08/09/2013

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Film: Wreck-It Ralph
Release: 2012, Theatrical
Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch
Directed by: Rich Moore
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: Wreck-It Ralph is the villain of a arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr., on the 30th anniversary of his game console, Ralph starts reflecting on his role as a villain and vows to change

Hans' thoughts:

In the 1980's games were at a very different place than it is now. No, literally, home gaming was only just showing up so everyone were going to these mystical places called "arcades". I doubt a lot of kids today even want to go to one of these but to the people who grew up in those times, this was were you spent your allowance. If you had any. I'm from 1990 myself so around the time I was old enough to have enjoyed going to an arcade they were pretty much gone. So why am I telling you this? Well, because even though you may never had set foot in an arcade, you can actually relate to this story. This story is very much like Toy Story in that it's "what happens to the toys at night when the kids are sleeping" but also a bit like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, in that it has a lot of cameos from well-known franchises. Characters like Zangief, Q*bert and Kano all show up in this movie. For a short time anyway.

Thankfully however, this movie does not turn into "spot the character" as it could have. Instead of turning into a marketing ploy it actually has some compelling characters of it's own, playing in a pretty exciting story. The story is a pretty adult one, even if it is targeted towards kids. After 30 years of doing the same thing every day, the game villain Ralph goes on a soul searching journey to find out what it feels like to be a hero, if only just for a little while. Unfortunately, without it's villain the game he comes from can't really function and it stands in danger of being unplugged - the equivalent of armageddon in this universe.

Ralph is played like a very mellow person, he has a temper for sure but most of the time he just seems like he is the straight man to all the other characters antics. He's the audiences eyes after all, and he doesn't take anything too seriously. I have to admit that it took me a little bit to warm up to him, unlike the character Vanellope. Vanellope is most likely the popular character from this movie, she's a sassy little smart-ass who just wants to live out her greatest dream. Fix-It Felix is a very nervous guy like Ralph, but unlike Ralph he's also very conformed to the world he lives in - then again he's never really met any trouble and when he finally sees Ralph breaking out of character he has a hard time dealing with it. The last "main" character is the female officer from the game Hero's Duty, Calhoun. She's the stereotypical hard-ass female who just needs to find love again to warm up to people. All of the characters are archetypes for sure, but it feels appropriate since they're supposed to be characters defined by their role and their programming - a very meta comment about the state of character writing in the videogame industry.

Animation wise the movie is great, this could very well have been a Pixar movie judging by the quality but it's made by Disney's main studio. Being smooth as ever but as a nice homage to classic video games, some of the characters move in "jumps" like say, the bartender at the game tapters. On that note, seeing some of the classic video game characters reimagined in this artstyle was a nice little treat on the side. 

Wreck-It Ralph shows a lot of love for the subject material and it has some genuinely nice original content as well. The music is "digital" as it should be, and the meta gags combined with some pretty well done dramatic writing for a kids film just makes it all the better. 
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