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Review of "WRECK-IT RALPH"
By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 2013.

First published ARTnews Movies, 15th June 2013.

REVIEW: "WRECK-IT RALPH" by Jayne Waterford

Rich Moore's "WRECK-IT RALPH" (2012) is a very clever chick flick. And this is most of what impresses. It makes complex, conceptual leaps that seem so true that we blush we didn't think of them ourselves.

"WRECK-IT RALPH" (2013) is quite a long film 108 minutes (1 hour, 48 minutes), and that's what block busters do. They hog your time and emotional energy with large themes and intensity.

In superb 3D rendering the characters move after the way they were originally programmed. Ralph's contemporaries in "FIX-IT-FELIX-JNR" snap between poses in a way that minds me of Madonna's Vogue. It is really super-cute when you watch them dance.

- All large areas of colour have a blocked edge referring to pixels.

- Lots of sounds in the film are true renderings of the original games.

- Another super cute, retro-grade girl. She's ruff (like Emma Stone's Eep in Kirk De Micco and Chris

Sanders' "THE CROODS" (2103), she's cute like Brat's and she turns out to be a princess, Princess Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). What more could a little want to watch in story?

We begin in one game: "FIX-IT-FELIX-JNR." Felix (Jack McBrayer) is good. Ralph (John C. Reilly) is bad. John C. Rielly plays it very straight. His performance is nothing like in Adam McKay's "STEP BROTHERS" (2008).

Computer game rules of super power. eg: We are shown that FIX-IT-FELIX-JNR makes anything awesome if he hits it with his golden hammer that he got from his dad. When he hits the lose bars in his fungeon cell and they become super strong and thick.

There are a few phallic references: An orange ball sack with nothing but a long firm snout. You wonder how many inappropriate body parts they've fit in. Who can forget Imhotep's Egyptian heiroglyph in the Stephen Sommers' "THE MUMMY RETURNS" (2001). It's a line drawing of someone bending over and displaying his eherm to camera.

"I was crushing men's skull like sparrow's egg, between my thighs," attests Zangee to the "BAD-ANON: one

game at a time"'s group. He skates close to the edge of referencing sexual subject matter and gets a nervous laugh.

The bad hat versus white thing is a bit silly these days. Elf versus orc, hero (smiling, rewarded and admired) versus villain (despised), good versus bad programmed roles?

"I don't want to be the bad guy anymore." Everyone is alarmed. Do alcoholics sitting around talking about alcohol want to drink?

The BAD-ANON affirmation: "I am bad and that's good. I will never be good and that's not bad. There is no one I would rather be than me." Ah. So in one meeting we've decided to stick with the white hat black hat model of characterisation.

What does Ralph really want? Recognition. He is the only character in his game not invited to the "FIX-IT-FELIX-JNR" 30th anniversary party.

Action rules.

1. An ad informs us that if you die outside your game you will not be resuscitated.

2. All character behave according to their programming though the saying, "stick to the programme," is only used once. Stick to the programme also gets a look in.

3. Everyone wants to regarded as the nice people.

4. The way to be nice is to win the game, no matter what game.

5. "Never interfere with the first person's shooter." - Commander "She" Calhoun (Jane Lynch)

6. The characters have a modicum of free will. Despite their programming, which governs how they physically move, they can determine their fate. They can strive and be alive! What sort of movie would it be if they couldn't?

7. Characters can pass between games via the common power board in the arcade. The power board is a Mall area where everyone congregates once a girly doll character near the arcade front door announces that the arcade is now closed, much like Shawn Levy's "NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM" (2006). Things have come alive when the customers aren't there before. It's probably something that has its origins in Vincente Minnelli's "BRIGADOON" (1954).

