With my last post came a part of my wonderful weekend with the cream sauce I created for a shrimp pasta. Well, that successful adventure of a meal was topped with my outing to a fantastic new movie. I am, of course, talking about Wreck-It Ralph. I kid you not, it is one of the best films I have seen in a while, with endearing characters (perfect voice cast), new and familiar, a unique setting, and a heartwarming story.
Gamers will love the obvious care put into creating this virtual universe of an arcade, and non-gamers will be familiar enough with basic gaming mechanics to understand most of the jokes and endearments on that end. Old and young alike will find ways to connect with the not only the theme of the movie, but the setting as well. As a (nearly graduated) college student, I can tell you that it is just as fun, heartwarming, and appealing to us more “mature” folks as to the kids. Seeing it was certainly another highlight of my weekend.
There are many clever bits and ideas that make this film so enjoyable. From the “Baddies Anonymous” group Ralph becomes a part of, to the concept of a glitch, there is a lot of creativity that went into this one. The story takes place in four main environments: Fix-It Felix Jr., Game Central Station, Hero’s Duty, and Sugar Rush.
Elements of the setting are well thought out from the larger aspects of the spaces to details such as how the human player interacts with and controls the games, especially in the first person shooter world of Hero’s Duty. Visually, the film is stunning with lots of detail on the animation of characters and gaming worlds.
I really don’t want to give too much away, but the different environments also lend themselves to some quirky jokes and drive the story in unique ways. For example, Sugar Rush is a land of made entirely of candy. The “cops” are doughnuts, the Oreos are guards of King Candy’s castle and chant, “oh, oh, o-r-e-o” – and don’t get caught in the Nestle Quick-sand! The plot moves at just the right pace, and while there are still many other worlds that could have been explored, sticking to three keeps it focused and allows us to really connect with the characters.
The characters. Here is where the heart of the story lies, and what heart it has. Not unexpectedly, it’s the classic story of finding yourself. However, think about it – how many times has that story been told by the villain? Exactly. It’s an intriguing perspective that we follow a familiar plot along. Ralph is tired of being the “bad guy”, and wants to prove that it doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. So we get the familiar hero’s journey with a new spin as we see the cast-type villain struggle to find his place, with an exciting and unexplored setting (video games) which is usually seen as being very black and white with little ambiguity.
The main characters are hard not to love and are easily accessible. The relationships they form are, of course, unlikely. Ralph and the young racer, Vanellope von Schweetz, form a tentative alliance and find that they share the same outcast lifestyle. This understanding forms the basis of the strong bond and true friendship that forms between the two. The supporting characters (Felix Jr. and Sergeant Calhoun, more traditional “heroes”) also end up as an unlikely pair while they search for Ralph.
The story is all about finding yourself outside of the role you are put into, and taking the things you dislike most about yourself and turning them into strengths. As it is, sometimes we don’t realize the good we can do with the traits we were “designed” with. It’s a message that hits home for everyone in one way or another.
It appeals to that part of us that wants to prove we can be a hero, that we’re more than our labels. And is that not a message that will always be relevant in the world? We are all familiar with that low point in life that we occasionally find ourselves drifting into, but it’s movies and messages such as this that remind us to be strong, take pride in who we are, and rise above it all.
So if you’re a student being piled with projects and papers right now, or just swamped as the year is coming to a close, take a moment for yourself and add a bit of action, comedy, and heart into your life.
So, need a restart or that extra life? Then do yourself a favor and check out Wreck-It Ralph! Having seen it once, I can honestly say that I would quite happily go see it again. And let me just emphasize that you really don’t have to be a “gamer” to find this movie appealing or hilarious – if that is what’s stopping you from seeing it, go, just go. Go see it now. I promise you will not be sorry.
So yeah, I really enjoyed Wreck-It Ralph…Besides that, readers, I am flying home tomorrow for Thanksgiving and looking forward to seeing my family and being in warmer weather! A post about Rick Steve’s talk and posts about the Diamond Jubilee will be headed your way soon. With that, I’ll say happy Friday and thanks for reading, cheers! Until then…