It may be a new year, but video game companies’ desire to damage their own brands is as strong as ever! Of course, I’m referring to the upcoming influx of movies based on popular game franchises. The genre is infamous due to the fact that most movies based on video games range from painfully cheesy to outright dreadful. One would think that the failures of films such as Super Mario Bros. (1993), Street Fighter (1994), and Resident Evil (2002) would’ve stymied the production of such adaptations, but the games industry apparently doesn’t know how to quit while it’s behind. Several high-budget video game adaptations have seen release in recent years, and the torrent won’t stop anytime soon. Here’s a list of four video game movies that are set to release in the next few years. Whether to get excited or not is up to you.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu received its first trailer in November 2018, and it’ll officially land in theaters in May. Based on the Nintendo 3DS game of the same name, Detective Pikachu will follow the titular Pokémon as he works with a regular human to solve mysteries. Ryan Reynolds will provide the voice of Detective Pikachu, a decision that has already drawn more than a few comparisons to Deadpool. (We can only hope that Detective Pikachu will use significantly less strong language.) The film will contain the first live-action appearances of several Pokémon, new and old, and that novelty alone has drawn the interest of many fans. Many have noted that some of the Pokémon’s designs fall squarely in the uncanny valley, with special attention paid to Pikachu’s realistic fur, Jigglypuff’s eyes, and Mr. Mime’s…everything. There’s still room for this project to go horribly wrong, as is the case with all movies based on video games, but this dedicated Pokémon fan is quite optimistic.
Sonic the Hedgehog
SEGA’s film based on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise will see release in November 2019, and the blue blur’s fans have been in a tizzy ever since its initial announcement. Sonic has been on a bit of an upswing, at least in terms of the gaming landscape. 2017 saw the release of the critically acclaimed Sonic Mania and the inoffensively mediocre Sonic Forces, and it’s possible that the Sonic movie will kill that positive momentum. The film will feature a CGI Sonic in a live-action world, a combination that has most certainly never looked jarring in the history of cinema. Jim Carrey will play the antagonist, Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik. Naturally, when you hear the nickname “Eggman” and envision a portly, egg-shaped man with spindly legs, the lanky Jim Carrey is obviously the first person who comes to mind. Sonic has received multiple animated adaptations in the past, including a direct-to-video movie, but the upcoming film will serve as his first (likely futile) attempt to conquer the big screen.
Super Mario Bros.
Announced in late 2017, Nintendo’s second attempt at a Mario movie is slated to release by 2022. Illumination, the animation studio that subjected the world to horrors such as Minions and the Grinch movie’s pervasive, seemingly endless marketing cycle, will produce the film. Little else is known about the project, besides the fact that Mario’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, will co-produce the film. While Mario previously had poor luck on the silver screen, Miyamoto’s involvement can serve as some comfort to dedicated fans. There aren’t many people who could provide a clearer vision for the characters and universe than the creator himself, after all. Nintendo has recently taken steps to expand its properties beyond the realm of video games, but with such little information, it’s difficult to say if the upcoming Mario movie will help the company’s plans or hinder them.
Monster Hunter is a bit more obscure than the other names on this list. The series’ name perfectly describes its gameplay, as players set out on quests to kill fantastical monsters and utilize their remains to upgrade their weapons and armor. Rumors of a film based on the franchise spread for years until an official announcement came in 2016. Production began in October 2018. In a move that surely killed what little hope the series’ fans had, the film’s first set photos showed actors clad in realistic military garb, sitting in the middle of the desert. After all, the best way to adapt a gorgeous fantasy world to the big screen is to create a gritty depiction of soldiers in the Middle East! More recent images revealed props related to actual items and monsters from the franchise, so it appears as if the entire film won’t be completely tone deaf. The film currently lacks a release date, but it’ll surely grace theaters with its presence soon.
Timothy Snyder is a senior studying professional writing. The writing process takes up much of his time, whether it’s for school, work, or recreation. He uses his remaining free time to play video games, cultivate spicy peppers in his garden, and solve rudimentary problems through programming.