Original Release: November 2, 2012
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Directed By: Rich Moore
Notable Actors: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch
Have you ever wondered what video game characters do after we turn off the console? How do they relax after a long day of killing aliens or fighting orcs or eating mushrooms? And what happens when they get tired of their current programming and decide they need a change of pace? These questions and more are answered in our next film as we near the end of this little series, Wreck-It Ralph. Unlike many films, this one teaches a sort of opposite lesson. No longer are we being told to branch out, go outside our comfort zone, or change it up. Wreck-It Ralph is all about taking the life you have and finding the best parts of it. Whether it is your friends, or job, or lifestyle, this is a film which preaches acceptance and loving one’s self. I’m going to level with you, not only is this one of my favorite films in our series as of late, but it is one of my favorites in the entire Disney canon. Prepare yourself. I’m going to gush about this one.
The story for Wreck-It Ralph actually began production all the way back in the late 1980’s, going by the title High Score. From then, it would gradually get sat down and then picked up again. One version was called Joe Jump, another Reboot Ralph. When production finally officially began, the challenge became getting the rights to all of the video game characters in the film. Nintendo was super happy to allow Bowser’s use as they believed that there simply could not be a support group for bad guys that Bowser did not attend. Mario ended up not being used as they feared he was too big and would take away from the overall story. Yet Sonic, managed to make a quick cameo in explaining the rule that if you die outside your own game, that’s it. Farewell.
Ralph is an instantly lovable character. He’s a guy that is just so turned down by society. No one gives him the time of day even though, in truth, his game could not exist without him. He just wants to be accepted. Or at least, he just wants to not hate his job. It’s a fair request. Yet all of his ‘co-workers’ think that all he does is break stuff. I think many of us adults have felt this sort of feeling at work at some point in our lives. Everyone gets the joke but us. We are the only one not invited to the party. It’s something that everyone understands, yet with Ralph, it means so much more. To leave his game and venture out on his own, or going ‘Turbo’, is flat out forbidden. Yet go Turbo he does, in hopes of earning a medal and, more importantly, some respect.
Right off the bat, the world of this film is one of the most realized and interesting that we’ve had in 52 movies. All the rules are given to us early on so that we know what to expect. Game hopping is a bad thing. Dying outside of your game is a bad thing. Glitches are a bad thing. Tragic backstory programming is a bad thing. The world clicks so well and I love that because of the idea that these are all video games, we get to see everything from a bar to an epic space battle to the world of candy. It keeps things exciting and seeing how the characters from these worlds interact and clash with each other is always so fun.
Luckily, Ralph, while lovable and always fun to watch, is not the only great character in this film. Vanellope von Schweetz is adorable, yet tragic. Learning her plight as a glitch and the way that she too is ostracized from the group is so moving and seeing her and Ralph, an unlikely pairing, find so much trust and faith in each other is one of the best parts of the film. The supporting cast of Fix-It Felix Jr. and Sergeant Calhoun are equally great. I love that the ‘couples’ in this film are odd pairings, two characters you would never think would get along and somehow manage to. I also love that none of these characters are bad. They all want to do the right thing but often make mistakes by coming at problems with their own baggage and personal opinions. Yet in the end, it takes all of them working together to stop the evil bug invasion.
The best part about Wreck-It Ralph is that it always manages to be surprising but never manages to feel coincidental or ludicrous. We go from Fix-It Felix’s game to Tapper’s bar to the space battle of the bugs to candy world. It’s always changing yet because the world is so solidly devised, none of it ever seems to be a crazy leap and I love that about this film. Everything fits because the creators were so painstaking in making it all work together. Even the reveal that Turbo actually is King Candy is not a huge leap because it is all set up so well beforehand. Sure, we are surprised, but everything makes perfect sense.
Wreck-It Ralph is also incredibly moving. The climatic moments of Ralph breaking Vanellope’s car, or jumping to his death to save her or trying to pull her from the game, even though he knows he can’t are real tear jerkers and the fact that these moments are so gut wrenching, makes the characters’ ultimate success that much more moving. When Ralph and Vanellope win and she is crowned Princess, while Ralph returns happily to his game, we really feel like it is earned and it is just so pleasing to see these characters finally get the life they deserve.
I could go on, really I could, but I think you get the point. Wreck-It Ralph is a slam dunk of a film. Every little thing, and big thing for that matter, works. In a film that could easily get lost in its own mythology or the story it’s trying trying to tell, it manages to do all of it with class and style while still managing to be laugh out loud funny. I might even go so far as to call this film a modern masterpiece. It’s easily on par with Pixar and is a film that no matter how many times I see it, it never manages to get old. Wreck-It Ralph is hilarious, deeply moving and completely genuine and if you haven’t seen it, then go do it right friggin’ now!
Oh gosh you guys! It’s almost over. We only have two films left in this series! The series that made my blog what it is today. The series that allowed my amazing readers to find me. I swear, I am not going to cry. Okay, I’m going to cry but I won’t do it in a corner while eating cookies. Oh gosh, where are my cookies. I’m doing this!
Next Up: Frozen
* * *
NOTE: Obviously all the photos are courtesy of Disney Entertainment and I would never in a million years claim them as my own. That being said, all are actually taken with my phone during our viewing in order to capture the moment in a slightly different way than originally intended.
ALSO: My Fiancee has a blog too and he is talking about all the classics we are currently watching, which involves more than just Disney. Head over HERE and check it out!