Wreck-It Ralph by Rich Moore


All roads aren’t straight

Rich Moore’s Wreck-It Ralph introduced audiences to the great new catch phrase that’s sweeping the nation: “I’m gonna wreck it!”  Well, maybe sweeping is the wrong word, but still, with Wreck-It Ralph he did open up a whole world of crossover potential with regards to the staggering amount of video game landscape that’s out there just waiting to be conquered via however many sequels follow over the coming years.  In fact, in this regard it reminds me of another franchise that started in a similar manner:  Toy Story.

Remember way back to the very first film in that trilogy?  Remember the way certain toys were noticeably absent because manufacturers were skeptical about how successful the film would be and were gun shy about having their products represented in a previously untested medium?  Basically the same thing occurs in Wreck-It Ralph.  There are some quick cameo appearances by actual video game characters, but for the most part those are few and far between, and instead the movie creates its own fictional games to set its story within.  Now that the film is a proven box office money maker however, we should expect to see more real-life game content appear in movie number 2.  And make no mistake about it; there will be a movie number 2.

I’ve been complaining about the overall quality (poor) of this year’s crop of animation nominees for weeks now, so I’ll try not to repeat my ranting and raving here.  In short, for me it comes to down to picking the best of a poor bunch.  That could be Frankenweenie, or it could be Wreck-It Ralph.  Ralph’s got the uplifting, overly positive “be a good person” message working in its favor, but it also has a major plot hole working against it.

Stop reading now if you don’t want to be exposed to potential spoilers.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, Ralph’s the bad guy.  His job is to wreck buildings.  Fix-It Felix, Jr. is the player-controlled good guy.  Everything Felix touches with his father’s golden hammer becomes instantly repaired.

The question is:

At just over an hour into the movie, when Fix-It Felix, Jr. meets Vanellope for the first time, why doesn’t he just tap her with his hammer to fix her glitching?  Ralph knows she’s a glitch at this point in the movie.  He also knows that she shouldn’t be a glitch since her picture is on the side of the game cabinet.  Instead of asking Felix to fix Vanellope’s race car, why just ask him to fix Vanellope herself?

I guess the answer is that it would make for a really short film and that Ralph wouldn’t get to look like a good guy in the end, but that’s a lazy man’s logic.  The writers should have identified and fixed the plot hole before ever moving forward with the project.  It’s just too obvious a problem, and delivering the picture in the condition it’s in is insulting to the intelligence of its audience.  Yes, even the six-year-olds.

Cast the horrible mistake aside and in the end Wreck-It Ralph is a charming, highly creative animated feature that probably appeals more to adults who grew up playing video games then it does to their children.  This first entry in what is sure to be a franchise contains lots of characters from the golden age of video games: Tapper, QBert, Ryu, Ken and Pacman to name a just a few, and showcases far less in the way of recognizable heroes for today’s generation of gamers to enjoy.

Expect that to change now that the money is rolling in.  Expect it to be sooner rather than later if wins it all on awards night.

Wreck_It_Ralph ★★★½☆
Wreck-It Ralph
Directed by Rich Moore
Nominated For:
Animated Feature Film (Rich Moore)
United States
108 Minutes


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About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.