Sunday, April 7, 2013

Insert Coin

Wreck-It Ralph
Director: Rich Moore
Voice Talent: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk
Released: November 2, 2012

Oscar nominations:
Best Animated Movie (lost to Brave)


This movie and Brave were the only movies nominated for the animated feature Oscar I saw and while I liked both, I would have voted for Wreck-It Ralph to win. Even though I'm not a video game aficionado, I thought this was a cute and enjoyable movie. The only games I remember playing at the arcade are Pac Man, Super Mario Bros., and any race car game where I always manage to crash within a matter of seconds. I used to frequent the arcade at West Ridge Mall (Topeka, KS - holla!), but I cannot remember what it was called.  

Like in the world of Toy Story where the toys come to life after humans have left the room, these are characters in video games that come to life after the arcade closes. Not only do they live inside their arcade machine, but they live within the world of their game. Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the villain of his '80s game, Fix-It Felix Jr. He's a big guy who goes on a rampage and smashes the windows and bricks of the Niceland Apartment until Fix-It Felix Jr. comes along with his magic hammer and makes everything as good as new again. Felix (voiced by 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer) and the other residents of Niceland live in the penthouse of the apartment while Ralph lives nearby at the dump.  The characters can interact within other video game worlds and and they travel through the power cords and get to them through the Central Gaming Station. Once the arcade opens, they must be back in their own game ready to be played. 

Ralph has been going to a support group called Bad Anon where he and other villains of video games get together (at the Pac-Man game since it is hosted by one of the little ghosts that chase Pac-Man around) and discuss their feelings on being the villain of their games. Besides the Pac-Man villain, I only recognized the dragon from Super Mario Bros. and there were a lot of characters in that scene. Ralph reveals his feelings about how under appreciated he feels in his game and that he wasn't even invited to the 30th anniversary celebration of his own game (and Pac Man was!) He gets into an argument with the other characters from his game and one of them tells him when he gets his own medal (because Felix is always rewarded with a medal at the end of the game while Ralph is tossed off the building), he can live in the penthouse with everyone else. Ralph takes this seriously and sets off to find his own medal. This takes him to a modern first-person shooter type of game called Hero's Duty where he meets a Lara Croft-like character named Calhoun (voiced by Jane Lynch) who has my favorite line in the movie: "Armageddon and Doomsday just had a baby....and it is ugly!" The object of this game is to kill a bunch of bugs...and there are a lot of bugs. Through a mix up he ends up in a girly race car game called Sugar Rush. And if that game had really existed when I was younger, I would have so been all over that! There he meets and develops a friendship (an antagonizing one at times!) with Vaneloppe Von Schweetz, a character who has a glitch and is therefore forbidden to be picked by a gamer to play. She is voiced by Sarah Silverman who most people usually don't associate with animated children's films! King Candy (voiced by Alan Tudky) is the ruler of the land of Sugar Rush and is the villain of the film. There is a reason why he is making sure Vaneloppe never participates in the races, but telling would be spoiling! 

Sugar Rush! 

There are a few huh moments like why in a racing game there would be branches that disappear when you step on them and why you would need vines to get out of quicksand. They work for the the use of the characters, but as somebody playing the actual game, they don't make any sense. While Ralph is in Sugar Rush,  Calhoun and Felix go in there together to get him out because if Ralph doesn't get back to his game, it will be defected and will be shut down forever. Lots of action in this film, just like you would find in a video game. I loved the ending credits where they pay homage to classic video game graphics. 

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