Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wreck-it Ralph

Wreck-it Ralph
Being the "bad guy" has never been so popular. You can hardly go wrong as a baddie -- if you're a totally evil psychopath, people love to hate you, and love to see you defeated. If you're misunderstood, or have a sympathetic back-story, people fall in love with you, and wish you over to the good side. Everyone knows who their favorite villain is. Very often they get more attention than the hero. Sometimes they are the hero.

Too bad Ralph (John C. Reilly) doesn't know that. Of course for him, "bad guy" is just his job description. He works inside the video game Fix-it Felix Jr. dutifully wrecking a building so that title character Felix (Jack McBrayer) can fix it again. The other characters in the game, however, don't see it like that. To them, he is the bad guy his job says he is, and that's how they treat him. Ralph is tired of being the bad guy, and wants to fit in with the rest of the characters of his game. Thinking they'll accept him if he had a medal (something Felix is rewarded with at the end of every game) he leaves his game in search of one.

"Ralph raises the roof at a party" or, "Ralph crashes a party." I can't decide...

Such is the premise for this Disney animation, and it holds up well as the plot unfolds. It's a classic plot, so while you might find it a bit familiar, it's tried and true. Safe, but I didn't mind that. The mere fact that it's a movie about video game characters was unique enough for me. But being classic/typical Disney as it is, I can see how its safety (high-quality as it is) could easily land Wreck-it Ralph squarely into that category of movies for some viewers. "'It's great', but it eventually fades from memory." Of course, by the time this movie begins to fade, the sequel will be coming out... oh... smart move there. Anyway, I want to remember it. It made me laugh. In fact, Wreck-it Ralph wins the medal for being the very first movie to make me laugh during a potty humor sequence. Granted, I didn't exactly laugh at the actual potty humor, but still...

The point is, the humor was good, and when it wasn't making me laugh, it was still keeping me amused. And when I wasn't amused I was interested by turning plot points; never ground-breaking, but still thoughtful. And when I wasn't interested in thoughtful plot development, I was being moved by some top-notch character development... for an animated flick at any rate. Ralph's character arc was satisfying, and his relationship with Vanellope - (Sarah Silverman) of the racing game Sugar Rush - was sweet. Pun... unintended, but appropriate.

"Why are your hands so freakishly big?" "I don't know, why are you so freakishly annoying?"

Actors are usually what draws me to a particular movie, but for this movie that wasn't the case, there wasn't anyone I was especially interested in seeing, er, hearing. So when I praise the cast, I do it without bias... Though, after I decided I wanted to see this, I discovered that Alan Tudyk was in it, (playing King Candy) and got pretty excited. Ironically, I then forgot he was in it until after I watched the thing. Still, with my not remembering, he had my favorite line; after someone notes that he must like pink: "Salmon! Sal-- that's obviously salmon."... So, not much bias. With help from a clever and truly funny script, the actors delivered - on more than just punch lines too, though the punch-lines were the best. I also particularly liked Jane Lynch as Sergeant Calhoun, a tough girl from a serious sci-fi shoot-em-up game; she belts out snarky one-liners in her usual style with every breath. And it's epic.

"This is it, ladies! The kitten whispers and tickle fights end now!"

I must mention the animation, because it was pretty wonderful. With the varying arcade characters, the style of animation changed as well, according to the quality and style of the game that character is from - definitely one of my favorite of the tons of little details in the movie. But shiny bells and whistles aside, at game over, Wreck-it Ralph has what it needs; the hallmark message and feel of classic Disney animation, a little bit of retro, a little originality, and a memorable, funny script. All these elements put together, it actually lived up to its potential and turned out to be what it was meant to be; a good movie. And that is not bad. Not bad at all.

-- 3.5/5 stars.

And I must add one more thing; a Owl City/Wreck-it Ralph music video! "When Can I See You Again?" The song plays during the movie credits. It's also very catchy.

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who took her daughters to see this, and they loved it -- now that you've recommended it too, I'll have to find it!