E3 2021 takes place this weekend and after months of hype, it’ll be great to see what brand new games are announced during the show. You can already check out some of the early hits over at Kotaku Australia — but if you’re in the mood for some more video game-themed hype, it’s time to crack out some alternative entertainment.
Video game movies have had a rough go of it so far, but there are some great, entertaining films you can still watch over the weekend to keep that E3 hype going. While not all of them are strictly based on video games, many of them feature video games as a major plot point or resemble them in some way.
Here’s the best video game-themed movies you can watch ahead of E3 2021.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Wreck-It Ralph isn’t based on any one video game, but it is about an arcade villain escaping the bounds of his video game and learning what it means to be a better person.
It also features cameos from characters like Q*bert, Bowser, Sonic, and Zangief from Street Fighter. So while it’s not strictly a ‘video game film’, it absolutely celebrates all video games and it’s a heart-warming story to boot.
All-in-all, Wreck-It Ralph is a near-perfect film, and there’s not a pixel in it that’s not filled with love, care and admiration for video games. You can’t go wrong with this film.
Wreck-It Ralph is available to stream on Disney+.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
There was almost no universe on Earth where Sonic the Hedgehog was a good movie. A live action hybrid film featuring one of the most iconic video game characters of all time? It sounds like a disaster in the making.
But somehow, against all odds, Sonic the Hedgehog was good. In fact, it was great. Between fantastic performances from Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik and James Marsden as fish-out-of-water cop Tom Wachowski, there was plenty to love about the film.
Ben Schwartz also does a great job as the voice of Sonic, making the character as endearing and funny as he should be. Pair all that with a great, genuinely funny script and slick visuals (courtesy of a last-minute overhaul), and you’ve got an essential watch.
Sonic the Hedgehog is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Mortal Kombat (2021)
Mortal Kombat won’t be for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for a gory, over-the-top, camp spectacle it’s a great bloody romp. While some parts of the film do lag, it’s saved by the self-awareness of characters like Kano and its dedication to a good, blood-filled fight.
The story’s nothing to rave about, but the fighting and characters make it an excellently fun time.
Switch off your brain and sit down with some popcorn, and you’ll find yourself lost in the wild, ridiculous world of Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat is still in Australian cinemas and available for digital purchase.
Tron: Legacy (2010)
Tron: Legacy was poo-pooed by critics when it first released, but look past the film’s middling plot and you’ll find a visual and auditory spectacular filled with great fight scenes, unique visuals and plenty of eye-popping drama.
Like Wreck-It Ralph, it’s not strictly a ‘video game film’, but it does owe a lot to the world of video games. It also appears as a world in Kingdom Hearts, so we’re counting it.
If you’re looking for some solid entertainment, or a film that’ll look great on a shiny 4K TV, Tron: Legacy has you covered. Despite the criticisms, there’s plenty to love about the film’s eye-popping action.
Tron: Legacy is now streaming on Disney+.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children isn’t a movie you can go into blind, but it is one you should absolutely still watch. It follows on from the events of the original Final Fantasy VII for PlayStation One and expands on the tales of Cloud, Tifa, Vincent and the gang with beautiful CG that still holds up today.
It’s actually wild how much Advent Children resembles Final Fantasy VII Remake given the 15-year gap between this movie and the game — but it just shows you how far ahead Square Enix and its animation team were in 2005.
Beyond being a great continuation of the iconic game, Advent Children is also just a fun, gorgeous time. It’s filled with slick anime action, the visuals look gorgeous, and it’s imbued with all the fun of the Final Fantasy franchise. This is a must-watch for any fan of the games.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children isn’t currently streaming anywhere, but you can grab it on YouTube for $4.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World became a video game film backwards — in that it got a fun, cute game following the release of the film. While the story was originally a series of graphic novels, it’s been tied into the world of games for much longer than most properties and has certainly earned the ‘video game film’ title.
Whether that’s through using iconic video game tropes like ‘getting a life’ or Scott facing off against an ‘evil’ version of himself, there’s plenty of great visual gags that do the genre justice.
It’s packed with style, features a brilliant case of characters who absolutely understand the assignment, and also has a career-best performance for Michael Cera. What more could you want from a great video game flick?
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is now streaming on Stan in Australia.
Gizmodo Movie Night is a bi-weekly feature where we share themed film recommendations for you to enjoy on the weekend. With E3 2021 finally kicking off, now is the time to sit back and relax with your favourite video game-themed movie.