Saturday, 6 July 2013

Film Review: Wreck-It Ralph

When we went to see The Hobbit in the cinema we were right on the top floor, which meant going up on all the escalators past all the posters for upcoming movies, one of which was Wreck-It Ralph. It's one of those films that I knew that I wanted to see as soon as I heard about it. If any film is subtitled with the names 'Disney' and 'Pixar' I'm going to want to be there.

We would have loved to have seen it in the cinema, either on the mainland or locally, but things just didn't work out that way. So when I was off the island for my eye appointment and we found it in Tesco we couldn't help but pick it up. It seemed like a good way to make the trip off the island seem slightly less traumatic. Both Mr Click and I have loved it and watched it twice since we got it, I think it's right up there with our favourites.

If you've not seen it the basic story is this; Ralph is the baddie in an 8-bit arcade game called Fix It Felix, Jr. His job is to wreck the Nicelanders building, while the player controls Felix Jr. who makes it all better with his magic hammer. The problem is, on the game's 30th anniversary, Ralph is beginning to wonder if there isn't something better out there for him. He just doesn't want to be the bad guy any more.

So he leaves the game and goes on a quest to get a medal, so that the Nicelanders will let him move into the pentahouse (rather than living in the dump he calls home, that's an actual dump, not just a figure of speech). Along the way he goes through a couple of other games, causes a bit of trouble but ultimately helps to right some wrongs, resolving everything in true Disney style with the general message one about being true to who you are.

There are so many brilliant things about the way the film is put together that I truly don't know where to begin. From simple little things like the way that the Nicelanders move (in just the same way as their 8-bit versions do on the console screen), to literally hundreds of video game references hidden around the movie (in grafitti, the characters moving around Game Central Station), the way that characters move from one game to another (the terminals are giant sockets). It's just all perfect.

I'm so glad that we watched it a second time within a couple of weeks of our first viewing because there are so many little tiny things that I just overlooked first time around. I got so sucked into the story that I kept on forgetting to keep my eyes peeled so on the second go around I was able to concentrate on the background a little more.

Ralph is voiced by John C. Reilly (which kind of made me want to watch Chicago the whole way through the film). He's playing a similar sort of character in this, someone who's kind of tired of being pushed around and being made to do things he doesn't really want to do (but can't help it even when he tries). There's something kind of bumbling and loveable about him, right from the very beginning.

My other favourite character is Vanellope (pictured above on Ralph's shoulder). She's voiced by Sarah Silverman and bizarrely looks an awful lot like her at times. She is a glitch trapped in the game Sugar Rush but not wanted by any of the other characters there; she can't leave but she can't join in either. She's annoying but so sweet too. In fact, she kind of steals the show. I could quite happy watch a whole film all about Vanellope (and Sugar Rush is my kind of game as well).

I think it's one of those films that everyone can enjoy. It's got the modern style games covered in the form of Heroes Duty, but then there's all the old 8-bit games that older viewers will recognise. There are so many little nods and references to other games that you aren't going to catch them all, or even get them all because some of them seem very game/meme specific.

Included on the disc is the short 'Paperboy' which is an animation that reminded me of 101 Dalmatians in the style of the cartooning. It's mostly in black and white with some red as well and has a man falling in love with a woman and trying to attract her attention with paper aeroplanes. It's simple and sweet and is a good contrast to the main feature of Wreck-It Ralph.

I have a feeling that this will be a film that we'll be enjoying for years to come. Though I can't help but wonder if it might quickly feel dated because of the way that games are changing so quickly. Then again, maybe that'll be fodder for a sequel with Ralph et al coming to terms with games on smartphones and tablets!

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