Mixing the Mediums: Adapting video games into movies gets better and better


“The Super Mario Bros.” official movie poster.

Ella Ashby, Opinion Writer

A film by Nintendo? It’s more likely than you think. “The Super Mario Bros.” movie premiered on April 5. and while movie critics had a mixed response, the film had the biggest five-day opening of all time. Let me be honest, I completely expected this movie to flop. There were many bold choices that were made in the production of this movie, including casting Chris Pratt as Mario. But I’ll admit, I was wrong. With the difficulty of adopting video games into movies, this movie really caught the ball and ran with it.
Video games often have very intricate and immersive stories that are built over many hours of gameplay. On the other hand, movies are usually limited to a 120 minute runtime, which can make it difficult to capture the full scope of a game’s story. This usually leads to major plot holes, which can leave fans of the game feeling disappointed. One of the bonuses of using the Super Mario franchise is that most of the games aren’t very story-heavy. They’re generally lighthearted and fun, allowing them to work perfectly as a film.
Another challenge is the translation of game mechanics and aesthetics into that perfect movie experience. Games often rely on specific mechanics or features that can be difficult to replicate in a movie. For example, quick-time events or interactive elements may not translate well to a passive viewing experience. Additionally, game aesthetics, such as the look and feel of the game world or the characters, may be difficult to replicate into a live-action or animated movie. If you want to think of past flops, think of the original “Super Mario Bros.” live action movie, which was a huge disaster.
There have been the bad and the ugly, but there have been some really successful adaptations of video games into movies. The “Resident Evil” movie franchise, for example, has been highly successful, grossing over a billion dollars worldwide. The “Tomb Raider” and “Assassin’s Creed” movies also received generally positive reviews from viewers.
A great approach to successful adaptation is to focus on the core elements of the game that are most likely to do well in a movie. A great example would be the “Sonic the Hedgehog” live-action movie, which is one of my favorite films. The movie is focused on the fast-paced, action-packed elements of the game while also giving fans plenty of easter eggs to enjoy.
I think over time, especially from where we started with the catastrophe of the original Super Mario film, the adaptation of video games into movies has gotten more and more impressive, and I’m happy that fans are getting a chance to see their favorite stories and characters in a completely new way.