Not every video game that ties into a blockbuster movie has to be crap, destined to fill the bargain bins of your local electronics store. There are a surprising number of quality titles based on movies that belie the rather common conception of movie video games as fodder for kids and bargain hunters alike.
As we wait for Jurassic World to end up on the silver screen (with an appropriately awful tie-in video game likely to surface), here’s a list of the good ones: ten of the best film-based video game spin offs from the last couple of decades.
This delightfully colorful video game had kids throwing apples and leaping across dangerous bazaar stalls to re-enact some of the crazy scenes from the Disney animated movie of the same name. The title blended some Prince of Persia gameplay with the easy-on-the-eyes color palette of the Disney hit to create a very playable video game experience.
Spider-Man 2 (2004 - Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube)
Here's one of the only video game adaptations of Marvel’s web-slinger that actually captures the true joy of swinging from rooftop to rooftop in New York. Sure, the side missions are a bit repetitive, and it took some grinding to get to new story chapters, but this Activision title is worth seeking out just for the city roaming alone.
This game was less tie-in and more franchise-based, but it surely brought the braininess of the original story — full of political and social intrigue — to the forefront, rather than sticking with David Lynch’s weird adaptation for the silver screen. You get to build the army of one of the three houses from Herbert’s sci-fi epic, and then command and conquer the rest of desert planet Arrakis.
Perhaps the only Bond game worth noting, GoldenEye holds a special place in every gamer's heart from the era. While the graphics are dated beyond belief at this point, GoldenEye might be that one game that introduced everyone to the idea of multiplayer death matches in style.
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (2005 - PlayStation 2, Xbox 360)
Strangely compelling, this pixel-based spin-off from the celluloid film of the same name had bargain-bin written all over it. Until you played the game and realized that it was a challenging, well-conceived romp through the jungles where a giant ape can fight a big old T-Rex. Hats off to Ubisoft for making something good out of something that could have been absolutely awful and still have sold some copies.
Sure, this is mainly a kids’ game, but being able to beat up other martial arts animals while controlling a giant panda is one of the great joys in life. The animation is fantastic, as should any video game based on a Dreamworks animated feature, and the difficulty curve ramps up nicely as you progress through the game. It’s a fantastic time with younger nieces or nephews who really shouldn’t watch you own noobs in Call of Duty.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007 - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Also available on Mac and Windows, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga launched an entire series of games that took the concept of toy bricks re-enacting entire genre movies to a whole new level. You'll thrill and laugh as you guide all your favorite Star Wars characters from all six films through their respective storylines, with a large does of humor thrown in for good measure.
Just because it's a kids game doesn't make Virgin Interactive's The Lion King any less compelling, especially when it came out in the early ‘90s. You’ll get to leap, run, dash, roar, and attack Simba’s enemies at each stage of this fun game on the Sega Genesis or Super NES. This one came out at the height of the 16-bit revolution and just hows off the fun to be had with a simple side-scroller themed with the hit movie’s lions.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004 - Xbox, Windows)
I have to be honest: the movie this game is based on is one of the two films I've ever walked out on in my life. I just hated it when I saw it in the theater. Imagine my surprise, then, when the reviews of the game came out that said what a masterpiece it was. Vivendi Games somehow created a stealth-based video game (with Vin Diesel's help, we hear) that transcended its own source material. Hooray!
While Disney's movie Tron doesn't quite hold up these days, what with its rudimentary green screen and awkwardly tight LED unitards, the video game still holds a special charm for those of us who remember how cool it was to launch our light bikes across the master computer grid while feeding quarter after quarter into the hungry machines at the local arcade. It's like the movie was made to be a video game, or something.
Chris Pratt seems concerned. Photo: Universal Studios
The fourth movie in the Jurassic Park series is slated to terrorize movie screens a full year from now. In order to drum up some excitement for Jurassic World, then, Universal has created this tiny trailer to advertise yet another trailer for the upcoming blockbuster.
The new trailer for a trailer shows very little, with some dinosaurs, a bubble car, an inquisitive Bryce Dallas Howard, and megastar Chris Pratt looking determined. Check it out.
Amazon wants an even bigger presence in your living room. Photo: Amazon
Amazon will roll out a new, standalone video streaming service next year that won’t be bundled with a $99 Prime subscription, according to sources familiar with its plans. The retail giant hopes to take on rivals like Netflix and Hulu and undercut their prices in an effort to attract customers.
And that means Hollywood's finest are contending for coveted nominations. There are a lot of great films in the running, and we've gathered five in particular that are almost sure to be nominees, if not winners.
Already a strong favorite among critics and the festival circuit, this film is based on legendary physicist Stephen Hawking and his relationship with his ex-wife, Jane Wilde Hawking.
With an 81% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, The Theory of Everything is being praised for its performances and screenplay. Eddie Redmayne's visceral portrayal of Hawking has been compared to roles like Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot. Expect Redmayne to be in the race for best actor.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician and logician who helped crack a code that was crucial for defeating the Nazis in World War II.
This has all the makings of Oscar bait: a star-studded cast, warm festival reception, a period setting, and a strong leading man playing a character who was prosecuted for homosexuality. Best picture, director, actor, screenplay, and supporting actress nominations are probable.
