Wreck-It Ralph

“Fair warning. If this day turns out the way I think it might, you could be hearing a lot from me. I actually shoulda done this one last night, but the combination of waking up earlier than I’d have liked and pear cider knocked me out early. But the whole “”fall back”” thing gives me extra time this AM.

The second half of yesterday’s double was Wreck-It Ralph. OMG geeky gamer goodness. My faith in kiddie movies has been waning lately, but Ralph brought it back up. This was the perfect combination of silly jokes for the little kids, and clever jokes for the big kids like myself.

I sorta consider myself a gamer, or at least a retro or classic gamer. I don’t play so much nowadays, but I grew up pretty harcore. I consider Sonic the Hedgehog to be my homeboy, and I still have my Genesis. I have come dangerously close to losing friends over my mad skillz at Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. The only reason I bought a Wii is to play Rock Band, because I was otherwise perfectly happy working my way very slowly thru Zelda games on N64. Therefore, I am the perfect target audience for this film.

The plot was more layered than I normally would have expected for a kid’s film. I was impressed. You had the plotline that’s referenced in all the trailers, where Ralph is tired of being a bad guy and goes on a sorta life journey thru the other games. He is determined to win a medal in a game so he can be accepted. But him leaving puts his game in danger of being unplugged, and he also inadventantly releases an alien bug creature from its homegame, endangering another. He befriends Vanellope, a glitch in a racing game who is determined to enter her game’s qualifying race and join the racing roster. But if Vanellope wins, she could destroy her game. Yeah, layers. Not just one single path or arc, but a whole lotta characters dealing with a whole lotta different things. And it was well put together. I was into it, I cared about the characters. While some of it was predictable (c’mon, targeted at six year olds) there were twists I didn’t see coming or didn’t even think about.

What really sold it, though, was the characters. John C Reilly’s Ralph was a loveable giant. The same kinda misunderstood loner guy that he usually plays in live action films, just a bit bigger. Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope was perfection. I don’t know why she hasn’t voiced more characters before, but she was fun and sassy and silly and adorable. Jack McBrayer’s Fix It Felix was so earnest and sweet. Jane Lynch’s Calhoun was basically Sue Sylvester as a video game, which worked for a minor character.

All of that would have been great on its own, but the references is what really made this stand way out from other movies. Street Fighter, Sonic, Qbert, Pacman, so many classics represented. There was some incredibly clever dialog thrown in too and the visual was gorgeous. There was a lot of playing around with the 8 bit characters, seeing pixelized versions of some of our heroes in other games, or the squred edges of background objects in some of the older “”worlds””.

Just such a fun ride. I’m sure all of my nerd friends will certainly appreciate it. I know it had me laughing pretty hard throughout.

Wreck-It Ralph – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

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