Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wreck-It Ralph 2012

Personal Overview: right from the time I first heard about Wreck-It Ralph I was convinced it was a Pixar release. So much so that I was even waiting for John Katzenberger’s cameo (he does do one in Brave, as a guard).

I think it was a measure of how tightly intertwined the two companies had become since Disney’s take over of Pixar. I have visions of them tossing a coin in the boardroom and saying ‘Heads Wreck-It Ralph is ours, and tails Brave is Disney’s.’

The story itself: about the day to day lives of video game characters when the arcade shuts down for the night, is Pixar. There’s even shades of Toy Story in there.

The moral of the story: a ‘bad guy’ becoming good, though, is Disney.

They had cameos by actual game characters: Q-Bert, Pacman, some of the Street Fighter characters, the bartender from Tappa, etc… Even the fictional games and characters are clearly lifted from actual games. The first person shooter that Ralph enters to get his much wanted medal is just like any alien invasion first person shooter game. There’s elements of the original Donkey Kong in Ralph’s game, Ralph himself is not unlike the destructive gorilla and his game’s ‘hero’ Fix-It Felix Jr reminded me of Mario, also from Donkey Kong originally.

If Sugar Rush isn’t based on a game, it should be. Admittedly it was so realistic that it just about made my teeth ache and did make my mouth water. If it was a real game that you could play I’d be interested. It looked like fun.

They created a real fun kick-ass character with Vanellope. Yes, she was an obnoxious little so and so, but she had a tragic back story and even with her mouth you kind of had to like her.

It had the fun touches like Sugar Rush’s cops being a chocolate ├ęclair and a donut. Not all the kids in the audience got that, but I’m pretty sure the adults did.

It also had the happy ending, although this time the ‘Princess’ didn’t get a Prince, although Felix did get Jane Lynch’s Sgt Tamora from Hero’s Duty in the end.

Hero/es: except for the villain everyone in this is a hero. Ralph, who rises above his ‘bad guyness’ to become a ‘good guy’ and save the entire gameworld, being prepared to sacrifice himself in the process. Vanellope, who no matter how many times she got kicked down, just kept on getting back up, eventually reclaiming her game from the villainous King Candy. Felix, who went out of his own game to put things right and Sgt Tamora who was written as a standard hero complete with required dialog (‘Make your Mamas proud time’ tends to stick in my mind).

Villain/s: there’s really only one and you don’t totally pick him until later in the film. You don’t like King Candy because he’s creepy (honestly he is) and because he’s in Vanellope’s way. You know there’s something not right about him, but the plot twist and his backstory is worthy of any epic fantasy story you care to name. The incredibly versatile Alan Tudyk does a great job with his very over the top portrayal.

Cuteness Factor: if you can get past how obnoxious Vanellope is, she’s cute, all the candy stuck in her hair and all. The idea itself is very cute. You have to feel sorry for Q-Bert, pathetically begging on the streets of gameworld because his game was shut down. There’s a wonderful scene with Felix in King Candy’s fungeon (get it?) when he uses his magical hammer to try and break out, but all it does is make the bars in his cell stronger, because his hammer only fixes things, not break them. That made me go ‘awwww!’

Animation: this is another reason I think of it as Pixar. Both Disney and Pixar have had very distinct styles over their histories, although they’ve started to meld ever since Disney took Pixar over and John Lasseter headed up the combined animation departments, but Wreck-It Ralph has that Pixar style, and the animators went absolutely berserk with the Sugar Rush world, like I said seeing it made my teeth ache and made me want to go out and buy something sickeningly sweet and full of sugar. Willy Wonka eat your heart out!

Final Words: Vanellope for President! Oh wait, I think that already happened. Wreck-It Ralph only cemented the company’s reputation and the juggernaut keeps rolling on through the Renaissance.

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