Wreck-It Ralph

I loved this film – it’s almost written directly to my generation; however the cinema was full of kids and young families and I wonder what the younger members without the cultural (videogame) referents actually took in.

Anyway, the movie is about the eponymous arcade game villain, dissatisfied with his lot in life. He sets off trying to become a hero and becomes involved in a satisfying adventure that manages to bring together several plot threads into a single climatic finale.

Along the way you see characters from video games of your childhood (there’s “Aerith Lives!” scrawled in graffiti at one point), jerky animation for some of the arcade characters, the up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A cheat code, and all sorts of awesome stuff that makes you realise that you’re old. The contrast between Fix-It Felix and Calhoun was especially interesting: one is a Halo-style modern tough-as-nails female space marine with a “programmed tragic backstory”, the other a tiny completely non-violent hero from the arcade era – the difference in art style, graphics, and the tone of their respective games shows you how things have really changed over the last 30 years.

I didn’t like some of the character designs – I found Ralph a bit too blocky, in a sense reminiscent more of poor CGI design than an 8-bit character. I liked his 8-bit face on the movie posters so much better – there’s some strong emotion, uninterpretable out of context due to the limitations of technology.

Sarah Silverman was pretty funny – she barely has to act. The Mentos and Coke thing was awesome, especially if you’ve seen the clip of the real-life vehicle propelled by the mixture. The doughnut cop was pretty funny. And there was even an AKB48 song for the cutesy “Sugar Rush” Mario-Kart-style racer…

Anyhow, it was for me perhaps the best film of the year. Part of that is nostalgia and being the target audience speaking, part of it is my disappointment at the headline films that didn’t deliver, part of it is that Wreck-It Ralph really is that great.

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