Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Wreck it Ralph worked as a video game movie

Video game based movies tend to be more miss then hit.  While I'll fully admit to loving the Prince of Persia movie (It was honestly pretty good!)  Other ones like Mario fell flat.

It's so bad I can't find a simple clip on youtube.  The whole movie is up there, but I just want a clip.
(This should give you a hint on the movie quality)

However, movies like Tron and Wreck it Ralph have done pretty well. Possibly because they invoke the tropes and well known genres with other aspects going on instead of telling the game.

(This may be why PoP worked well too.  While it drew a lot from the game, it wasn't a remake of the game.  Tron also falls into this category, it uses some tropes and data in order to tell another story entirely.)

Wreck it Ralph succeeds by invoking three well known genres of gaming that would appear in an arcade.

90's Kart style racing

And competitive Shooters:

The concepts in these games are well known, and they concepts are also easy grasp by watching the brief gameplay in the movie.

As a result, the actual game parts are limited to cameos.  Zangeif in Street Fighter, Pacman appearing at the party, Tapper is it's own scene, etc. (More examples here )  By making sure they are cameos, they keep from having the nods from overwhelming the plot which runs on a mix of video game conventions and traditional storytelling of sacrifice and character redemption.  (Actually, they had to put a sacrifice play in place because most games have a respawning attribute.) As a result, we get a movie that USES games to tell a story of treachery and redemption; therefore embraces a wider audience instead of getting bogged down in condensing a 60 hour plot or risking alienating a non gamer audience.

Besides, everyone's played 2 of the 3 styles of games at some point.  


  1. Oh yeah, I still haven't watched "Prince of Persia" yet. It looked really good, but then it got bad/mediocre reviews and I just never got around to seeing it. And I've never thought of "Tron" as a video game movie before, but now that you've mentioned it, that does make sense. But "Wreck-It Ralph" is still the best-received video game movie out of all of them, judging by critics and audience ratings alike.

    I still hope that someday soon, Hollywood screenwriters will find a way to adapt an actual video game in a way that's faithful to the original work but still accessible to people that don't play video games. Kingdom Hearts would be difficult to adapt because the main draw of the game is visiting so many Disney worlds, but I think Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda could work...IF they were done correctly.

    1. PLEASE watch Prince of Persia. I really like the movie. It's a bit like The Mummy so if you like that, you'll like this. And Wreck it Ralph does deserve all the praise, it really is a great movie.

      The issue with LoZ (as much as I adore it) A lot of the game does involve going through dungeons. It would be hard to adapt, especially the repeated styles of dungeons. The same with Final Fantasy. All the important bits of the game are maybe an hour long?

      But, there was talk of making a Bioshock Movie and I think that may be the best way to go. The story revolves around power in every form, the audio diaries are a good set up for flashbacks, and they only need to string together a few areas to have a good story. And can you imagine the opening?

      The main problem with it, though, is the movie requires a HECK of a lot of money and it would have to be R. The two would kind of make the movie a financial disaster.