On paper, adapting a hit video game into a film seems like a no-brainer.
The marketing sells itself as these games shift millions of copies, and if you add a big star to the mix, you're looking at a healthy box office take.
Take the 'Uncharted' games as an example and the inspiration for this piece.
The 'Uncharted' games have name recognition and a built-in fanbase, so add in a big star like Tom Holland, vaguely try to pay homage to the games, and bingo, you have a box office hit (in theory, anyway).
A-List stars like Angelina Jolie, The Rock and Ryan Reynolds have lent their gravitas or star power to movies such as 'Tomb Raider', 'Rampage', and 'Detective Pikachu' but more often then not, these films fail to land with critics and audiences.
2019's 'Detective Pikachu' is one of the exceptions to the rule, holds the title of the most successful video game movie of all time by virtue of box office gross and decent critical reviews.
In our review from 2019, our critic Brian said "calling 'Pokemon Detective Pikachu' the greatest movie ever made based on a video game may seem like it's damning with faint praise, but just about any movie based on a videogame has been poorly made, commercially unsuccessful and critically reviled."
The 1990s saw a rash of films based on video games, with the likes of 'Mario', 'Street Fighter' and 'Mortal Kombat' getting big-budget film outings.
'Super Mario Bros' starred the late, great Bob Hoskins as everyone's favourite plumber, John Leguizamo as Luigi and the legendary Dennis Hopper as Bowser.
The film was such a notorious dud that Nintendo to this very day discourages or prohibits any future live-action film adaptations of their games.
A 2018 article in The Guardian documented the nightmarish production, with article highlights including Hollywood hellraiser Dennis Hopper going on a 45-minute tirade about the quality of the script, and Bob Hoskins drinking whiskey with John Leguizamo between takes.
'Street Fighter' and 'Mortal Kombat' proved easier on paper to adapt than the 'Mario' game, and both fighting franchises saw big-screen outings in 1994 and 1995 respectively.
'Street Fighter' is notable for being the final film of 'The Addams Family' star Raul Julia who was battling stomach cancer during the production of the movie, but soldiered on to give a memorable performance that is the high point of an otherwise bad film.
1995's 'Mortal Kombat' is similarly bad, but it at least had the decency to have a great techno theme song.
The early 2000's saw a new wave of video game movies, and we don't mean new wave in the French or Czechoslovakian sense.
The early 2000's video game blockbuster had nu-metal on the soundtrack and had the visual design of rap music videos.
Grey and silver became the de facto colour scheme for directors adapting video games for cinema.
Before mentioning the video game movies everyone knows about, there is one director that is renowned as the Scorsese of bad video game movies.
German director Uwe Boll has directed film versions of games like 'Bloodrayne', 'Alone In The Dark', 'House Of The Dead', 'Postal', and 'Far Cry'.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Boll's highest-rated critic score for one of his video game movies is 9% for the truly awful 'Postal', with the film also boasting a 34% rotten score from audiences.
Boll is almost prodigious in how bad his films are, but his non-gaming films reach the heights of "not terrible."
When Boll gets his hands on a video game property, expect shambolic directing, editing techniques akin to someone messing around on iMovie, poorly lit shots and dialogue that wouldn't sound out of place in a child's Christmas play.
The mercurial German who made the rounds in the 2000's for fighting film critics in a boxing ring, has more or less turned his back on filmmaking and now owns a restaurant in Canada.
'Tomb Raider' and 'Resident Evil' were among the video games to get the big-budget treatment, with 'Resident Evil' spanning a franchise in the process.
Angeline Jolie took up the role of Lara Croft for 'Tomb Raider', and the film served as an early hit for future James Bond star Daniel Craig.
The problem with both films was their lack of faithfulness to the original games and their high-octane action.
The films were too glossy and sheen for the established 'Tomb Raider' aesthetic, and there's barely a puzzle solved in either film.
When the most memorable part of your film is a Korn song, something has gone wrong.
Jolie was touted to star as Samus Aran in a film version of 'Metroid' with Hong Kong directing legend John Woo, but the project was quietly shelved sometime in the mid-2000's.
'Resident Evil' had slightly more success than 'Tomb Raider' as an adaptation of the game insofar as it had laughable acting, poor dialogue and a nonsense story.
The original 'Resident Evil' has one admittedly great sequence involving a laser room, but the film doesn't have a scene to make audiences jump like the original game having the zombie dogs burst through the window.
Horror icon and the man who invented the zombie movie George Romero was tapped to direct the 'Resident Evil' film, but was ultimately bumped off the project over concerns of the film being too graphic.
Paul W.S. Anderson of 'Mortal Kombat' fame stepped into the director's chair and went on to direct 3 more sequels to the film.
While the 'Resident Evil' films were never critical darlings, the films boasts a decent online following, and 2017's 'The Last Chapter' proved to be a surprise box office hit in Asia.
The films are perhaps best known to gossip magazine readers as the impetus for star Milla Jovovich meeting her eventual husband Paul W.S. Anderson on the set of the original 'Resident Evil' film.
