Monday, November 5, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph: A Review


     Wreck-It Ralph is the 52nd feature of Walt Disney Animation. I was very skeptical when I saw the first trailer, but after I saw this movie I was happy to see that my first impressions were wrong. Wreck-It Ralph is a great film, with compelling characters, beautiful settings, and a great story.
     Wreck-It Ralph is the story of Ralph, the villain of an arcade game called Fix It Felix, Jr. For thirty years, it's been Ralph's job to try to wreck the apartment house of Niceville, only to be defeated each and every time by Fix It Felix. At the end of each game, Felix gets a medal, and Ralph gets thrown off the apartment house into the mud.
      Ralph, tired of being the bad guy, game jumps into a new arcade game called Hero's Duty, in hopes of bringing a medal back to his game, and (he hopes) gain the approval of the inhabitants of Niceville. Even though he actually does get his medal, the story is only beginning. Ralph falls into an escape pod, and eventually ends up in Sugar Rush, a kart-racing game where he meets Vanellope, a game glitch and an outcast, just like him. Now, in order to get his medal back from Valleope, he must help her compete in the kingdom's race. 
       Wreck-It Ralph is a step in the right direction for Disney. One of the things that really surprised me about this movie was how the trailer didn't give away anything about what the plot was really about. I felt like the story was a lot more complex than I expected it to be. I've heard that others have said this movie had the "typical Disney ending", but I'm not entirely sure that's true. For most of the movie, I felt like I could predict what was going to happen during the climax, I thought I knew who the villain was. But during the climax, there was a major plot twist that none of us saw coming (although looking back there were a couple of hints to that twist earlier in the story). I was pleasantly surprised by it, and left the theater very satisfied, both by the plot and the villain's reveal.
      Lately, I have been dissatisfied by a trend that seems to put an emphasis on the actors starring in an animated film, as if they, not the story, should be the reason that audiences should see that film. After seeing the trailer emphasize the voice talent, I was skeptical. But I was very pleased with Wreck-It Ralph's voice casting. Unlike most other animated films, the actors all recorded their dialogue together, giving them ample opportunity for improvisation, something that made Wreck-It Ralph unique.
      Finally, the art direction and animation of this movie was absolutely beautiful, some of the best I've seen from Disney in a long time. I could get lost in looking at the amount of detail each setting provides (even more so if I was able to catch all of the video game homages that others could). My favorite environment would have to be Sugar Rush; the colors were beautiful, and the way that the artists used candy in every way they possibly could. 
      Overall, I am very glad that I decided to go see Wreck-It Ralph. It seems like Disney is putting more and more effort into making a good story with unforgettable characters. I look forward to what they produce in the future.

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