Family Film Mom is a weekly column about family entertainment for parents with kids (and kids with parents) by Tara McNamara, the editor and founder of KidsPickFlicks.com.
Here’s a bold prediction: Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph will be the biggest video game movie of all time. The reason I’m able to go out on a limb is because the limb is attached to a tree trunk in the forest of felled video game adaptations.
Movies based on video games are generally a FAIL (cue the sound of Pac-Man dying). Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Max Payne and Doom prove the near impossibility of re-creating the exhilarating gaming experience as a passive viewing activity. Even the rare video game adaptations that muster financial success, like the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Resident Evil franchises, are not what most folks would consider "good."
Leave it to Disney to apply its own successful movie model to make the video game movie work. In movies like Toy Story and Enchanted the audience meets new characters that live within a world from our childhood (toys, princess movies) that've been humanized and given new stories. Same goes with Wreck-It Ralph, which while technically not based on any real '80s video game, brings familiar arcade icons to life (there's unemployed Q*Bert, Clyde the misunderstood Pac-Man ghost) and introduces new ones – the result comes across new and familiar at the same time. It creates a warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling while also making the viewer feel sharp and in on the joke. The result is a film both parents and kids will think is tailor-made for their own memories.
Here are three more films you may want to see with your family this weekend:
Chasing Mavericks. If you need a breather from Halloween and animated movies, this film is a positive example of applying hard work to achieve a goal.
Hotel Transylvania. A fun monster movie that just might make your kids understand parents a little bit more.
Fun Size. Truth: I grimaced in discomfort at how much my tween daughter enjoyed this inappropriate film from a kids TV network. Pay attention to the PG-13 label, not the Nickelodeon one.
Find out if your kids will enjoy the movie by going to www.KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.