Monday, November 12, 2012

Theater Review: Wreck-It Ralph

I don't think I would call myself a 'gamer', but I do enjoy playing video games from time-to-time. I have always thought 'wouldn't it be cool to play as the bad guy?'. Well, apparently the bad guys also feel that they have a lot more to offer as well.

Some time in the 1980s a video game called 'Fix-It Felix, Jr.' hit the arcade floors. The concept of the game was pretty simple: Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) likes to wreck things and selects an apartment building filled with tenants to destroy. Along comes Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) and his golden hammer to fix everything that Ralph has destroyed - and the tenants love Felix so much he gets a medal and a pie.

'Fix-It Felix, Jr.' somehow managed to stay in the arcade for over 30 years while other games of its generation broke down or lost its popularity - this game stayed in its spot, and although not played as much as it once was, still served its purpose.

In the same vein as Toy Story, where the toys were at the mercy of the children while they were played with but came alive when the children were gone, video game characters were at the mercy of the gamers while the arcade was open. But, once the arcade was closed the characters could leave their game and journey to other games, or a hub (the power strip) where a lot of characters would mingle. It was also a place for characters to live once their games were unplugged.

On the day of the games 30th anniversary, Ralph had finally had enough of being an important part of the game, but not getting any respect from Felix or the tenants of the building. He attended a support group for video game villains - who only told him not to go Turbo (who was apparently a character from a racing game who jumped to other games and caused not only his game, but other games to be unplugged).

Ralph had no plans to go Turbo, but once he returned to his game and found that Felix and the tenants were having an anniversary party without him - he crashed the party only to find out that he would never be welcome because he could never win a medal on his own.

With that in mind, he left his game and found a game in the arcade called 'Hero's Duty' where if he were to climb the tower he would be rewarded a medal and finally gain the respect he wanted. Leading the way in this game was Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). Once the arcade was open and Felix realized Ralph was missing, he took off to look for him - leaving the game unattended and it was given the dreaded 'Out of Order' sign.

Ralph was able to climb to the top of the tower and was awarded a medal, but he also awoke a Cy-Bug that stuck to his face as the two fell into an escape pod that was launched into the game 'Sugar Rush'. With a Cy-Bug and Ralph now missing, Felix and Calhoun join forces to find them both.

Now in Sugar Rush, Ralph stumbles upon Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) who ends up using Ralph's medal to enter the Sugar Rush race - in order to get it back, Ralph helps Vanellope create a car so she can win the race and also win all of the coins, which included his medal.

Pretty big recap, and I didn't even touch on anything that was majorly important - just really the setup of the actual movie.

I felt this movie was amazing. Really ranks up there with some of the Pixar films, which is saying a lot, especially coming from me who feels Pixar can almost do no wrong and is the superior in animation films. This movie had a great story and a ton of heart, which Pixar is so great at doing.

The animation in the film, however, may have been its crowning achievement. I loved so very much how each video game character looked so different and their movements were just like in a video game. The tenants in the apartment building are the best example to this - just fun to watch them. Plus, how characters like Felix and Ralph looked great, but they were a bit different looking than Calhoun, who came from a brand new game with all of the bells and whistles.

Another great thing in this movie is the layers upon layers of video game nostalgia. Sure there were a ton of things created just for this movie, but there were also a ton of cameos of characters from other video games, and other various things throughout the film that either mentioned or showed something from other video games. It was fun to do, but I am looking forward to seeing it again (probably on DVD) so I can really check them out.

A great movie - and now I am also hoping they make a Sugar Rush video game (if they haven't already). It may look like a girl's game, but man did it look like it would be fun to play.


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