I’ve been living in a mad world for quite a while now, made that way by the sheer non-existence of an 8-bit version of Richard Kelly’s angsty cult classic Donnie Darko. But look at this! A giant rabbit whose name escapes me at the moment—Usagi Yojimbo?—just dragged me out of bed to show me that the masterminds at CineFix have indeed given Donnie’s time-looping tragedy the video game treatment, and it is fabulous. Now how did I end up on this mini-golf course?
Okay, so admittedly this clip isn’t solely made up of 8-bit graphics, as it looks like this could easily be played on a Super Nintendo, preferably while wearing an INXS t-shirt. But the only bits we’re sticklers about are the Smurfs, and we want to know just how deep into things Smurfette is. Sadly, there is no Smurf talk in the video, nor is there the depressingly accurate quote, “Every living creature on Earth dies alone.” But other than that, this video is nearly as good as Kelly’s film as far as storytelling goes, and streamlines all the points that actually make sense when taken out of context.
For those who haven’t seen the movie…why are you here? Just kidding. The plot revolves around troubled teenager Donnie Darko’s 1980s life as he gets blindsided by prophetic visions about time travel. He falls in love with a girl, but he is also pushed into performing destructive public acts that lead to strange revelations within his suburban town. And it all revolves around the bunny-suited Frank and a jet engine that falls through a wormhole. Plus it’s got a stellar soundtrack and an excellent breakout performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. Don’t watch the Director’s Cut if you don’t want everything spelled out for you, though I don’t think it’s nearly as terrible as many of its detractors. I wish they would all just chut up about it! Chut up, chut up, chut up!
Things are admittedly played out in a more serious fashion than some of CineFix’s other videos, and there aren’t a lot of jokes going on within the gameplay. But the end is where it gets amazing, as Gary Jules’ “Mad World” is given a glorious chiptune treatment as they animate that iconic moment of Frank in the bathroom, knocking against the invisible wall of Donnie’s consciousness. This could have been my very first ringtone.
Seriously, I might just have to make it my ringtone now. And if you aren’t as into it as I am, then I doubt your commitment to 8-bit Cinema Donnie Darko.