Angry Birds movie taking flight
Can Rovio dodge the curse of the video game movie when it brings Angry Birds to the big screen?
Take all the butt-kicking action of the King of Iron Fist Tournament, add Jon Foo, and what could go wrong? Well, just about any animated character is a better actor than Foo. And the draw for the game — with combat action in the round — is kind of a given, you know, in an actual film.
Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in this adaptation-lite of the relentlessly brutal game. The film includes a few comic interludes to really horrify anyone watching it.
Confession: There was many a cheap thrill to be had with the epic PlayStation game upon which this film was based. Hooked up to a halfway decent stereo, the haunted-house aspect with the tense music and fright factor got me. Every. Single. Time. The movie? Less of a jolt and more one long, boring buzz. The franchise holds the record for most film adaptations -- evidently they’re still trying to get it right.
DOA: Dead or Alive
Another multi-fighter mega-flop, this one offers equal opportunity for bad moviemaking. It stars Holly Valance, Devon Aoki and Sarah Carter as gals out to win a martial arts contest.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Even Angelina Jolie, whose eye-popping curves perfectly embody everyone’s favorite archaeologist/adventuress, couldn’t save this. And neither could Daniel Craig. The movie made a vast, glittering pile of cash, so they made another one that was panned even more harshly than the original.
The draw of the game was partially due to using real actors as opposed to drawings -- that's why there's a huge cult of them.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Usually you don’t think of games as having great plots (like porn?) but the later iterations of Prince of Persia actually did. Epic journeys, curses, trials to overcome, etc. -- Joseph Campbell probably would have approved. Shame about the movie. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the prince and Ben Kingsley as the baddie. It made a ton of money but also made your life pointlessly shorter by 116 minutes.
Super Mario Bros.
I’ll have a super-size dose of whatever the guys who green-lighted an entire movie based on the adventures of two Italian-American plumbers in Brooklyn had. Sure, there are floods and romance and dinosaur bones and villains to be fought. But the movie was a super bob-omb, even though the best costume award it won means we’ll be seeing variations on the amiable Bob Hoskins' Mario outfit for many Halloweens to come.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
This is one of those straight-outta-Japan offerings that you either get or don’t. I never got it. The game or the movie. The animated film about a dystopian future besieged by aliens won plaudits for its amazing animation, fruit of a team of 200 and four years of effort. But the movie tanked, bringing Square Pictures down with it.
Director John Moore brought the story of cold-case detective Max Payne on a mission to life in this “neo-noir action” flick. It’s only loosely based on the game, and Mark Wahlberg fits the lead role about as well as a pair of too-old Calvin boxers with crenelated elastic.
Angry Birds is coming to a big screen near you. Rovio Entertainment is taking the epic battle of birds-versus-pigs from your iPhone to the cinema, in 3-D, and launching it into the wide, wide world in July 2016.
We’re aflutter with anticipation: Can they actually make a movie based on a video game worth watching? It’s happened time and time again that our favorite living room brain-cell killer was transported to the land of plush seats and buttery popcorn only to disappoint.
Most video games turn into celluloid duds even though we stupidly paid to see them; Rotten Tomatoes gives Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within only a 44 percent approval rating. The rest go down from there.
In the gallery above, you’ll find a brutal rundown of the best of the worst video game-cum-movies that Rovio should watch — as a reminder of what not to do.