After months of waiting, South African audiences finally got to see Wreck-it Ralph. For this animation addict, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting…
Wreck-it Ralph is the story of Ralph. He’s a bad guy. Except, he’s not. He is the bad guy in a game called Fix-it Felix Jr, but he doesn’t feel like a bad guy. For 30 years, it’s been his job to smash up an apartment block, so that the hero of the game, Felix, can come and fix it up. This has the way things have always been, but after 30 long years of being the bad guy, Ralph’s had enough! He’s going to get himself a medal, bring it back to the world of Fix-it Felix Jr, and become a hero, just like Felix!
One of the big things about Wreck-it Ralph (hereafter referred to as WiR) is that it’s a video game movie. As many of us film goers know, most video game movies are down right terrible, and understandably so. Most of them have pretty simplistic plots and characters that really don’t lend themselves too well to a full blown story. So with such a big studio behind it, and the fact that Disney managed to wrangle up the rights to have so many licensed characters in the movies, most people had pretty high hopes for WiR.
Unfortunately I’m here to try to bring you down to earth a bit.
While Wreck-it Ralph is a story about video game characters, and a few video game worlds, there’s a definite cutting back on video game content as the story progresses. In a way, it reminds me a lot of the classic television series Reboot in that once it has established it’s digital world and it’s rules, it focuses on story and narrative. Considering this is a movie (and not a video game), this is a good thing. It did leave the fanboy in me a little disappointed, as all those awesome video game character cameos we saw early on the film, pretty much faded into obscurity by the end.
So this is pretty much a Disney movie, just in a video game setting? Pretty much. Is it any good? Keep on reading.
The movie revolves around four key characters: Ralph (of course), Vanellope von Schweetz, Felix, and Sergeant Calhoon (who is a woman just by the way). Ralph’s character progression is what you would expect from this kind of movie. Ralph, despite having some anger management issues, is actually a good guy, even if the people of Fix-it Felix Jr don’t treat him that way. Through his game hopping he learns and grows, until he finally becomes the hero that he always wanted to be. He’s easy to empathise with, because he’s the underdog. Vanellope is basically a shorter, squeakier version of Ralph. She’s also an outcast, and while she starts off as somewhat annoying, you learn to love her. Felix, despite being somewhat of a boy scout, is surprisingly likeable. I’m not a big fan of characters who are such goody two-shoes, but Felix manages to pull it off without becoming preachy. He also reminded me in many ways of Mickey Mouse, in that he got angry a couple of times, but like Mickey, he never let’s it completely change him. He vents and stomps, but he never get’s completely furious and out of control. The interaction between Felix and the Sarge is also one of the highlights of the movie. Sarge is a tough sci-fi warrior from a game infested with bugs (not the programming kind), who is inadvertently drawn into Ralph’s adventure when he accidentally let’s one out. She follows Ralph in order to kill the bug before it can multiply, spread, and probably destroy whatever game it’s in. She’s a no nonsense get-the-job done kind of gal, and casting Jane Lynch (of Glee) to play her role was brilliant! As the story develops you find out that (of course) there’s more to her behind that rough and tough exterior, and it adds some much needed humour and romance to the movie.
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned the villain, and there’s two reasons why I haven’t. Firstly, there’s a bit of a twist regarding him, so I don’t want to spoil it. Secondly, he isn’t that big of a deal to be honest. He does play an important part in the story, but he’s just not very memorable.
As I have already said, the story is pretty much standard Disney fair, albeit with a few video game twists. It would have been nice to see a few more video game worlds, even if it was only in the form of a montage. I think this would have done wonders for the movie, since Ralph spends most of the movie in one world once he gets there. There’s so many video game genres, but we only get to see three worlds (excluding the Game Central station) throughout the entire movie.
The animation? It’s Disney, so you won’t be disappointed. I watched this in 2D, but I have the sneaky suspicion that there are some sequences towards the end that will actually look pretty good in 3D.
Movie Rating: Wreck-it Ralph is a fun movie with a good (if formulaic) story, more than a few laughs, and some awesome characters. Unfortunately for video game fans, the movie tends to focus less on the cool video game stuff as the story takes over, but you’ll get drawn into the story so much that you probably won’t notice until the movie is over.
A quick note about Paperman: Yes, it was awesome. The animation is great and the story is sweet and funny. Make sure you’re not late for the movie!