Monday, September 07, 2015

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Sometimes, it’s hard to break out of a mold.  If you’re destined for greatness, you don’t question this.  However, if you’re destined to be the bad guy, you may just want a chance to prove you can do better.  Such is the life of Wreck-it Ralph.  He’s a good guy, but he’s been cast as the villain in a game called Fix-it Felix, Jr.  Everyone loves Felix because he comes to the rescue.  No one wants anything to do with Ralph because he’s a big oaf and all he does is destroy stuff.

This is how the game was designed.  Characters have to stay in character while the game is on, but this seems to extend into their off time, as well.  Ralph has his purpose, but he also has his place, and that place happens to be a pile of bricks at the end of the day.

One day, he decides to take matters into his own hands.  One of the residents of the building he always destroys tells Ralph that if he can win a medal, he can have the key to the penthouse.  He then goes into a first-person shooter game called Hero’s Duty and manages to get the medal, but inadvertently puts another game at risk.  Also, since Ralph wasn’t in his own game, Fix-it Felix, Jr. is assumed to be broken and may be unplugged.  He’s given the key he was promised, but is further ostracized.  To make matters worse, he has endangered a third game called Sugar Rush Speedway.  While in the game, he meets a character going through a similar plight.  (Vanellope von Schweetz isn’t even allowed to participate in her game.)

This is one of those movies where you can probably figure out what’s going to happen.  If Ralph doesn’t get what he wants, he’ll at least put things back close to the way they were and maybe earn some respect.  The fun of the movie, at least for adults, will be nostalgia.  We get to see a lot of video-game characters for 30 years ago, like Pac-Man and Q*bert.  Some of the games were designed for the movie, either to make it easier to write the story or to at least avoid copyright issues.  The characters live in their own universe with games connected by the power cords.  (Those whose games were shut off live in power strips.)

You’d think that animated means simple, but this was one of the more interesting animated movies I’ve seen in a while.  The main character is a villain trying to be a hero.  He meets another character that also just wants to be accepted.  Yes, a few of the characters are a little exaggerated, but this is a movie about video games and their characters.  This is to be expected.  You can empathize with Ralph; the people in his game aren’t necessarily nasty to him, but they could do a lot better.  He’s not asking for much.

There were a lot of references to video games, a few of which I missed.  Those that grew up in the 80s will probably recognize many of the characters and games.  There are a lot of throwaway jokes based on games, both classic and current.  Most are simple, like graffiti in bathrooms and stuff.  It’s definitely a fun movie.  I’d recommend renting it.

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