Aesthetically the most amazing thing is there’s a real and beautiful influence of Henry Selick's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's book Coraline in Henry Selick's movie "CORALINE" (2009). King Candy metamorphosized into a beautiful, large, psychedelic insect. No reason is given for these dream sequences. No explanation is given for his change. We understand what is going on. Even the palettes of these scenes recall "CORALINE". Bugs are also the vehicle of crisis, giving Jane Lynch (Commander "Flattery don't float these batteries civilian" Calhoun) a run. Viva la insect.

The interiors of each game are amazing. They are fully realised.

There are heaps of values about character that will be forgotten as soon as the film is over, but which make sense of the genre. Girls kick ass, they play the games, they drive the race cars, they shoot the guns. I do wonder if there isn't some calculated proportion of girls to boys that inverts the proportion in a similar movie or in the games themselves in previous eras?

"WRECK-IT RALPH" also teaches the value of computer viruses. Characters are reprogrammed by them not to remember. In a computer game context, not remembering makes more sense than it does most

memory Impaired character plots. It is as effective as the mine pit world full of memory free clones in "OBLIVION". There are stacks of other movies that require people not to remember anything that has gone before. "FAST AND FURIOUS SIX" has got Letty with a blank memory, like a reset Andie MacDowell's Rita in Harold Ramis' "GROUNDHOG DAY" (1993) or ET girl, Drew Barrymore's Lucy Whitmore in Peter Segal's "50 FIRST DATES" (2004). There's Scarlett Johansson wondering around drawing a blank in Michael Bay's "THE ISLAND" (2005) and Keira Knightley gives it s go as Ruth ion Mark Romanek's "NEVER LET ME GO" (2010). But those people were spare body parts with incidental genetic artefacts as memories. We're talking about people who have been reset to zero, as if neuralised like Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in the "BOURNE" franchise (2002-7).

The dialogue is very pro homeless, the way The Farrelly Bros.' "THE THREE STOOGES" (2012) was pro-euthanasia. Hobos are getting a fair airing in this year's generation of films. Julian Assange, Jack Reacher. Penelope: "Are you a hobo?" in response to Ralph's dress sense in "WRECK-IT RALPH" (2013).

On the way to bringing home a medal he has to fix the consequences, the release of the bug and save a

damsel in distress, a princess. She's a glitch (derogatory term). She HAS a glitch which anyone whose sat through 4D at COFA in 1991 would know, is not a good thing. She sleeps in a candy wrapper and bundles herself up like a little homeless lady. See what I mean? It's big, it's demanding. You don't feel like watching anything else after it's run. It creates a quasi-brand loyalty. 9/10


Rich Moore's "WRECK-IT RALPH" (2012)
Release Date 26th December 2012
Category Animation
Running Time 108 minutes (1 hour, 48 minutes)
Rating G
Origin
Awards
Director Rich Moore
Producer Clark Spencer
Studio Walt Disney Animation Studio
Stars John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch

Distributor Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Australia

“The hallmark of a Disney film is the heart and it’s the foundation of "WRECK-IT RALPH". It is one of the funniest films I’ve ever been associated with—so clever and beautiful. But it’s the heart that just catches you by surprise.” ~ John Lasseter, Executive Producer

Official Blurb "Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy®-winning director Rich Moore (TV's "THE SIMPSONS", "FUTURAMA") take moviegoers on a hilarious, video-game-hopping journey in "WRECK-IT RALPH" the story of an arcade game Bad Guy determined to prove he can be a Good Guy. Wreck-It Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game's perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer).

Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes… so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan—win a medal—but soon wrecks everything, and accidently unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens

every game in the arcade. Ralph's only hope?

Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman), a young troublemaking, "glitch," from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before its "game over" for the entire arcade? "WRECK-IT RALPH", an action-packed, visually stunning CG comedy set in contrasting worlds that are like nothing ever before seen on the big screen, is produced by Clark Spencer ("LILO & SNITCH", "BOLT"). Taking fun and games to a whole new level, the film smashes into cinemas Boxing Day, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D® in select cinemas." - Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Australia PR