Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

What you should be reading now is a few paragraphs on the Wachowskis' new film Cloud Atlas, which I was planning to go and watch with friends Paul and Michael after we discussed the possibility of a cinema trip at a quiz last Friday. Alas, the timings were just not sensible when you have to wake up at seven the following morning, and I discovered on Monday evening that Paul would be taking me, Michael and a third friend, Finlay, to see the new Disney film at Ocean Terminal. Not a Monday evening I'd admit to to many people, but I had secretly been wanting to see Wreck-It Ralph since I heard about it. From the reviews, you'd think it was the new Pixar film.

Unfortunately, what I saw was what looked like a rather determined attempt to emulate a Pixar film that forgot to find a unique selling point of its own. The plot of games coming to life and possessing their own little world is just a little too reminiscent of the never-to-be-bettered Toy Story trilogy, and the meeting of video game bad guys seems to be nicked straight from the shark meeting in Finding Nemo. There is an interesting twist of the bad guy being the one we sympathise with, as Wreck-It Ralph tries to find redemption for the years of in-game destruction he has carried out despite his lovably eager-to-please personality. Ralph himself works well as a character, and I can see him continuing successfully through the inevitable film series that will follow.

Perhaps I didn't enjoy it as much as I might have because I am not, and never have been, a gamer. While the rest of my year has followed the evolution of the games console religiously, casting the earlier generation out to the Nintendump a matter of weeks after the new one's launch, I stalled halfway through the Playstation 2. It's got to the extent that I've never touched a Playstation 3 controller, and was so confused when I was handed an Xbox one that I froze the TV for a concerning amount of time. Wreck-It Ralph aims for the enormous audience of gamers old and new, from parents who remember going to the arcade for a spot of Donkey Kong to children with thumb muscles the size of grapefruits. It's packed full of references that I don't understand, but I can imagine someone with a vague knowledge of video game history would absolutely relish. It'll either be those people or the people who go for your classic Disney trademarks who will get the most out of Wreck-It Ralph. Not to say that people like me can't enjoy it. Michael thought it was great, and he is still the proud owner of a Playstation One.

I don't want to sound completely critical of it. The plot takes many turns, never sticking to a single section for too long for fear of it becoming dreary. Mind you, the whole adventure is kicked off by Ralph's ambition to get a game-winner medal, so he can show the inhabitants of his home game that he can be good for something. That's just a bit too Disney, if you know what I mean. It's almost as if the writers realised this at the very end, though, as they completely toss out the old cliche of the Disney princess in favour of an ending that almost sounds like it was written to follow some EU law about the correct political message to put across in the mass media.

When I walked out of the cinema, tossing my 3D glasses in the bin provided, I can't say I felt disappointed at Wreck-It Ralph. After all, I knew before I paid for the ticket that I was hardly the target audience for the film. Perhaps I had just expected an unfulfillable amount. I didn't get the film I thought I would, but what I did get was an imaginative, enjoyable romp made for a specific person who isn't me, but who would really love this movie.

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