Monday, November 5, 2012

Review of Wreck-It Ralph

I don't know about you, but I don't have a ton of money. Lately, I've left movie theaters feeling very defeated at having spent $66 for a family of 5 watching a "3D" kids' film (there's nothing 3D about it, meaning nothing pops out at you. It just has a little more depth than 2D, and you get used to it after about 5 minutes). Add the $20 for a bowl of popcorn and a drink, and know. So if I'm going to lay down that kind of money for a 2-hour experience, it BETTER be good! Wreck-It Ralph did it for me. Here's why...

First of all, on a Facebook review recently about Hotel Transylvania, I said that I thought a children's movie with an adult main character was a mistake, because kids can't relate to adults. But after seeing Wreck-It Ralph, another kids' movie with an adult main character, what I now realize I MEANT to say was that adult main characters are okay, as long as they're RELATABLE. In Hotel Transylvania, Dracula is afraid of letting his only daughter out into the world. Daddy issues. How many kids can relate to this as a parent? ....... *crickets* No wonder my kids hardly remember what it was about. They just remember the funny dance scenes.

Now, enter Wreck-It Ralph. Voiced by the AMAZING and versatile John C. Reilly, Ralph is an old-school arcade game villain who just wants to be the hero for once. He's tired of living out in the junk pile by himself, tired of seeing Fix-It Felix win all the medals and friends, tired of being unappreciated and overlooked. Can a kid relate to this? Um....YEAH! Now we're talking! Ralph is bumbling, endearing, and he means well, but well, he does have that little problem where he smashes, breaks, and ruins everything. After all, that's how he was programmed, and as they tell him in group therapy, that's okay...he's a bad guy, and that's what bad guys do! But still, Ralph is not happy and wants more. He wants to earn a medal, just like Fix-It Felix does, so that he too, can party in the penthouse. Who does not feel this way ever??!

I'm not going to summarize the movie's plot from here on in, but I will say that every detail in this movie has a purpose, something that, as a writer, I look for in stories, whether they be books or movies. So if you watch it, pay attention! Add to this a few very well-rounded, solid characters, such as Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer), the goody-goody hero of Ralph's game, Jane Lynch's no-nonsense Sergeant Calhoun from a warfare game, Hero's Duty (the butt--pun intended--of a few jokes throughout), a sweet girl in Sugar Rush, named Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), who's a discarded, ignored glitch in the game, with a lot in common with Ralph. Together, they share a common purpose, but there's only room for one winner, and it's both fun and heart-wrenching to see which of them will get what they want in this high-action adventure.

Wreck-It Ralph has restored some of my faith in big film production companies for investing in a NEW idea with NEW characters. It's not a remake, reboot, reimagining, retelling, re-nothing. Seriously, how many different ways do we need to see Spider-Man's story told?? It's ORIGINAL. It doesn't rely solely on eye candy, though there is a LOT of eye candy!!! But it doesn't DEPEND on it. Between the retro looks of the old arcade games and the incredible details of the new ones, both hardcore, gritty games and colorful glittery ones, your eyeballs will explode! But even if you are suspicious of high imagery, remove them and you are still left with a story, the story of someone desperately wanting something and all the struggles and pitfalls of watching him try to get it. This, at the expense of changing the way everybody in his world lives and survives. There's a lot at stake (I cried 3x) and a lot of characterization, and that to me, is how you do it.

Fun, imaginative, original, heart-wrenching, even though a tad on the long side, my kids, husband, and I laughed like silly butts. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this:   A

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  1. Good review Gaby. This flick is a whole lot of fun and even if it is mostly based on nostalgia, well then it's still good nostalgia none the less.