Suspension of Disbelief: Wreck it Ralph

Suspension of Disbelief: Wreck it Ralph

How exciting… Sitting there watching previews during another movie and you see pac-man ghosts, Robotnik and Bowser all coming together for a new movie. Wreck it Ralph quickly became one of my top “must see”s of the year.

Name: Wreck it Ralph
Director: Rich Moore (a Disney film)
Voices: Sarah Silverman, John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch and Alan Tudyk (looovve)

The main character of the movie is Ralph, the bad guy of an arcade video game. The premise is actually very cool. All of the arcade games are connected, like a major city, by subway systems that run through the wires. The “subway” hub is where all the wires plug in on the powerbars. After the arcade closes all the game characters go to hang out with one another, visit and have drinks. Ralph, even outside of his game, is still viewed as a big bad guy. Well, his town tells him if he were to win a medal they might think that he is okay so Ralph goes on a hunt to find his own medal.

He joins another game (meaning he wasn’t at his own that day, leaving his game to get put out of order) to get a medal but screws up and ends up in this candy racing game (bringing something bad in with him) and then the whole real story begins to develop around a little ‘glitch’ girl, a candy king and Ralph learning what it means to be a real hero.

Pros

The movie was cute. I mean, it was Disney… The characters had the big cute Disney eyes (as did the short at the beginning… that was really good!) and it had a very cute-Disney feel to it. The world that it is set in is incredibly wonderful and awe-inspiring. It is so cute/cool to see the video game characters all coming together in the central hub, and the bad-buy self help group is absolutely adorable. It was just really creative. The candy land area is also really unique and visually interesting (especially the volcano).

No matter how old you are you’re going to have fun with this one. The nods to past video games are very awesome (although few and far between) and the jokes are pretty good… well, if you’re willing to laugh at jokes about the word “duty”, which I totally am.

It deals with the issue of bullying a little… although not well. But the characters who come out on top are all sort of the underdog, which is always nice (expect for how they get there).

Cons

The cons of this movie are definitely more thematic rather than having to do with the visual entertainment or story line. So while the following were pretty lame, it didn’t completely destroy the movie for me.

The past video game references were weak. I was all ready to see Sonic and all the Street Fighter characters start to kick some ass… but that never happened. You see some references here and there but the movie largely revolves around three fictional games.

There is one woman, Commander Calhoun, who is strong and powerful… but… she a) has a tiny waist, gigantic boobs and big giant blue beautiful eyes, b) becomes the crush of one of the men in the movie who starts to just … “flowerize” her… like when he looks at her the screen goes on frosty and pretty music plays, playing down her badass-ness, c) has a back story that completely revolves around her badass-ness evolving due to the loss of a big strong man on her wedding day and d) finds future content and happiness by hooking up with the character who has a crush on her. BOO TO ALL OF THAT.

Our other strong female lead, a wise-cracking, no-mannered little girl with a feisty spirit and a drive to win is subjected to ridicule by the other girls in her game. She is bullied and has a hard time fitting in. …Well, I won’t tell you the very end of the story but lets just say it is another classic Disney example of a helpless girl needing to be saved from some big evil… so some big man comes in and helps her defeat the big evil so she can be all happy again. LAME.

I also REALLY didn’t like that the King of Candy was a joke character and most of his jokes relied on the fact that he had a very stereotypical gay slur and spoke in a very stereotypically gay way and there was at least 2 jokes alluding to his gayness… but it was done maliciously. It was a villainizing and mockery of gayness.

The movie is colorful and fun with a fuzzy-feel-good ending that relies on gender stereotypes, heteronormativity and over coming bullies by unlocking some magical specialness about yourself that most normal kids don’t have… Yep! Sounds like Disney!

I give it… 3 out of 5 cute little candy girls. It was really quite entertaining but there were a lot of thematic issues.

Katie is a graduate student from Canada studying the environment and systems theory. She also loves dinosaurs and baking cupcakes. Follow her on twitter @katiekish
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