all bad.

posted by smackfu at 6:17 PM on October 29, 2000

I believe the failure for most of these movies, is that they were made to appeal to children.
posted by Zool at 6:19 PM on October 29, 2000

Actually I liked Mario Bros. as a movie, but not because it had anything to do with the video game.
posted by lagado at 6:23 PM on October 29, 2000

Street Fighter was a disaster. It was released way too late. I really like Mortal Kombat though. At least the soundtrack rocked.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 7:23 PM on October 29, 2000

Solistrato, that was your second Tron reference in as many weeks. For your information, I was the one who wrote Space Paranoids. The jerk in the next cube hacked my password, and stole all my games. He didn't even change the names man. Now he runs the company, and all I have is this crummy arcade.
posted by thirteen at 7:48 PM on October 29, 2000

Were't the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies spawned from the Nintendo TNMT video games?
posted by riffola at 8:29 PM on October 29, 2000

The Mortal Kombat review linked in the original post was actually a review of the sequel, which was pretty bad. The first Mortal Kombat movie was perfect, fully realized -- it couldn't have been better.
posted by sudama at 8:37 PM on October 29, 2000

Wing Commander? ...
posted by highindustrial at 8:51 PM on October 29, 2000

TMNT was spawned from the series of very under-rated comic books. worth a read if you get the chance.
posted by DragonBoy at 9:44 PM on October 29, 2000

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were spawned from the comic book series.

(While trying to find a link for this post,
I have found myself to be surprised that
I couldn't easily find a Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtles website...)
posted by crog at 9:46 PM on October 29, 2000

Would most not agree that, many of the above mentioned movies could have been made better, with a lot more effort, which is what upsets me the most.

Great opportunity with strong following, cheap production values.
posted by Zool at 9:47 PM on October 29, 2000

Super Mario Bros. cost a fortune. It was one of Disney's tentpoles the summer it was released. It was simply a terrible film.
posted by highindustrial at 9:50 PM on October 29, 2000

The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics were good, indie-press black & white comics, supposedly a parody of Ronin (which I've never read), but which developed a cult following. Unfortunately (and I can't remember whether or not this happened before or after the movie) the creators sold out, and TMNT got turned into a kiddie cartoon and dumbed-down, full-color "cute" comics. The first TMNT movie (can't speak for the others) is a lot closer to the original series than to the kiddified version.
posted by harmful at 10:20 PM on October 29, 2000

The TMNT comics were a parody of a bunch of other comics -- primarily X-Men (the "Teenage Mutant" part) and Frank Miller-era Daredevil (the "Ninja" part). The "Turtles" part was simply a stroke of comedic genius.
posted by jjg at 10:42 PM on October 29, 2000

What next? Pacman: The Movie starring Joe Pesci in a rubber suit as Pacman and Britney Spears as Ms. Pacman (complete with a soundtrack guaranteed to devastate America with mediocrity)? (Cameo appearance: Gary Oldman's talents lost in poor makup as Inky)

Really, I can't see Tomb Raider working. A video game is a video game. If there's any story in the movie, then it will be about as substantive as the Pacman Saturday morning animated series of the 1980's.

That Simon (Con Air) West is on board to helm this turkey tells me that the end is nigh and that Tomb Raider will be DOA in the box office.

And what kind of story can you come up from a storyline that involves a babe that shoots things? Granted, there is Jon Voight on board as "Lord Croft." But this is largely skillful nepotism at work, designed to give the movie some integrity.

posted by ed at 12:07 AM on October 30, 2000


A) Mortal Kombat was, all things considered, a fairly decent film for the money. I was expecting something akin to SMB, but was pleasantly surprised. Even my friends who were teenaged girls, at the time, who I dragged to the theatre, liked it. The sequel blew chunks, but the original stands.

B) Tomb Raider might work for a few reasons. It's starring Angelina Jolie. The girl is a train wreck... we watch her as some sort of evil, perverse thrill. But she has a fan base. Also, outside of the computer gaming world, no one really knows what Tomb Raider is. This movie will be marketed as a female Indiana Jones. Girl power + Action/Adventure + Freaky star could equal box office success. Don't count it out till you've seen the trailer.
posted by Psionic_Tim at 12:40 AM on October 30, 2000

> (While trying to find a link for this post,
> I have found myself to be surprised that
> I couldn't easily find a Teenage Mutant
> Ninja Turtles website...)

