Wreck It Ralph
Wreck It Ralph was the most celebrated animated film of 2012, though likely most of that praise comes from the simple fact that its about video games. Otherwise its a pretty regular family movie, nothing that will compete with the recent animated greats like Up or the Toy Story films.
The arcade underworld works very similar to the world of Toy Story, where once the people are gone they live lives of their own. Characters can even visit other games, so long as they are back before the arcade opens again. In this world Ralph is unsatisfied with his role as the bad guy, and starts game jumping. This offers an interesting theme to be explored with not accepting your lot in life and being an outsider, though I’m not sure the resolution speaks to these themes too well.
I have to admit that I enjoyed the storyline quite a bit. It follows a clear pattern but also throws some neat dilemmas and twists in, notably the story behind Vanillape (or however the heck I’m supposed to spell that) and the villanous King Candy. That was some good stuff which provided for some drama. However, there were clunky parts like the space bugs taking over another game and a weird romance development.
The visuals of Wreck It Ralph were pretty spectacular. The colour palate alone is enough to get kids on a sugar high. But there’s also some great touches with the way the arcade characters move and how the candy world of Sugar Rush was detailed that always make for an interesting watch.
The downside to this movie is that the writing isn’t so hot. Not so much the story, which I’ve already mentioned that I enjoyed, but the dialogue is really the problem here. It just falls flat; noticeably flat. There are really no interesting lines here, which also affects the humour. Its very, very basic and juvenile. Lines like “why are you so freakishly annoying” and even a “did not/did too” argument shows that they didn’t have a lot in the way of inspiring dialogue. In fact, almost anything the little girl says showcases how childish the writing is.
The music also disappoints, which is a surprise coming from Disney. I know they were going for more of a retro video game music style, but lets face it, those melodies aren’t very emotionally rousing.
This was a fun movie, and gamers will get a kick out of some of the references I suppose (though there’s not as many as you would think). The video game world is interesting to explore, but I’m not sure all levels of code were working well enough to make this a hit.