After a failed attempt on Christmas day to watch Wreck It Ralph (what is it about a massive turkey dinner that makes you fall asleep?) I finally managed to watch the whole thing through, without falling asleep. I have always wanted to see Wreck It Ralph, as I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for retro games. And Wreck It Ralph taps into this retro-revival perfectly, without alienating non-gamers. There are enough hints to game geekery to keep fans engaged, but also employs a generic gaming ‘look and feel’ to appeal to wider audiences.
So Wreck It Ralph is pretty much like most other Disney films, very rounded, clean animation. But I found Wreck It Ralph to be a lot funnier than others. The humour is mischievous and probably errs on the side of encouraging kids to be a bit naughty, but that made it all the more appealing to me. It doesn’t encourage bad behaviour, by any means, more ‘thinking outside the box’ type behaviour. I really liked the story of Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman), she’s an outcast from her game, confined to outside as a glitch (deliberately very close to the word ‘bitch’ I think). She’s picked on and bullied by other characters in her game, Sugar Rush because she’s a little unusual and a bit different. And this is what I love about modern Disney films, they tend to have their main character who is in some way ‘defective’ in their world, and they overcome that by being themselves and never being underhanded or immoral. Obviously they are going to be like that because of the values of the companies behind the films, but it never ceases to amaze me how simple and innocent the messages are. Sure they’re a bit gooey and a bit simplistic, but I defy you to find a Pixar film that doesn’t touch you in some way with its message.
The story itself is a little drawn out. The main premise is that Ralph is the bad guy in his game, and to become a good guy, and to win a bet against the characters in his game, he needs a medal. So he ventures to game central (the plug socket which all the arcade machines are attached to) where he infiltrates Hero’s Duty (obvious reference to Call of Duty) where he finally gets his medal. The story then becomes about his friendship with Vanellope, and in true Disney style proving to himself that he doesn’t need a medal to be a good guy. What I really like about Wreck It Ralph is that it’s release came at a time of growing concerns from parents about video game violence and what effect this is having on players. Myself, I don’t believe that violence can impact on someone’s behaviour without an existing problem. But Wreck It Ralph serves to remind us that ultimately, most games are about the good guys, they aren’t full of violence, in fact there are many games out there which many people hold fondly in their memories, Pac-Man anyone? Sonic the Hedgehog? Although some parents might abhor the fact that many children now know about the diet coke and mentos trick…
Wreck It Ralph is exceptionally funny, and considering it’s a very modern film about modern gaming, it’s surprising that Disney actually pulled this one off. Usually their films are ram full of traditionalist values with soft and tame humour. The voice cast definitely bring this ‘mature’ quality to the film, John C Reilly is brilliant as Ralph, and Sarah Silverman is faultless as Vanellope. Game fans will also appreciate the attention to detail with character movement and pixellated sequences. It’s genuinely a lovely film, with flaws, I can’t ignore the hectic nature of the story, but thoroughly enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to the sequel!
(P.S. – did anyone else see the ‘Aerith lives’ in central station?)
(P.S.S. – as if you need reminding, but the graffiti of ‘All your base are belong to us’ immediately sent me to YouTube to re-experience some good old gaming Engrish)
(P.S.S.S – if you’ve never seen ‘All your base are belong to us’ Youtube it! Very funny)