Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Wreck-It Ralph

As a gamer, it's my duty to weigh in on Disney's Wreck-It Ralph, which promised (at least, from the trailer) to be the rare sort of video game-inspired movie that not only uses its source material well, but uses it with reverence.

Everything you need to know about the story is there in the trailer; the question is, how is the movie?

It's very good. As a gamer, I'm pleased. Wreck-It Ralph left me optimistic for the future of video game movies. But it also left me wanting more.
Wreck-It Ralph is, first and foremost, a family movie. It's not really a movie for gamers, any more than Toy Story is a movie for toy collectors. There are more than enough scenes, cameos, parodies, and references to warm the pixelated hearts of retro and modern gamers alike, but at its core, Wreck-It Ralph is a movie about a big guy and a little girl who just want to be treated as equals. The fact that they're video game characters opens up some fun possibilities for how their story unfolds.
As a film, I appreciate how Wreck-It Ralph continually takes the story in unexpected directions, especially when it's so obvious what's supposed to happen next. Characters are fun, memorable, and have a good amount of depth to them (yes, even the 2-D ones, har har har). As a film set inside a video game (really, a game arcade), I'm relieved to see that the people involved with Wreck-It Ralph have actually played a video game before. From the music to the backgrounds to the character animations, everything feels right.
Where the movie leaves me wanting more is the large portion of time spent inside one particular game, which could have instead been spent hopping around to so many more video games. Granted, the movie does a great job of making the most of that location, but the film's own success up to that point is its greatest downfall: It's so rare to see video games treated with such genuine respect on film that I wanted the creators to spend more time exploring all the different games in the arcade, rather than focusing on the one place where it made most sense for the characters to be. The story, which is a very good story, got in the way of the even better presentation of various video games and video game genres by people who knew what they were talking about.
The movie's funny, too, and I have no doubt the writers could have made Wreck-It Ralph a full-on video game comedy instead (which, honestly, is what I was really hoping for). Keeping in mind that Wreck-It Ralph is first and foremost a family movie, however, keeps me from dwelling on what could have been. Because, once again, it's still a very good movie. I could do without the obligatory potty humor, though; all those jokes about Hero's Duty are making me rethink the way I phrased my introductory sentence for this post.
Nevertheless, Wreck-It Ralph—like the latest batch of Marvel movies, which have done the same for comics—reassures me that it's not impossible to make a video game-inspired movie that's more than a little above average, if not downright great.

Oh, and as a side note, Metroid: Other M could've had a Samus like Sgt. Calhoun: tough, assertive, focused, driven, and with the most tragic backstory ever, but still a caring woman under that butt-kicking exterior, and still sexy without endless fanservice.

We could've had this Samus...
...but instead we got this one:
Just sayin'.


JoeReviewer said...

I just got back from seeing this in theaters and I absolutely loved it! I see what you mean though, the movie did really leave me wanting more, but to me it did it in a good way, wanting more because it was so good, yet having a satisfying conclusion.

I actually filmed a response to my experience with the movie that I'm going to upload soon, I'd love to get your feedback on it when I do :)

JoeReviewer said...

Double comment cause the first one didn't subscribe me to the post :P