Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is an upcoming CGI-animated film based on a fictional video game antagonist who eschews his years as a pixelated jerk to take a stab at being a good guy for once. It hits theaters on November 2, and if you haven’t yet watched the trailer, we highly recommend you do so, if only for the opportunity to geek out at Street Fighter’s resident bear wrestler Zangief offering a soliloquy on the existential difficulty of reconciling one’s role in life with one’s true nature. If you can get past his accent, it’s some pretty heavy stuff.
Anyway, the reason we mention the movie is that Disney has begun its big promotional push for the film, and the first salvo from that effort is a playable version of the fictional game that Wreck-It Ralph’s eponymous protagonist hails from. It’s based pretty heavily on Donkey Kong, though offers a somewhat novel mechanic by tasking players with fixing windows in each area before they can continue climbing upwards. Given that it’s a Flash game the thing isn’t all that complicated, but then again neither were any of the legitimate games released in the late 1980s. Despite being the absolute baseline of what people expected from this film’s promotional effort, it’s a solid game in its own right, and offers even more hope that Disney will be the first studio to create a good video game movie (even if theirs isn’t based on a specific game).
Though, that does raise an interesting question: If Wreck-It Ralph is a legitimately good film, will that serve as proof that films based on pre-existing games just don’t work? That a film studio has to have total creative freedom with a property to make anything approaching objectively good? Or would it merely serve as proof that every other video game-based production to date has been marred by hack directors and terrible screenwriters?
We’ve all suspected for years that video game movies were terrible because the people behind them were far from Hollywood’s A-list, but if Wreck-It Ralph is as good as it seems based on the existing promotional material, it will be far more difficult for those creative types assigned to video game adaptations to blame the nature of gaming for their colossally terrible creations. That seems reason enough to look forward to Disney’s movie, no?