Directed by Bennett Miller of Capote andMoneyball fame, Foxcatcher is sure to receive a slew of nominations and probably a few wins.
It's hard to imagine anyone winning best supporting actor over Steve Carell's chilling performance as the wealthy wresting coach and paranoid schizophrenic John Eleuthère du Pont. Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo also give stellar performances.
The story itself is portrayed in such a way that grips you from beginning to shockingly tragic end. Nominations for best picture, director, screenplay, actor, supporting actor, editing, makeup, and maybe even sound design are all very possible.
How can a film that literally shows a boy growing up not receive Oscar attention? Boyhood was shot intermittently over an eleven-year period, which is a feat in and of itself that will place it in film studies textbooks.
The scope of such a project is mind blowing, and critics have been overwhelming favorable with a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "Epic in technical scale but breathlessly intimate in narrative scope, Boyhood is a sprawling investigation of the human condition," reads the critical consensus. What more of a recommendation do you need?
Michael Keaton's Birdman is the rogue, weird, unrelentingly indie contender that hasn't stopped gaining momentum. Keaton's portrayal of a washed-up actor who once played a famous superhero (cough) is being called his best work in years. Then there's the incredible supporting cast: Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, and Naomi Watts.
Besides its witty dialogue and fascinating characters, Birdman soars on the talented wings of Gravity and Children of Men cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who effortlessly follows the story with what feels like one continuous, epic shot. Birdman is worth watching for the way it looks alone, and it's hard to imagine it not winning best cinematography.
Universal has a lock on monster films, but will the new action-adventure ones be as “classic” as the originals? Photo: Universal Studios
Now that Universal Studios has decided to go the Marvel route and create its own cinematic universe built around its classic monsters like Frankenstein and The Wolf Man, we thought it might be a good time to reach back into the archives and re-watch the originals.
As the new Universal monster movies will likely be more action-adventure-oriented, it’s good to look back to see what made the original features so great, and which of the old oeuvre were just stinky cash-grabs meant to pad the studio’s bottom line.
With that, let’s get into the best and worst of the genre.
No rest for the Hobbit and Dwarf. Photo: Warner Bros.
In this new, three-minute-long trailer, Warner Bros. teases us with the epic conclusion to Peter Jackson’s Hobbit film trilogy.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will complete the story of Bilbo Baggins’ journey with Thorin Oakenshield and his company of dwarves as they reclaim the wealth of their homeland. But the heroes also must deal with Smaug (that pesky dragon they unleashed in the last movie) and take care of that badass orc that’s been following them from the get-go.
Expect more realism and grit from this robot flick. Photo: Sony Pictures
The thing about robots in science fiction, especially recently, is that they’re often portrayed as living in a clean, distant future.
The brilliance of Neill Blomkamp is his gritty, dirty, realistic portrayal of the future, and he’s bringing us a new robot to live there, named Chappie.
Chappie, motion captured by Blomkamp favorite Sharlto Copley, is a gifted young robot, an artistic and emotional prodigy. In the trailer below, you can see how much of the real world Blomkamp sets around Chappie: He-Man on the television, a wristwatch on the main propellerhead kid that befriends the robot, and a variety of militaristic types trying to blow up the special kid.
Lesser known characters join the lineup of Marvel movie madness. Photo: Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige took to the stage at a special event at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday to talk about the next slate of blockbuster films the company is planning to release over the next few years. The full docket, with projected dates, is as follows:
· 5/1/15 – Avengers: Age of Ultron · 7/17/15 – Ant-Man · 5/6/16 – Captain America: Civil War · 11/4/16 – Doctor Strange · 5/5/17 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2 · 7/28/17 – Thor: Ragnarok · 11/3/17 – Black Panther · 5/4/18 – Avengers: Infinity War Part I · 7/6/18 – Captain Marvel · 11/2/18 – Inhumans · 5/3/19 – Avengers: Infinity War Part II
While most of us are clear on who The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are, there are some lesser-known characters getting the full movie spotlight that you may not be aware of. Here’s how they fit into the larger Marvel cinematic universe.
Maybe they’ll take the bird all the way to the destination, for a change. Photo: Air New Zealand
Tired of the same old boring pitch that flight attendants have to give you in accordance with FAA regulations? Well, Air New Zealand decided to make its own briefing a lot more epic in the latest video for the official airline of Middle Earth stand-in country.
Watch as Elijah Wood and other cast members grace this light-hearted, good natured air safety briefing, complete with fake Gandalf explaining how to position yourself in the event of a crash landing.
Update: The leaked Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer has been pulled from several sources, but once the toothpaste is out of the tube, even superheroes can’t put it back. Marvel Entertainment has responded with an appropriately cheeky tweet (see below) and released the official trailer in HD.
It’s hard not to contain our excitement for the upcoming Joss Whedon joint, Avengers: Age of Ultron, especially with this new leaked trailer. It’s not the high-quality one you’ll likely see when Marvel Studios puts the official trailer up on YouTube, but it definitely looks legit.
The trailer gives us our first glimpse of baddie Ultron, voiced by James Spader, and features some creepy use of the Pinnochio song, “I Got No Strings” — a reference to the fact that Ultron is no longer a puppet, perhaps?