Samia Kemal ’14
This week, Cinestudio showed “Wreck-It Ralph”, the new animated jubilee from Disney. Directed by Rich Moore, and written by Phil Johnson and Jennifer Lee; the movie boasts a slew of writers who have experience working with both Futurama and The Simpsons.
The film follows the life of Ralph (John C. Reilly), a pixelated video game character who feels downtrodden by his stale role as the bad guy. Ralph lives inside the arcade game, “Fix It Felix”, and serves as the destructive barbarian who smashes the windows of a block building and terrorizes all its cubic inhabitants. The good guy that magically fixes the mess he creates is Felix (Jack McBrayer). For 30 years, the two have gone through the same routine. Gamers of all ages come to the arcade, and with the press of a few buttons and the jiggle of the joysticks, they put Ralph in his place every time. But Ralph gets sick of the unappreciative responses that he encounters from the other characters in his game and decides to “game jump” in order to win a “Hero’s Medal”. He travels through electrical cords attached to each game that serve as transportation tracks.
What ensues is a jumping between and mixing of digitalized worlds. From the old school 80s arcade style domains, to the svelte and sleek world of cyber-bug annihilation, to the cutesy realm of a candied kingdom, the constantly changing scenery is both dynamic and visually enthralling. Along the way we are introduced to a brigade of unlikely characters and friendships. In the game, “Sugar Rush,” Ralph unexpectedly befriends a snarky aspiring racecar driver named Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). The two bond over their mutually exiled existence and find unlikely commonalities in one another. Perhaps the most amusing of these friendships is the one that blossoms between the overly peppy Felix (Jack McBrayer), and the toughened, femme-cyber bug killer, Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch). Both characters fiercely resemble their voice actors in both appearance and behavior. Hilarity ensues as the two polar opposites find themselves in situations that poke at the hefty romantic tension between them.
“Wreck It Ralph” is an imaginative smorgasbord that would entertain and satisfy any child. However, the movie takes risks by trying to appeal to an adult sense of humor as well. The makers of the film most definitely succeed in achieving the perfect balance between a child like sense of whimsy, but with plenty of sophistication thrown in for the adults. However, the film seems to transcend this balance by incorporating genuinely funny moments. More often than not, a child’s sense of humor can be lost on adults, but “Wreck It Ralph” contains a plethora of solidly hilarious moments that would make anyone with a kid’s soul giddy.
Apart from the funny nature of the movie, the creativity and imagination poured into every detail is astounding. The concept of the movie itself opens the audience up to a whole new world that they both feel familiar with (having grown up with arcade games), but never truly knew existed. This creativity is also present in the animation that brings “Wreck it Ralph” to life. Each world is unique, and crafted with the utmost attention to detail. The candy world in which the game “Sugar Rush” exists in is particularly impressive. There are a multitude of terrains that differ based on candy type such as cold mountains of ice cream, jungles of laffy-taffy vines and “Nes quick” sand. The landscape not only looks vibrant and colorful, but also delicious.
In addition to the heartwarming story that “Wreck it Ralph” lays out, the movie is preceded by a six minute short that tugs at all the most sensitive heartstrings. “Paperman” shows a quick connection between two people that leads to a touching interchange of missed encounters and paper planes. The short is uplifting and sets the movie off on a charming note. “Wreck it Ralph” proves to hold onto the same heartening qualities that made Disney movies so special in the first place. However, it also manages to appeal to a new digital age that children in this technological era are growing up with. With its charming demeanor and heart tugging moments, “Wreck it Ralph” is the perfect film to watch on a not-so-happy day.