Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Publisher: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: December 26, 2012
Disney are back in the saddle once again with another animated adventure this time by the name of Wreck-It Ralph. This is not the usual Disney family romp however, Wreck-It Ralph feels both simultaneously familiar and radically new territory.
Set within video-games in an arcade, Wreck-It Ralph is a film that inherently will feature a lot of references for gamers, but to think that this is a film just for them is a mistake. Wreck-It Ralph isn’t a film about video-games so much as it is a film set within video-games. If you can go into this film with that state of mind, you will find a lot to enjoy and heck you might even find somethings rather moving at times.
Wreck-It Ralph is an affectionate video-game tribute with a message underneath it, but as a film does it stay connected or go out of order?
Wreck-It Ralph follows titular perennial bad guy Ralph as he embarks on a journey to become a good guy and in the process gain acceptance and a better life. It’s a simple premise and placing it within the world of video-games gives a lot for Disney to draw from.
What exactly makes a person bad and what exactly makes them good? This is a question the film ponders throughout its run and reaches the answer it reaches is truly heart-warming.
The film begins with Ralph’s day to day life in his game ‘Fix-It Felix Jr.’ in which he serves as the villain that only wrecks things. He is shunned by all the other characters in his game and is forced to live in the dump outside of town. He becomes convinced that he will become accepted by them like Felix if he wins a medal, this sets his journey into motion and he starts game-jumping.
As Ralph sets out on his quest to become a good guy he discovers someone who understands his pain. That being Vanellope one of the films best characters, she understands Ralph on a level that others simply can’t.
Vanellope is a glitch in her game, which causes the rest of her game’s inhabitants to reject her and treat her like a fugitive. Being a glitch she can’t ever leave her game and if the plug where to ever be pulled, she would die. Ralph sides with Vanellope as he fights to save her, the only person that accepts him for who he is, which sets into motion a wicked series of events and twists that are delightfully foreshadowed all of which culminate in a glorious finale to savour.
In the end Ralph becomes a hero and he earns the acceptance of his game’s inhabitants, not because he is a hero but because he is their villain, without the bad guy there is no game. They accept that he is a as much a part of the game as they are and they come to see that he isn’t such a bad guy afterall.
Ultimately Wreck-It Ralph isn’t a film about video-games, it is a film about belonging and why we feel the need to belong, why we desire connection and acceptance. So what exactly makes a bad guy a bad guy? Well sometimes bad guys are just misunderstood and sometimes they are just plain bad, but the difference between inherent villainy and unintentional villainy is pretty clearly defined here. Regardless, If a little girl can like Ralph, how much of a bad guy can he really be?
Visuals and Audio:
There is a great deal of visual and musical references to gaming in this film but they never really take away from the films original work. The art in the film looks gorgeous and the worlds in which it takes place are very well realised and concieved. Although they may not be the video-game worlds gamers want to see they are well done and highly detailed. The character designs are also great being both memorable and charming.
The soundtrack of the film is solid with a number of familiar tracks such as ‘Shut Up and Drive’ by Rihanna. AKB48 also provide an excellent original song for the film titled ‘Sugar Rush’, the song is almost entirely in Japanese oddly enough except it’s chorus. It’s catchy to say the very least. All in all Wreck-It Ralph’s music has a lot of variety and is timed with precision to lift scenes to greater heights. It’s an impressive effort to say the very least.
From start to finish Wreck-It Ralph is an exciting family adventure that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you go in with the mind frame that you are simply watching a film set in a video-game world and not so much a movie about video-games, you will find a lot of enjoyment, but if you go in with too high expectations of a video-game movie you will surely be disappointed. Take Wreck-It Ralph for what it is, a heartwarming Disney adventure with some video-games references sprinkled throughout.
If you give it a chance Wreck-It Ralph will surprise you with it’s warm soul and honest message about acceptance. Even if that isn’t to your taste the entire adventure is non-stop fun that anyone can enjoy. In the end the only thing Ralph wrecks is expectations, by completely blowing them out of the water and being better than many imagined it could have been. This is a must see film this holiday season for all ages.
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