Movie Night – Movies Based on Video Games

In today’s fast-paced world of technological progress, the impact of video games, artificial intelligence (AI), and cutting-edge tech on filmmaking is more evident than ever before.

Taking cues from beloved classics like “The Matrix” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” modern-day movies such as “Uncharted,” “Free Guy,” and “Ready Player One” showcase a delightful blend of these influences.

Let’s take a closer look at how the evolution of technology, video games, and AI fuels innovation in cinema.

In today’s “Movie Night,” I’ll delve into these three captivating films, each offering a unique mix of adventure, humour, and virtual thrills.

So, grab your popcorn and join me as we dive into these movies, helping you pick the perfect cinematic treat for your next movie night!

“Uncharted” – A Thrilling Expedition into the Unknown.

Let’s kick things off with “Uncharted” (2022), a film directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. Inspired by the acclaimed video game series developed by Naughty Dog, “Uncharted” follows the daring exploits of treasure hunter Nathan Drake as he embarks on a globe-trotting quest filled with perilous obstacles and ancient mysteries.

At its core, “Uncharted” is a high-octane adventure that captures the spirit of the video game franchise while offering a fresh perspective for both fans and newcomers alike. Critics praised the film’s charismatic performances, particularly Tom Holland’s portrayal of Nathan Drake, which injects youthful energy and charm into the character.

However, despite its thrilling action sequences and stunning visuals, “Uncharted” faced criticism for its predictable plot and lack of character development. Some reviewers noted that the film felt derivative, drawing too heavily from classic adventure films like “Indiana Jones” and “The Goonies.”

From a writer’s perspective, “Uncharted” is a testament to the importance of authenticity in adapting video games for the big screen. By staying true to the essence of the game while offering a cinematic narrative that stands on its own merits, the film successfully immerses audiences in the thrill of the adventure.

“Free Guy” – A Hilarious Dive into Virtual Reality.

Next up, we have “Free Guy” (2021), directed by Shawn Levy and starring Ryan Reynolds. Set within the vibrant metaverse of “Free City,” the film follows an NPC named Guy, who becomes self-aware and embarks on a journey to break free from his scripted existence.

“Free Guy” offers a fresh take on the video game movie genre, blending action-packed hijinks with heartfelt humour and insightful commentary on gaming culture. Critics praised Ryan Reynolds’s charismatic performance and the film’s inventive premise, which explores themes of agency, identity, and the power of imagination within the context of a virtual world.

Despite its innovative approach, “Free Guy” faced criticism for its reliance on clichés and uneven tone. Some reviewers felt that the film’s humour relied too heavily on pop culture references, which may not resonate with all audiences.

Looking at it through the eyes of a writer, “Free Guy” stands out as a fascinating study of blending genres and subverting expectations. By combining action-comedy elements with introspective storytelling, the film offers a refreshing take on the video game movie formula, challenging creators to think outside the box when adapting interactive narratives.

“Ready Player One” – A Dazzling Tribute to Pop Culture.

Finally, we come to “Ready Player One” (2018), directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel by Ernest Cline. Set in a dystopian future where people escape their harsh reality by immersing themselves in a virtual reality world called the OASIS, the film follows a group of gamers on a quest for fame and fortune within the digital realm.

Ready Player One” celebrates the power of nostalgia and the enduring appeal of pop culture references, weaving a tapestry of iconic characters and settings from various franchises. Critics praised the film’s visually stunning depiction of the OASIS and Steven Spielberg’s masterful direction, which captures the source material’s spirit while infusing the story with heart and excitement.

However, despite its visual splendour, “Ready Player One” faced criticism for its excessive length and reliance on nostalgia. Some reviewers felt the film’s pacing was uneven, with certain scenes dragging on while others felt rushed.

For the writers among us, “Ready Player One” presents a unique challenge in balancing homage with originality. By incorporating familiar elements of video games and pop culture history while crafting an engaging narrative, the film demonstrates the importance of striking a delicate balance between nostalgia-driven fan service and innovative storytelling.


Uncharted,” “Free Guy,” and “Ready Player One” offer a diverse array of cinematic experiences that showcase the creative potential of video game-inspired movies. From thrilling treasure hunts to meta-commentary on gaming culture, each film brings something unique to the table, inviting audiences to embark on unforgettable journeys into the realms of adventure and virtual reality.

As Hollywood continues to explore the intersection of video games and cinema, these movies serve as valuable examples of the creative synergy between technology, storytelling, and audience engagement. Whether you’re a fan of action-packed adventures, heartfelt humour, or nostalgic nostalgia trips, there’s something for everyone in the exciting world of video game-inspired movies. 

In the comment box below, let me know which movie you chose for your “Movie Night” and why.

17 thoughts on “Movie Night – Movies Based on Video Games”

  1. Free Guy and Ready Player One are not real games, though I understand Uncharted is (never played it).

    I felt Uncharted suffered from a real bad case of ‘protagonist could walk away if he wants to’ which is always pees me off.

