On May 10, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu debuts in theaters. Based on the larger Pokémon Nintendo franchise and the 2016 handheld game of the same name, the movie will have a lucrative opening weekend, despite going up against Avengers: Endgame. The initial critical response has also been largely positive.
This is contrary to the general perception of video game movie adaptations, which is anywhere from overwhelmingly negative to initially suspicious. And that reputation, unfortunately, has been well-earned.
And although these movies have largely gotten better, we have yet to see a transformative video game adaptation, one that transcends its source material. We have classic movies based on books, historical events, and plays. We have yet to see an award-worthy movie based on a video game.
Here is a brief timeline of failed video game to movie adaptations. Some of these movies are better than others, but all of them are flawed in some fundamental way. Let us hope the future has something better in store.