‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is fun but troubling. It’s froubling.

23 11 2012

By Kleinz 57

Stuffed to capacity with turkey, bottled beers and family angst, I braved the wintry eve of Black Friday and bought a ticket for Wreck-It Ralph. Alone. Sure this came out three weeks ago, but better late than never amirite?

Weirdos of the universe, unite! This is your candy-coated sugary anthem! After lifetime bad guy Ralph abandons his game, Fix-It Felix Jr. and its less than appreciative denizens, Ralph’s streak of wrecking things continues in his quest for a Hero’s Medal and his colleagues’ respect. After mucking up the first-person shooter experience in the Modern Warfare/Gears of War mashup Hero’s Duty, Ralph finds himself stuck in the candy-themed Mario Kart port, Sugar Rush Speedway, and avoiding the annoying “glitch” Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). Vanellope, an outcast in her own videogame world, teams up with Ralph to win a racing qualifier and in the process show everyone how big of dicks they’re being.

I’m gonna go out on a double-striped limb here and suggest that time will not be kind to Wreck-It Ralph. Blame a stupid Skrillex cameo or Rihanna’s “Shut up and Drive” single, which practically gets its own music video mid-movie. Reaching for references to current pop stars reads more like that time your friend’s Dad grew out a ponytail. It’s both sad and terrible, and should’ve been cut from the start.

On the other hand, Simpsons and Futurama veteran director Rich Moore succeeds at layering this world(s) with background characters and references to other games, real or invented. At times, you’re drawn out of the narrative when the film points to itself too much. Holy shit, that’s Sonic the Hedgehog! or You catch that Mario reference, bra? The Darth Vader breathing sound has no place whatsover but these shameless name drops become minor distractions to a greater whole. Each game world has its own tics and features, and their respective characters take on unique traits: Pac-man’s a rude slob and Fix-It Felix’s posse of fans clips and blips with the rigid animation of an 8-bit arcade game. Wreck-It Ralph and its stunning animation deliver glimpses of richness and depth. Then again, Disney could make a movie about the magical world of library science and so long as they included some stupid character named ‘Dewey Decimal,’ I’d still blow a hefty glob o’ ranch dressing.

Given the Mime’s terrible habit of making up words, we’re pretty certain that if you frequent our digital annals, you’ll dig the pun fest in Wreck-It Ralph. Hero’s Duty becomes a poop joke, and there’s a fine difference between hitting a guy with glasses and hitting a guy with glasses. Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee’s script is a punderfully entertaining one, even if certain revelations about characters’ foibles undermine Ralph’s greater message. The idea that we should accept and appreciate people of any ilk works well in the videogame universe, where Blanka and Ryu are equally sweet. Outside in the real world, though? Not so much. The /Filmcast’s Adam Quigley has a point that this film could be propaganda for all of history’s villains. As fun as it is to champion Ralph as the misunderstood lovable oaf, at the end of the day he’s still another A-hole who breaks shit. And let’s just say a serial murderer couldn’t exactly borrow that same argument in court.

DEFENDANT: …you see, your honor, the courts wouldn’t technically have jobs if I didn’t slaughter those 17 women last year. So really, you should all be thanking me.

JUDGE: Bailiff, kindly pistol whip this man.

In other words, don’t think too hard about Ralph’s lesson, or you may end up arguing for terrorism.

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One response

19 03 2013
john menard

Wow i cant belive you yoataly missed the point of the entire movie.A: this whole movie was made to give nods to all the great games through out the years the people who made it even said so. B: its not saying all people are great nor is it trying to say hitler was a good guy deep down (hence the turbo charecter). Its just saying lables mess up chances to know a great person. Like say the bum on the street that you just auto go yuch get away from me, could be the greatest guy youd ever know. Or take for instance our boys in uniform, totaly trained assasins because they are really skilled at what they do. Without them wed all be bowing our heads to allah by now. Just cause someone does something you dont like is no reason to shut them out of your life . THATS the point

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