February 8th: Wreck-It Ralph

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Release Date: 2012
Director: Rich Moore
Why I picked this: Missed out on this in theaters

Disney’s animation department seem to be going through a small computer animated renaissance. While not exactly up to Pixar’s standards in terms of story, they’ve churned out some vert likable movies recently, and that’s no different with this one. It’s very imaginative and charming, and a nice movie for those who appreciate classic video games. The premise is very basic and Disney-like, with Wreck-It Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, being a villain in a game called “Fix-It Felix Jr.,” is tired of his role as a villain and lack of respect, and decides to traverse through other games in an arcade in order to win a medal for himself. A very basic theme of going against set roles and against the status quo, but the story behind it is a unique one. There are a lot of direct references and a few parodies of classic and modern video games. They aren’t necessarily clever references, but they are nice regardless, and I very much liked this arcade world that the movie created. The supporting voice cast is fitting in their roles, with Jack McBrayer as the titular hero of “Fix-It Felix Jr.,” Jane Lynch as a tough character from a “Call of Duty” and “Halo”-like “Hero’s Duty,” and Sarah Silverman as a glitch character named Vanellope in a kart-racing game called “Sugar Rush.” They represent familiar tropes in family movies, but they are all likable enough. The handful of worlds created in this movie look great, “Fix-It Felix” looking like the inside of a “Donkey Kong” arcade world with blocky environments and characters with jumpy animations, “Hero’s Duty” being a very detailed sci-fi warzone, “Sugar Rush” looking very cutsy and colorful (though I hated the product placement), and Game Central Station, the hub of all of the game characters, looks like a sleek, near-futuristic train station. Most of the second half of the film takes place in the “Sugar Rush” world, where Ralph must help Vanellope win a race in order to retrieve a medal he has earned. Again, the story is nothing that deep, but I was surprised how heavy the situation became when a certain dilemma arose. The ending was satisfying, and I found myself surprisingly impressed despite the mostly standard themes.

It’s charming and nice to look at, and it features a concept that most animation and video gaming fans will appreciate. It probably won’t make you cry, but the story is still quite nice.

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