You're kidding -- ! There's an official TMNT site, natch. You did try searching Google, didn't you?
posted by webmutant at 12:57 AM on October 30, 2000


POKEMON? I have seen the template for storytelling in the 21st century, and it is pikachu. It's all about the franchise, which Pokemon does better than Lucas.
posted by captaincursor at 3:08 AM on October 30, 2000

That's true. Pokemon is based on a Video Game. Good one, Cap'n.
posted by Cavatica at 4:17 AM on October 30, 2000

Mortal Kombat was an entertaining movie. A buddy and myself went and saw it the saturday afternoon it opened in a dumpy little theatre. We were the only two in the theatre, and had a blast shouting "MORTAL KOMBAAAAAAAT" every chance we got.

TMNT the comic was first, then the colourised slightly more shlocky comic, then the cartoon, then the first movie, then the video game, then the second movie (which starred Vanilla Ice, about 2 months after he lost any and all popularity... great timing! :-) The movies were released almost exactly a year apart, it's where I celebrated some early (if not pre-, I don't remember the years exactly) teen birthdays.

posted by cCranium at 6:01 AM on October 30, 2000

I have seen the inept horrors of 21st century storytelling. And it is Pokemon: The Movie.

I'll say this much: Tomb Raider promises to be considerably more riveting than -- oh, say, Cool As Ice or Disorderlies (the latter starring the Fat Boys).
posted by ed at 7:03 AM on October 30, 2000

There were about two posts in this thread about Tomb Raider, sheesh.

For those who care about game engines, yeah, TR looks "dated", but it's still a lot more fun than dozens of also-rans out there with much "better" engines. Its appeal lies somewhere between Indiana Jones, Myst, and Lara's bazookas.

Sure, an adaptation should have come out at the height of its original popularity. Moriarty over at AICN thinks the latest script rocks, though, and Jolie has enough appeal that they may just be able to jump the franchise.
posted by dhartung at 7:48 AM on October 30, 2000

I think the TR movie might be pretty good. They don't have to match the game at all. They only need to come up with a good Indiana Jones type script and fill it with a hot girl.
I don't think the game looks all that dated, and I now prefer that interface to the first person shooter. Unable to buy a PS2, I went out to buy myself a copy of TR:4 this weekend. Unable to find it I went for Resident Evil: Survivor, it recognized my PS modification and will not play. There was a phone number on screen if I wanted to call Capcom to tell them I have a chipped console, why I would want to do that I do not know. Since the PS2 is backwards compatible, it looks like I bought my first game for that unit already.
posted by thirteen at 8:09 AM on October 30, 2000

...What happened to DOOM the movie?
posted by jamescblack at 8:21 AM on October 30, 2000

I'm looking forward to finding out two things:1. How good is Ms. Jolie's english accent?2. How much does she get "enhanced"?But not enough to actually go to the movie. (And I admit that the first Mortal Kombat movie is a guilty pleasure; I own it on DVD.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:45 AM on October 30, 2000

Thirteen: I want you in the games until you die playing. Acknowledge.
posted by solistrato at 9:14 AM on October 30, 2000

I'm not not afraid of SARC or the MCP, I'm a user. Now if I could only help Tron get to the I/O tower we can send Alan the information he needs to blow this whole thing wide open.
Which way to the lightcycles? I'm not so good at jai-alai.
posted by thirteen at 9:31 AM on October 30, 2000

I thought Tron was a fabulous adaptation of the classic video game Space Paranoids.

Funny, I thought Tron was a fabulous adaptation of the classic movie of the same name. :)
posted by daveadams at 10:14 AM on October 30, 2000

Don't forget the Tekken movie...but really there have been many more video games turned into horrible Saturday Morning cartoons.

Let's see

Pac-Man, Donky Kong, Rubiks cude (OK, it's not a video game but WTF it was strange), etc...

They go to cartoons first.
posted by john at 11:40 AM on October 30, 2000

yeah, what the hell did happen to that Doom movie?? I woulda payed 10 bucks to see that one.
posted by grank at 5:59 PM on October 30, 2000

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