So yesterday I ran out of work late to pick up my other half and we went straight to the cinema where my stomach decided that I was starving.
Unfortunately, due to my cheese allergies, this left me with only one option; cinema hotdog. Mmm, yum.
We went to see Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph (John C Reilly) is the bad guy in arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr (Felix being the good guy) and he’s fed up of it. Desperate for some sort of recognition and acceptance, Ralph ventures into another game to prove himself. On this journey he ends up in a racing game called Sugar Rush where he meets Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), a glitch who’s been shunned by her game and dreams only of racing.
This is a Disney film so quality is expected. The animation of Wreck-It Ralph is a joy purely because of the detail that has gone into the different games. The animation of the characters in the Fix-It Felix game compared to the characters in Sugar Rush, for example, is completely different showing the evolution of the arcade game.
Speaking of the evolution of arcade games, this film is perfect for those geeks who can recognise games, arcade or otherwise. I’ll be honest, I only recognised a few. I’m proud to say that I understood all references to Super Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m ashamed (I think) to say that I missed the reference to World of Warcraft’s Leeroy Jenkins, especially considering that during my short time playing WOW one of my lovely WOW friends was our own personal Leeroy…needless to say I may have been his only true friend…
I did receive an education on the way home of computer and arcade games from my other half, to the extent that I was left smiling and nodding and not really taking any of it in.
Animation and game gags and references are not everything. This film would also need a good plot and strong characters to be successful. Wreck-It Ralph has these in spades. Ralph is the perfect hero, the bad guy who’s actually a lovely, good guy but no one’s ever told him. His vulnerability is endearing and his optimism is uplifting. You’re left cheering him on and worrying for him at the same time. I loved Ralph and I will say this now and never again; Ralph made me cry.
After watching Sarah Silverman on the Graham Norton show, I was concerned. She was brash and annoying and I was worried that Vanellope would just be a little animated Sarah Silverman. I was wrong. Vanellope is annoying but loveable, full of just as much vulnerability as Ralph so that both characters would naturally be drawn to one another. Vanellope is almost the ray of hope that Ralph needs, the tool to bring Ralph closer to his game’s good guy Felix and the catalyst for making life in the arcade that little bit more bearable for certain characters.
If there is one thing I disliked about this film however, it was down to Vanellope. She is brash and rude in the wonderful way that children are and, unfortunately, very American. There is a whole bit given to the humour of the word ‘duty’. Duty, in the UK, does not mean that same as in the US and I imagine that it would have gotten laughs from audiences in the US. At least at snigger. Not like last night, where it was met with an awkward silence.
I also had a small problem with Rhianna’s Drive being used during one part of the film. On an innocent level, the song worked perfectly. On a personal level I’ve always understood the song to be about sex and to suddenly have it blasted out during a children’s film when surrounded by children made me feel a little uneasy. Of course, that’s probably a silly thing to find wrong with a film and if I’m having to use this an example of where the film went wrong surely this just shows how good the film was.
Felix is also brilliant and I was happy to find that he too was likeable. I wondered if he would be the good-guy-actually-bad-guy as Ralph is the bad-guy-actually-good-guy. But Felix is just as good as Ralph and through Ralph’s journey, he too becomes better. There’s also Calhoun, from a modern war game, who is the strong female character is the ways that Vanellope isn’t with a fierce, take-no-nonsense attitude and still being able to be humourous and likeable.
But the character which really intrigued me was King Candy. His voice had me staring narrow eyed at the screen trying to figure out who it was and I am thrilled to say that it was the wonderful Alan Tudyk! I can’t say more without giving spoilers and as this film is so new I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.
I don’t want to ruin it because there is a real twist in this film. I was waiting for it and I was wondering about it and still I didn’t guess it, although I’m sure others did. I found all of the twists and turns thoroughly enjoyable and interesting.
In fact I found the whole film incredibly enjoyable. Ok, so it isn’t an amazing film of epic proportions. I won’t be downloading wallpaper for my computer or buying the soundtrack or bribing family members to go and see it again with me. I certainly won’t be buying merchandise (Thorin’s key to Erebor in the shape of a keyring is on its way to me as I type) but this is a great film. It’s a brilliant film for children, with sentimental messages, action, softness, scary moments and happy moments. It is brilliant for adults whether you remember any of the games or not; it’s funny with intelligent references (there were moments when me and my other half were laughing and parents sniggering and all of the children around us simply looked on).
Now I was content with the geek level of this film. However, I have it on good authority from those around me who are much more knowledgeable that a lot more could have been made of game references. In fact, they felt that this was lost as the film went on, which I suppose it is a little as the introduction to the world of the arcade is over and story really gets going but I don’t know how the writers could avoid this without damaging the message in the story.
I loved this film. It was everything I could ask for out of children’s Disney film about computer games. If you liked Toy Story, you will like Wreck-It Ralph and who didn’t like Toy Story?