The couple took a stab at adapting another Capcom franchise in the form of 'Monster Hunter' in 2020 which reached the dizzying heights of "vaguely watchable".
Prior to becoming one of the world's most famous people, The Rock co-starred in an adaptation of hit 90's shooter 'Doom', which is notable for one sequence shot entirely in first person.
The sequence was reportedly incredibly difficult to shoot and took up a significant part of the film's budget, but it resulted in perhaps the only memorable part of the film.
'Silent Hill' was another big 90's horror franchise to receive a film adaptation, and despite some decent flourishes from French director Christophe Gans, the film never truly captures the crushing, haunting atmosphere of the games.
'Doom' and 'Silent Hill' represent why most video game adaptations are doomed to fail - why bother making a film version of something people can play at home?
2001 saw the release of 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within' which touted photo-realistic graphics and was the most expensive video game film of all time at time of production.
Despite the excellent visuals, a good cast containing the likes of James Woods, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Alec Baldwin and Ming-Na Wen, the film failed to recoup its $140 million dollar budget.
The film is beautiful to look at, but it hits upon a fatal flaw of adapting such an ambitious property like 'Final Fantasy'.
The 'Final Fantasy' games are large, sprawling JRPG epics with an emphasis on player choice, dozens of hours of side quests and memorable characters you get to know over the course of an entire game.
Trying to tell an epic tale in the 'Final Fantasy' universe with a sub-2-hour running time is akin to making 'Lawrence Of Arabia' and leaving out all the talky bits.
'Final Fantasy' held the record for the most expensive video game movie ever until 2010's 'Prince Of Persia' adaptation starring Jake Gyllenhaal, which once again, runs into the inherent problem of video game movies.
Why pay money to see a watered down version of something you already have at home?
2016's 'Warcraft' is based on the wildly successful 'World Of Warcraft' games, and while the film was essentially dead on arrival upon release with Western audiences, the film made a profit from the Asian market alone.
'Warcraft' isn't a terribly good film by any means, but it does a decent attempt at capturing the spirit and tone of the games.
2016 also saw the release of 'Assassin's Creed' starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, along with Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson in the supporting cast, but the film is too faithful an adaptation of the games.
The games have a bad habit of being dragged down with modern world techno-thriller plot elements, and the film follows it to a tee.
The film only comes to life when it's replicating the swashbuckling action of the game, and Fassbender was reportedly such a fan of the games he pushed for the series' trademark Leap of Faith to make an appearance in the film.
Fassbender is married to Oscar-winning Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, and the couple must share a mutural love of video games as Vikander took up the role of Lara Croft in a 2018 reboot of 'Tomb Raider'.
'Tomb Raider' follows the setting and tone of the 2013 reboot of the franchise, which sees our heroine shipwrecked on a vicious island,
There is one sequence in the film where Vikander's Lara Croft solves a puzzle in a tomb which in a lot of ways is a more faithful adaptation of the games than even the 2013 reboot was.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson lent his marketable muscles and face to an adaptation of classic arcade game 'Rampage' in 2018, which as far as video games stories go wasn't exactly 'Disco Elysium' or 'Deadly Premonition'.
One of the last major films before the Covid-19 pandemic was 'Sonic The Hedgehog' which overcame an initially horrible David Cronenberg-esque design for the iconic video game mascot to become a solid hit.
'Sonic' will see a sequel this year, with an adaptation of the hit shooter franchise 'Borderlands' coming later this year.
The truly huge triple-AAA franchises such as 'Grand Theft Auto' or games with branching storylines such as 'Mass Effect' are near-impossible to adapt for the simple fact every gamer has a different experience with those games.
A 'Grand Theft Auto' movie would surely have to feature a 45-minute sequence where the main character gets bored and does a few taxi missions if it were to be accurate to the games.
'Mass Effect' is a game full of cinematic potential, but those games have branching, sprawling narratives - it would tear the fanbase in a million different directions trying to figure out which version of the game to adapt.
You can play 'Mass Effect' as a Picard-style hero or a space version of 'Dirty Harry', and that's before choosing the gender of Commander Sheperd and their potential romantic partner.
There have been whispers and rumours of Amazon possibly picking up the franchise as a television series which would certainly make more sense.
With a film, you have 2-and-a-half-hours maximum to establish a set of characters, lore and world-building, whereas with TV there is a bit more breathing space.
Henry Cavill, avowed gamer and star of 'The Witcher', has said he would be interested in taking part in an adaptation, so perhaps television is the right move for the franchise instead of a film.
With the release of 'Uncharted', the filmmaker's approach is to mash up all of the existing game's storylines into one film.
Time will tell if the 'Uncharted' adaptation will be successful, but regardless of the film is a hit or not, there is still an active market for video games being turned into movies.
Big-screen versions of 'Saints Row', 'Just Cause', 'Ghost Of Tsushima', 'Metal Gear Solid', and 'Minecraft' are in some stages of development, with Oscar Isaac having signed on to play Solid Snake in the 'Metal Gear Solid' movie.
With gaming arguably as culturally prevalent as it's ever been, Hollywood executives will green-light whatever has brand recognition.
Let's hope that one of these days these films turn out to be good.