This thread is not about the idea of turning Wreck-It Ralph into a Disneyland ride. For that, please click here:
Wreck It Ralph Ride?
Why Wreck-It Ralph is a better video game movie than Super Mario Bros., and how it relates to Disney theme parks
(that title wouldn't fit...)
Wreck-It Ralph is playing on a TV in a continuous loop at my workplace, and I was thinking how the creators of the movie have obviously played a lot of video games, and know how they look, move, sound and feel. Then I got to thinking about how movies like Wreck-It Ralph, Toy Story and Who Framed Roger Rabbit are sort of like the movie equivalent of good theme parks – how they take various familiar characters and properties and put their own spin on them, while incorporating them into a unique universe and maintaining a distinctive identity by focusing on original elements.
I think Wreck-It Ralph was able to have the creative freedom to tell its story by creating its own characters and settings, rather than if it had just been Donkey Kong: The Movie. And with Toy Story, the original characters have themselves become extremely popular actual toys. Likewise, Ralph, Toy Story and Roger Rabbit all benefit from having the pre-existing characters. It gives the world a sense of authenticity and creates an immediate connection with the audience members who already know them. Just like how original rides and movie-based rides worked together to create the distinctive experience of Disneyland.
Then I though about the discussions on here about what makes a ride “feel Disney,” and whether or not that requires pre-existing Disney characters.
On the surface, you'd think that Super Mario Bros. (1993) would be a more genuine “video game movie” than Wreck-It Ralph. It's entirely based on a real game – in fact, the definitive Nintendo game. Its title is the exact title of the game. Mario is the main character. (Well, actually Luigi is the main character for some weird reason, but the point is, they're both from the game). Koopa is the villain. They have the names right, but the feel of the movie is nothing like the game. I remember reading in Nintendo Power magazine that the people who did the designs for the movie had never played the games nor seen what the characters looked like.
Wreck-It Ralph feels more genuinely video-gamey to me, even though Fix It Felix, Jr. never actually existed (until the movie). Likewise, an original Disneyland attraction can feel just as Disney, or in some cases even more Disney, than one that's based directly on a Disney movie.
(BTW, I'm aware Wreck-It Ralph has been criticized by some gamers for not having enough video game references and focusing too much on the candy references in Sugar Rush...and yeah, I can see that point. I think they put the candy refs in there to hedge their bets so the people who didn't grow up on video games would have something to be nostalgic about too. Also, I know that a lot of people like the Super Mario Bros. movie for various reasons.)