I’m a gamer. At least, I used to be. I played computer games. I’ve owned a Sony PlayStation and a Nintendo system. Before that I had a Colecovision and my first gaming system was an Odyssey2. (You’ll probably have to look that one up.) When I went to the mall I loved going to the video arcade to play my favorites games. (I had no idea when I moved to South Florida the “video games” and “arcades” were all full of slot machines and not the beloved games I wanted to play.) When I saw the trailers to “Wreck-It Ralph”, I was excited to see the movie since it was about the video game characters I grew up on.
The video game Fix-It Felix Jr. is a 30-year old arcade game that is still popular. However, the video game’s bad guy, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), is feeling underappreciated for his bad-guy duties. He yearns to be a good guy, but his programming would never allow this. He ventures out of his video game to seek a hero’s glory, unaware that his actions may doom the characters in Fix-It Felix Jr. forever.
“Wreck-It Ralph” reminded me of another Disney animated movie, “Toy Story”. While those movies answered the question of what happens to your toys when you are out of the room, this movie answers the question what happens to the video games after the arcade closes. Apparently one of those answers is that they hold group support meetings for video arcade bad guys.
The strangest thought came to me as I watched “Wreck-It Ralph”. I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I wanted to, but that was not the strange part. What was odd was that I got the feeling I sometimes get when I’m watching a movie by a first time director where the movie is either not paced well, the acting is off or SOMETHING is amiss. I didn’t think I could feel that way about an animated movie. I looked it up and sure enough, it turns out this is director Rich Moore’s first feature movie. He’s done a ton of television, all animated shows, but never a feature before now. He’s still wet behind the ears, especially when it comes to the movie’s action sequences.
Rich Moore does do a good job with the emotional aspects of the script. During Wreck-It Ralph’s adventures, he encounters a little girl in another video game, Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). She’s a glitch in her video game and is considered an outcast. The two form a very strong bond that even may evoke a tear or two over the course of the movie.
The kids at a screening in West Palm Beach really liked “Wreck-It Ralph”. It is not surprising that it was number one at the box office this past weekend, taking in almost $50 million. If you are going to take your kids to see it, save yourself some money and see it in 2D because to see it in 3D is a waste of money. Disney really appears to have no clue how to properly use the technology, nor do they seem to care. The only reason why they appear to make movies in 3D is because that is what’s trending right now. It does not matter if it is a Pixar movie or something under the Disney banner, the company does not produce worthy 3D effects to justify someone to watch it in that format.
Before “Wreck-It Ralph”, there is an opening short called, “Paperman”. It would be a real travesty if it does not go on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Short. It is an excellent short film that looks like it was hand drawn and tells a better love story in 7 minutes than the Twilight movies have been able to tell over five films. “Paperman” was worth the price of admission alone. “Wreck-It Ralph” is too, overall. The movie builds to a great climax and, if you grew up into video games like I did, there are a ton of inside jokes for you. Also, have fun spotting some of your favorite characters throughout the movie. It is rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence.