Film Review: Wreck-It Ralph
I’ve really gotta raise my standards for how impressed I am by CGI kids movies’ visuals.
First I was all over The Lorax’s fluffy trees.
And just last week I was pretty much wetting myself over Rise of The Guardians‘ 3D wanking.
And now I’ve got this, which easily outstrips both of those (while providing some sweet storytelling, too).
Oh, and I downloaded the Owl City credits song as soon as I got home. I have been indoctrinated.
TL;DR Superb visuals, endearing characters and video game fanservice are let down by a noticeable absence of any really funny moments. 3 out of 5 stars.
Example: they use the fact that “duty” sounds like “doodie” (sp? You know, kiddie term for shit) more than once. Added fail bonus for Australian-accented people (me, cunt) who don’t pronounce “duty” like that.
Anyway, so the plot finds a tired, arcade game villain named Wreck-It Ralph unhappy with the 30 years he’s been shunned by the inhabitants of his game, Fix-It Felix Jr. To remedy this, Ralph game-hops between the other arcade games to score a medal (and some R.E.S.P.E.C.T, gurrrl). However, his medal is pinched by Vanellope, a glitch character in a Mario Kart-esque racing game. So naturally, she has to win the race and defeat the evil King Candy to make everyone happy. Friendship, betrayal and eventual success ensues. Meanwhile, Fix-It Felix tries to track down Ralph with the help of CGI Sue Sylvester from alien-shooting game Hero’s Duty. World-threatening robot bug swarms and romantic subplots ensue.
So yeah, this movie is pretty heartfelt and all that jazz. But it was extremely hampered by some very poor attempts at humour. The “duty” sequence is obviously meant to be a huge featured moment, and it’s embarrassing to watch. There were plenty of children in the audience at my cinema and it was pretty much crickets all around.
And I assume that licensing would have been a big sticking point, but for a movie that was supposed to be all about homage and references and in-jokes to classic arcade games, most of the action takes place in fictional video games. And the closest thing we get to Mario on-screen is a mushroom in a throwaway (literally) gag.
On the plus side, the story is impressively involved. It’s glossed over in typical kids movie fashion, but it addresses issues like discontent (holla), bullying, ostracism, redundancy and even homelessness.
Why I hate this movie:
But that goddamn “duty” joke. Why? It’s like the Grimm CGI department started writing jokes for Disney movies.
Every time a real video game character steps into frame the excitement of them actually doing something is quickly replaced by the disappointment of cutting to one of the fake game worlds.
Extra demerit points for titling the shooter as “Hero’s Duty,” then not providing enough COD-mocking. Expectations = not met.
The ending has Vanellope winning the race and resetting Sugar Rush, which returns her to the original coding of the game (as the princess, obv. Because this is a Disney movie and we’ve got some fucking merchandise to flog, bitches). However, she’s all like “I’m still edgy and glitch-tacular, baby” and decides to keep her glitchiness. We even see the glitch powers being used by the kids in the arcade when they’re playing Sugar Rush. Umm, the only reason she was suffering from that was because the game’s coding was fucked up. We are explicitly told that her victory resets the coding (we see it, too) which means there is no way for her to still be glitched. I guess Disney wants to play both sides of the “be true to yourself (because being a glitched outcast is how she and Ralph bond)/regain your destiny” Aesop. Greedy.
The Sugar Rush characters were verging on Bratz doll territory, especially Vanellope. Gross.
Oh, and if game-hopping is as easy and catastrophic as Ralph and Turbo make it look, it makes you wonder why the arcade hasn’t been destroyed several times over already.
Reasons to watch:
I said Rise of the Guardians looked “fucking unreal.” Well, then Wreck-It Ralph looks interracial midget bestiality porn unreal. The Sugar Rush race is glitteringly spectacular.
The plot and characters intertwine and matter to each other. We are given just enough time with Felix and Sue Sylvester to avoid having them appear as Deus Ex Machina excuses when Ralph and Vanellope get into trouble. Felix and Sue Sylvester’s romance is also cute as fuck.
Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship is totes touching. The most emotional moment comes after King Candy tells Ralph that Vanellope’s victory would collapse Sugar Rush (which is later revealed to be a lie) and Ralph decides to smash the race car they built together. Vanellope’s screams of anguish are the real deal.
Bonus points of heartwarming when Ralph brings it to Felix so he can fix it.
Listing the video game references/cameos would be too exhausting.
The voice talent isn’t quite as impressive as Rise of the Guardians, but the performances are just as superb. John C Reilly was made to be the lovable outcast. And Jack McBrayer isn’t helping that type-casting, but it’s good to see he’s not shackled to 30 Rock. Also, Sue Sylvester with a gun and good tits.
Sue Sylvester is such a hard-ass because she was programmed with the most tragic backstory ever (her husband was eaten at their wedding by a cybug). I lol’d. And she doesn’t let that same thing happen at her wedding to Felix. Aww.
The best reference joke in the whole movie is absolutely hilarious, and it’s not even a video game one. When we first go to King Candy’s castle, he has a troop of Oreo guards patrolling the exterior, doing this. Except saying “Or-e-o. Ee-oooooohhhh.” Sublime.
The spectators of the Sugar Rush world are anthropomorphic lollies. Super adorbz.
Oh, and there’s apparently going to be a sequel. With Mario.
The “jokes” will make you cringe and this is a Disney movie, so it’s message heavy. But it’s undeniably sleek, and doesn’t stray into frivolity. 3 out of 5 stars.