The first time I watched Richard Kelly's seminal sci-fi cult classic, Donnie Darko, my immediate thoughts were, "What?" and, "I need to watch this again." I wasn't alone.
Roughly halfway into my third screening of the Director's Cut, an explanation for the events on-screen began to form in my head, a congealing vortex of appreciation for one of the most inventive and richly imaginitive fictions since H.G. Wells novella, The Time Machine, debuted in 1895. This was storytelling that spoke not only to the insoluble obstacles of adolescence, but to the greater and universal vortexes towards which adolescents feel powerless in the grip of. For me, Donnie Darko is one of those baseline films upon which I judge not only contemporary science fiction, but the cinematic literacy of those who've never seen it.
I'm not alone in that, either. Today, Donnie Darko gets the 21st Century-throwback treatment: creators David and Henry Dutton of CineFix have "de-rezzed" the middle-schooler's Moby Dick, and condensed two hours of brooding, benchmark cinema down into three minutes and 19 seconds of 8-bit amazingness. From the YouTube description, "CineFix presents Donnie Darko retold via old-school 8-bit (and a little 16 bit) game tech. No controllers required, but SPOILERS ahead!!"
It's a time-honored homage to a humble cult classic that'll make you bust out your old Game Boy. Below, CineFix's 8-Bit Donnie Darko, followed by highly-rebloggable screenshots of our favorite moments: