Hey tumblers, Ian here. I’m the one on the podcast that talks over everybody and thinks he’s hot shit because he can talk louder and faster than other people. When I’m not listening to my voice on the podcast for hours on end, I watch movies! A lot of movies! Mostly old ones, but sometimes I take off my black and white tinted glasses and go see something new. This weekend, my friends, was one of those times; I ventured to the multiplex and saw Wreck it Ralph.
Wreck it Ralph is the latest production from Disney Animation Studios, staring John C. Riley, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, and a bunch of other celebs. John plays the main character, who is the villain of an arcade game modeled after Donkey Kong Jr., who strives to break the mold and be a hero for once. The plot is pretty predictable, but I can’t really fault it for that since I am well over the target age for this movie. The animation isn’t going to blow your mind, but it is still very well done.
One thing I do give this movie major credit for is how it handles the video game subject matter. A lot of movies struggle to present video games in a way that make it interesting (or even fun) to an audience who doesn’t play them to watch. That was fine in the eighties, when the only people who really understood video games were still kids, but over the last thirty years, no one really ever solved this problem. Video game to movie adaptations have historically been sub-par, and movies turned into video games have never been much more than quick turnaround cash-ins. There are some notable exceptions to both cases, but when I first heard about Wreck it Ralph, I thought the only thing it was going to wreck was Disney Animations Studios track record. After having seen the movie, though, I can say I’m pleasantly surprised with how well it’s handled. The people who wrote the script clearly have respect and knowledge of video games, but don’t get too deep into it so that a non-gamer couldn’t follow what was going on. It also helps that Disney can buy the rights to use all of the characters people would recognize. If you go and watch the trailer, you can see Bowser, Pac-man, Sonic, Zangief, and basically every video game character the public is familiar with. This doesn’t stop them from putting some more obscure references in though, which the parents of the kids who would take them to see this can appreciate. I don’t think kids are going to know who Q-Bert is, but I’m sure some father somewhere nodded his head in appreciation of the inclusion.
Overall, Wreck it Ralph is a solid kids film. Parents who see it won’t be bored, post-ironic 20 something’s can see it and not hate it, and kids will enjoy it for sure. As someone who plays video games I didn’t cringe like I usually do every time a video game joke is made in a movie. That being said, I didn’t really have any extremely positive reaction to it either. It’s probably not going to make it on my end of the year list, but if you have the time and money, I’d say go see it.
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