Normally, when people think of video games they think of blood, guns, zits, Mountain Dew and many a mother’s basement. But thanks to “Wreck-It Ralph,” a sweet little Toy Story-esque layer can be tucked underneath the acne.
The newest film from Disney (not Pixar, just plain ol’ fashion Disney) was a video game movie and was a road movie wherein the lead character ventured to find a higher purpose and praise outside his consistent existence. It also had a lot of pretty colors and clever characters. You know, for the kids.
“Ralph” told the story from the perspective of the villain of an original Super Mario Brothers-like arcade game with Ralph (John C. Reily) as Donkey Kong if he were a human who wrecked buildings and Fix-it Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) as the handy man with a golden hammer who, well, fixed them.
The constant act of being thrown off the building at the end of the game and being seen as nothing but a monster led Ralph to lie awake nights in his dump pile of building remains and seek counseling from other game villains once the arcade closed and characters were free to wander. Some say alcoholics have it bad. Before I start haplessly listing pieces of the story, let’s just make it easier on all reading and just get it all out there.
The story at its core was pretty standard. It was a road movie in which Ralph encountered different areas and people and ultimately became the man he wanted to be, but not in the fashion he figured.
But that’s not what made the movie great. The utter imagination and attention to the world created are what made this movie a huge hit and a classic with modern audiences.
The film was filled with rules and regulations (dying in another game meant dying for real and people traveled to other games via cords and surge protectors).
The environments in which Ralph ventured gave something for everyone to enjoy. The foundation of an arcade motif evoked nostalgia for anyone who can remember spending hours pumping quarters and ingesting large amounts of Tab. The “Call of Duty”-esque sci-fi world where Ralph won his sought-after “Hero” medal was more for modern-day gamers who spend weekends trying to earn medals and drown in large amounts of Mountain Dew.
Finally, the last section of the movie took place in a Candyland-meets-“Need for Speed” game that housed plenty of clever candy references (Donuts and Eclairs were cops, and Devil Dogs were their hounds) and pretty colors for young children who have not yet grasped video games and ingests, well, anything with sugar. And for those who don’t care for flashy lights and candy and are looking for something more deeply rooted in character, you will be satisfied, but probably not overly impressed.
Ralph and Felix got the short end of the stick. Though they had their own share of unique quirks and humor, they didn’t really offer anything new beside their established archetypes of the bad guy who wants to be the good guy.
There were plenty of fun supporting characters featuring Sarah Silverman as a hilarious glitch, who lived in Diet Coke Mountain, and like Ralph, just wanted to be more than her game programmed her to be.
Jane Lynch played the intimidating war game Commander who, with Felix, tried to hunt down Ralph before all of the game world was unplugged.
However, despite the lack in complex characters (yet all funny), “Wreck-It Ralph” was still an overwhelming creative and intuitive animated movie with heart, culminating in a sweet and heartwarming finale that posed a reality in which gamers and gaming have a whole new sweet layer that inhabited the desire to live in a world of adventure, where they aren’t as society wanted them to be.
Oh, let’s just face it, gamers just wanna blow up crap and throw it in Samir from India’s face.