    Ready Player One as a movie is MUCH better than the book but putting The Shining in it was a massive misstep in my view, my then 6 year old nearly had a heart attack. Free Guy is a delight from start to finish, I could watch that on a loop. So fun.

    1. I found Uncharted really boring and predictable; it was embarrassing. I only watched it because I like Tom Holland and hope to see Marl Wahlberg with some facial expressions.

      I saw RPO with my daughter, and we were constantly looking for “Easter Eggs” in cultural references, which made it so much fun (my hubby had no idea what we were talking about).

      I agree that Free Guy is the most fun out of the three, but it felt as if Ryan Raynolds keeps on being the same type of character (Deadpool), so it was a bit disappointing, though I think the idea and the movie were fantastic!

      1. I think there was enough about Blue Shirt Guy that was different to the norm Reynolds plays – he was a classic hero and genuinely ‘nice guy’, whereas his usual schtick is antihero-snark.

        But most A Listers, his range is limited because of what people want from him, same way people want The Rock to be a big-hearted hero or Tom Cruise to be an action hero. A List stars like Ryan Gosling (who has a remarkable range) are very unusual.

    2. Lucy V Hay ha ha, I loved The Shining bit, but I agree with you, it was a bit of a curve ball for the younger viewers! 😀😀

    3. Lucy V Hay completely agree about Free Guy – it’s the perfect film to watch whenever you need cheering up. Ready Player One does seem to forget its target audience with The Shining stuff, but like Vered I did love the Easter Eggs (I actually found the one at end of the film, from the Atari “Adventure” game when I was a kid, so seeing it in this movie was amazing for me).

  2. I saw RPO at the cinema, 3D. I’d read some of the book and it left me both interested and a bit lost and the movie the same, it seemed like a Universe where anything could happen, there were no boundaries, amazing graphics and I dare say i was not the target audience.

    1. Janet Van Eeden Harrison

      James I loved the movie but hadn’t read the book. My sons who’d read the book were disappointed in the movie. We watched it together.

      1. I think its quite often that in reading a book first a film can be disappointing as we conjure up a movie in our minds first and when those dreams are not fulfilled we feel let down not realising that adaptation seems to take the essence and essential story and run with that/those. ‘The Zone of Interest’ is perhaps an example of this.

  3. I love all these films, just because I love a bit of escapism, even if it is a bit flat….
    I enjoyed Uncharted but likely not to revisit it much, if at all.

    The problem for me, with a film like that, is that the source material, as Lucy says, gives the impression of invincibility….in the game, you die, you reboot and you carry on, it’s much harder to instill that fear of Drake dying when you just keep going in the game…..

    has anyone made a game based movie like a time loop film where the protag keeps dying and progressing a bit further each time? Might be a bit boring come to think of it! 😀 I think the updated Jumanji films did a good job of countering this issue

    1. Mark Walker that time loop video game style movie already exists, it’s called BOSS LEVEL and it is immense! Watch it on Amazon Prime, it stars Frank Grillo and is effing hilarious with brilliant set pieces. Written/directed by Joe Carnahan (The Grey/ Copshop).

      1. ah yes, had heard of Boss Level so will check it out. I like a bit of Grillo! Might add it to this week’s list …watching The Outfit tonight on Netflix which, coincidentally enough, has Mark Rylance!

        1. it is unbelievably funny, taking the mick out of various video game tropes but also has a surprisingly poignant relationship and a well-drawn mystery to it. The craft is off the scale, as Carnahan always delivers

  4. Lucy V Hay I’ve not seen the film, but Uncharted is a terrific if not particularly original story in the game (he’s essentially a cheeky Indiana Jones with a father figure sidekick who’s crap at relationships).

    Naughty Dog, the studio that produced it, is also responsible for The Last of Us – lead game story writer Neil Druckmann co wrote the HBO TV adaptation with Craig Mazin – TLoU is considered a watershed moment in games writing and Druckmann was subsequently promoted through to co-president of the company.

    This highlights the evolved prominence of quality writing in AAA game releases these days, whereas it used to be an afterthought. Huge, huge market for writers now, lots of opportunities.

    1. yes, my son is a Gamer and loves Naughty Dog output so I was hoping the movie would be good. There were a couple of fun set pieces that was it

  5. Thomas Pritchard

    I enjoyed Uncharted for what it is. I think there’s a real challenge to adapt from a game that is, essentially, its own adaption of a movie.

    Uncharted has always been the ‘Indiana Jones Game’ I dreamed of. I think there’s always going to be a lot of development and growth lost when a 30 hour experience is squeezed into a 2 hour movie.

    I suppose The Last Of Us being adapted to a HBO series feels more natural of an adaption.

    Having said all of this…Uncharted was fine! I thought it was a pulpy little adventure that benefited from a fun cast.

  6. One of the finest adaptations from a video game – though this is to a TV series rather than a film – is last year’s The Last of Us.

    After I binge-watched it at a friend’s house (who loves the games) he shows us the first level of the game, and it’s amazing how true to it the series was.

    It forges its own path a bit later, but doesn’t deviate much from the overall storyline, and could be one of the best, if not the best, adaptation from game to film/TV series.

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