| Wreck it Ralph (2012) |
Wreck-It Ralph was likely on many families movies to see list, with cute colorful graphics and old school video game themes it seemed to be the perfect thing to watch after a family game night or day at the park. I must admit as a child who grew up playing classic Nintendo and Playstation games it was definitely something I wanted to check out. Previews implied plenty of cameo's from major video game superstars such as Sonic The Hedgehog and Chun Li along with original characters such as Felix and Ralph. It seemed like it would be the perfect family movie for anyone who ever spent even a dollar at an arcade or owned one of the first gaming consoles to come out. Unfortunately, for me at least, the movie ended up being a disappointment.
I really wish I had a higher opinion of this movie, especially since I loved the concept so much, but the truth is that the movie simply didn't live up to my expectations. I'll begin with the plot, which I think was pretty good, but didn't quite live up to its potential. Ralph, the main character and star of the titular Wreck-It Ralph game at the local arcade, has become tired of his thankless life as the villain in his game. Each day he is forced by the game to destroy and smash everything he can, only for the hero of the game, a small man named Fix-It Felix, to repair everything and send Ralph on his way. because of this the townspeople whom Felix saves everyday have come to love and adore him while making a pariah out of Ralph simply for doing his job. Determined to prove himself and become a hero like Felix is Ralph then sets out on an adventure that will take him to other video game worlds where he'll hopefully find the chance to become a hero like he has always wanted.
This fairly interesting plot had some good ideas and clever jokes, but I feel that they wasted a lot of opportunities to better explore and satire the nature of the old school video games like they could have. When I first saw the movie I was expecting a massive world hopping experience that would take our hero to countless parodies of famous video games and their characters. Sadly, there are only 3 major video game worlds our hero ever visits in this movie: His own, a Halo and Call Of Duty hybrid called "Hero's Duty" and a Mario Kart style racing game called "Suger Rush" where most of the movie actually ends up taking place. As its name would imply this last game feels more like a life sized version of the children's board game Candyland than a Mario Kart themed racing game. To say I was disappointed they chose to pass up so many classic video game levels in favor of 3 fairly bland worlds would be an understatement.
The graphics are as good as you would expect and the movie does an excellent job of using colors, especially in the candy themed locations. Again though, this only highlights how well the movie could have developed other fantastic worlds and places for Ralph to visit. The characters are also well designed, with all of the cameo characters looking just like they would in their game worlds (if those worlds were high def instead of pixel based). The movie did indeed include the appearance of many classic arcade characters, though most of their roles are extremely minor and all but a handful of them only show up as background characters in large crowd scenes. If you were expecting any team ups between Ralph and one of your favorite gaming icons as a child, sorry, but it never happens. Very few of these characters even get speaking lines.
So now you know that the movie was disappointing, but how was the misandry factor? I'm sorry to say that this one saving grace never comes into play. The male characters in general are portrayed as fairly kind and wanting to do the right thing so no major problem there aside from a couple of male gamers being rude to a female gamer during a few scenes. One of the female characters, however, gets in far too much abuse to simply ignore. Sargent Callahan, the leader of the space marines in Hero's Duty is abusive several times to nice guy Felix at several points in the movie. One stand out example is when she hits Felix several times to save them from a trap. She does show some reluctance at doing this and Felix assures her that he can heal himself, but would this scene have made it into the movie if the genders were reversed? Probably not.
I really thought that this was going to be a great movie and I did enjoy some parts, but after around the halfway mark it starts to feel less like a movie about classic arcade games and more of a generic childrens movie. I don't see any reason for children not to love this movie, but you yourself will likely lose all interest in it after the first viewing. It makes a decent babysitter if you want the house quiet for an hour or two... that is about the extent of its worth though. I'd say pass on it if your child has a better movie they would like to watch and hold onto this one as a last resort if they don't find anything else they like.
- Reviewed by MidnightUndead
Rating: PG (Rude humor and mild action violence)
Run time: 108 minutes