Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I've been meaning to see this one for awhile and now that I have, I'm not entirely sure what to say about it...

I guess one of the first things that comes to mind is “Welcome to J. Michael Shearer's Theater. Today we'll be watching 'Wreck-It Ralph', and joining me in the theater is the main characters of the movie.” The main reason for that is the fact that this movie is set in a universe very much like the one my old non-standard Mystery Science Theater fan series was. In the case of Wreck-It Ralph, it's an arcade where all the game sprites can travel to various other games in the arcade by way of the power cords, surge protectors and electrical outlets that connect them. I'd get more into my own work here, but for now, I should probably keep it about the movie.

Another thing that comes to mind is spoilers ahead, folks. But then again, that's why you're here, right?

The basic story here is that title character Wreck-It Ralph is a video game villain who gets tired of being put down and basically discriminated against because he's the bad guy in his game, an in-universe classic called Fix-It Felix Jr. After a less-than-stellar therapy group session with other video game villains, Ralph decides that he'd rather go try to be a hero for a change, just to see what it's like.

With that in mind, and seeing that he hadn't been invited to his own game's 30th anniversary party, the same night as his therapy group, he heads off to some FPS game where he essentially breaks the game and damn near screws his digital neighbors royally. Given that Ralph's luck, especially at first, is a lot like my own, while he does wind up horking the shooter game's victory medal, he winds up setting loose the game's parasitic monsters as he stumbles his way out, and in the process shoots himself and one of the little bug-eyed nasties into a candy-themed racing game.

And then the story gets a little tangled on us. Fix-It Felix, the in-game hero that Ralph plays against goes running off to find him in the shooter and runs into the shooter's lead NPC, a tough-as-nails female commander named Calhoun. As they introduce themselves, they see Ralph shooting himself and the little buggie who'll multiply to be the movie's climax off the the racer. Of course, they do the whole hero thing and go running after the hamfisted yet uncertain Ralph.

While Ralph gets his bearings in his new sugar-filled surroundings, he meets a little girl named Vanellope. Yes, that's her name. I can go with that, because of the theme of the game they're in right now, if nothing else. Ralph winds up losing his medal to the girl because she's a supposed glitch in the game who wants to buy her way into the race that determines the game's supposedly randomly selected player characters for the next day.

As the story progresses, there are a few references to “going turbo,” which at first seem to be in-universe slang for going nuts, but are later explained as a reference to a sprite from an old racing game who got jealous of a newer racing game's popularity and went nuts to the point where he went into the new game and somehow managed to fuck up both games. The rest of the sprites thought they'd heard the last of him until he turned up as the King of Candy in the candy-themed racing game.

Along the way, Ralph becomes something of a friend or father figure to Vanellope and Felix falls in love with Calhoun, and they all go through the expected routine for all of that. At the end, we see that the crazy racing guy was doing the whole Candy King bit to still be popular, and after having merged with the bug thing from Calhoun's game, is revealed to be crazy as all hell, worse than the old sprites remembered. And, of course, as the movie's final moments progress, Ralph learns what it is to be a hero when he decides to give his own life to save the kid and everybody else so he can make the beacon that will attract and destroy the bugs, including the crazy racing King of Candy. Don't worry, though, he's not dead. His newfound friends have learned that the big lug's not that bad a guy, even if it's his job to be a bad guy and save him.

Funny thing about the ending. It seems like it's maybe trying to lay the ground for a sequel, which gave me this odd sense of clarity about a trend I've noticed going on around me since I saw Kung Fu Panda 2, really. There have been quite a few instances since then where I've experienced what I'd call good things, by all means. For example, I've recently found out that there's a Kung Fu Panda 3 listed on IMDb with a slated release date in 2016. Or my blog, which I've kept going longer than I'd ever thought I would. And the real topper here, running into the person I had something of a secret crush on in high school a couple moths ago.

All good things, to be sure, because all in all, I liked Wreck-It Ralph and the first two KFP movies. More of these would certainly be good. The fact that I've kept my writing going for as long as I have in as many places as I have is good, too, because it means that maybe, just maybe, I have a chance to make this whole thing work for me after all. And seeing Stephanie again was, for me, a reminder that maybe high school wasn't as bad as we're all supposed to say it is after all.

But me being me, I have to be the sort to at least try to punch myself in the face now that I've pointed to a few of the good and cool things I see going on around me. See, as I sit here writing all of this, I find myself wondering just how badly I want all of this good stuff that's going on right now. It's not really a matter of my questioning if I'm worthy of it or if I deserve it, because I know that I am and I do.

Maybe it's that I'm finally starting to see that good things can happen to me, too. It's just that after all these years of being unable and/or unwilling to see that, I must have gotten used to being the failure, the idiot, and the moron who almost invariably shoots himself in the foot, and am having trouble adjusting to being more a hero for once.

At any rate, I should get back to at least making a marginal effort of getting all these good things to work in my favor again and actually finish this post on the topic of Wreck-It Ralph, like it's supposed to be, since I've done another of the things I always seem to and have gone on for far longer than I'd intended and probably should have.

So, I guess the point of this unintentionally overly long brief look at the movie Wreck-It Ralph is that this is a movie that I think people should go see. I think there's some sort of short or something at the start of the movie. I only caught the tail end of that because, as I have been so often and in so many ways lately, I was late to the party again. This was, after all, a Disney film, complete with short that I missed, which means that even though the title may have the phrase “Wreck-It” in it, they sure managed not to, well, wreck it.

Once again, Wreck-It Ralph is one of the last good movies of 2012, and worth going to see. It's certainly given me plenty of other things to think and write about in the near future. I'll see you back in this space or maybe even on my uStream and YouTube channels, to which I'll link if and when I get them figured out again. See you soon folks.

1 comment:

  1. Great review Jesse. It's a conventional story, but has plenty of heart and fun for it's characters that it's almost too hard to not have a good time with it all.