Monday, November 26, 2012

Wrecked-em? Damn near killed 'em!!!


Sometimes a movie comes along that really catches your eye, even if you aren't a big fan of the genre.  In my case, that genre is animation related to Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks.  That's not to say I hate everything they release, but the ones I like are certainly in the minority.  To be honest, Chuck Boonsweet is more of the fan of this sort of thing.  However, as fate would have it, I will be the one who reviews Wreck-It Ralph.  Let us begin shall we? 

The story is this: in an arcade, all of the arcade games are connected to a secret "central hub", where all of the games characters are able to meet and interact after a days work of performing for the real world customers.  Enter Wreck-It Ralph, the main villain of an old-school 8-bit game called Fix-It Felix, who's purpose is to destroy a building while Felix the hero (controlled by the player) attempts to repair said building.  Ralph is unappreciated and unliked in his game, getting regularly snubbed by the other characters in the game, and not even allowed to be in the building.  He gains an opportunity to sneak into another, more Halo-esque video game (a no-no in the video game world) as a hero in order to win a Hero medal, proving to everyone he can be a good guy.  Through a series of unfortunate events, he falls into an escape pod with a baby alien bug, flies out of the game, through the central hub, and into another game called Sugar Rush, where the story changes rather unexpectedly. 

I'm gonna want to get into the good points of the movie before I get into anything else.  First off, this has very pretty animation, as is expected from the companies involved.  The Sugar Rush game is very bright and colorful, which is one of the only good features about that game.  But I'll get into that in a bit.  The 3D was also pretty decent, with a couple of objects or an arm popping out of the screen here and there.  But clearly, the big point for most is the inclusion of a LOT of real video game characters.  If you've seen the trailer you've already seen Street Fighter's Zangief, Super Mario's Bowser, a Pac Man ghost, etc.  But when you get to the Central Hub scenes, you really have to keep an eye out for the characters in the background.  It was a very nice touch for all the old-school gamers watching. 

Now up until the point where Ralph entered the Sugar Rush game, I had it in my mind that I was watching possibly the greatest Disney Movies I've ever watched.  And then things fell apart.  Ok, maybe fall apart is too rash.  But, the rest of the flick removed my thoughts of "best Disney movie" (which for me is still the classic Alice in Wonderland).  "What was the catalyst", you might ask?  The introduction of Vanellope Von Schweetz, voiced by Sarah Silverman.  From this point on, it seems that Ralph's story takes second place to Vanellope's story.  Which is a shame, because my initial thoughts were that Ralph was going to do more video game hopping, continuing to try and prove himself as a hero.  Instead, the Vanellope/Sugar Rush thing takes up the last half of the movie, maybe a little more. 

Now don't get me wrong, the SR game is beautifully made, with a ton of cuteness that's bound to make you chuckle at points.  And there are a fair share of awesome and funny moments throughout this part of the flick.  But it just lingers here a little too long for my liking.  And then there's Vanellope's voice.  OMG, that was in my opinion one of the most irritating voices I've heard in some time.  I'm sorry Sarah Silverman, I've always thought you were a pretty funny lady, but this performance was for the most part grating on my ears and nerves.  And as I mentioned, Vanellope gets a lot of screen time for the last half or so, so that really threw off my enjoyment. 
All that negativity aside, I still totally recommend you watch Wreck-It Ralph.  It's beautiful looking, a ton of jokes (video game and otherwise), and lots of video game nostalgia.  If any of you watch or have watched it, feel free to comment on what characters you've seen in the Central Hub background, just to see if you saw any I might have missed, or on anything related to the movie in general. 

Movie rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Animated/Nostalgia rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

- Ken Bucklesworth, going to play some 8-bit video games until my eyes bleed. 

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