Synopsis: Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he can be a hero. (source: http://disney.go.com/wreck-it-ralph/)
Background Music: ★★★★★
Voice Acting: ★★★★★
I watched this over Thanksgiving break, but haven’t gotten around to editing this post till now. This is probably the best animation movie I’ve watched since Toy Story 3. I’ve been meaning to watch it since the moment I saw the previews and saw cameo appearances of Sonic the Hedgehog and Bowser. Yes, I love games, but heck, even if you aren’t a gamer, it shouldn’t stop you from watching this family-friendly film.
Seeing how this is a Disney movie, it comes to no surprise that the animation is well executed and thought-out. I particularly enjoy seeing Fix-It-Felix’s bystanders, called Nicelanders, move like 8-bit characters: rigid and bouncy. If you pay close attention to the characters in the background of any scene, you may notice some don’t simply stand there and do nothing. For example, when Wreck-It-Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, is in Tapper—a game where the bartender serves beer—Street Fighter’s Ryu is in the background drinking beer one frame, and the next, going to the the restroom. These minute details are what, I think, make the animation superb.
From Sugar Rush’s saturated colors that would give anyone a toothache to Hero’s Duty’s hi-def world that would make one’s adrenaline race, the movie brings together a variety of arcade game worlds together that are conceptually clever. Game characters of the arcade can visit other games by transferring to Game Central Station, a hub that links all the games, and travel via plug cords. The animators emphasize the divide between reality and the game world by occasionally having the characters in 8-bit form or by showing children playing in the arcade. Of course, it would have been interesting if they did incorporate real people with the animation (like Mary Poppins?). I like how there are background stories for each character. For example, Sergeant Calhoun of Hero’s Duty, voiced by Jane Lynch, is uptight because of a “tragic background story.”
The storyline is well-written, and I think it carries themes that appeal to both adults and children. There is a perfect amount of humor mixed with a dash of drama. I cannot tell you how many times I had to clench my stomach because I was laughing too much.
The music is quite catchy too and is, I think, eclectic. Some of the instrumental background are 8-bit sounds, which really brings one back to playing old/retro games. What I found most surprising is “Bug Hunt” by Skrillex, who apparently is quite a popular electro musician. When I first heard I was thinking to myself “Wow, am I in a club (Disney club?! okay bad joke here) or are they really playing dubstep?” It tied well with the scene, but to me, it reflects how Disney does try to stay with current popular music genres. Heck, even Rihanna, Owl City, and a Japanese band called AKB48 performed a piece. AKB48’s “Sugar Rush” reminds me of Katamari Damacy OST for some odd reason. I would be lying if I said I was surprised that they had a Japanese song
because the influence of Japanese culture on Western animation and globalization are clearly evident.
BONUS: Before the movie, there is a short titled Paperman. The story takes place in New York where a young man serendipitously meets a young woman at a train station. There’s no dialogue so you are immersed in the art and soundtrack, which I particularly enjoy because I feel dialogues sometimes take away the “magic” of unspoken language. Although the storyline may seem cheesy, the artwork is absolutely brilliant. According to some sites and interviews by the director, the animation combines cg with hand-drawn animation, so it does have a sketch-like feel to it. Since this short is done in black and white (with a hint of red), their use of lighting really caught my attention, and, I think, adds more quality to the film.
Overall, I definitely recommend the movie to anyone, especially if you’re a gamer or animation buff. I will end this post by reciting the Bad-Guy Affirmation: I am bad, and that’s good. I will never be good and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.