Monday, March 11, 2013

Film Star Focus: Wreck-It Ralph

Or, why I think Disney's Wreck-It Ralph deserved its Oscar nomination. Let it be known that I have not yet seen the other nominees (including the winner, Pixar's Brave), but I still think what this film was able to accomplish was more than deserving of its nomination, if not the win. Wreck-It Ralph might seem like a blatant cash-in, or a movie that would only appeal to the gaming demographic (and even then, only the younger one), but I'm here to put that theory to rest. The setting and slew of cameos might draw in the gaming community, but the characters and their journeys are what will bring people back for their 2nd, 3rd, and 50th viewings.

And so this brings me to the first of my latest line of features, the Film Star Focus. I may not be well versed in cinematography or film history/techniques, but I can at the very least spot a great character story when I see one. Thus, in this series I will be trying my best to flesh out the great (and not so great) characters and their journeys in their respective films.

Also, before we get too far along, since I'm aiming to tackle the full character arc, the following 'review' will involve spoilers. I will try my best to be tactful, especially for movies which I'm advocating to be seen, but I will touch on character-specific endings here. Plot may get spoiled here and there, but character finales are very much on the table. So with out further ado...

Wreck-It Ralph
~Wreck-It Ralph~
Walt Disney Animation Studios

On Video March 5th, 2013
Amazon ~ Powell's

For decades, Ralph has played the bad guy in his popular video game. In a bold move, he embarks on an action-packed adventure and sets out to prove to everyone that he is a true hero with a big heart.

As he explores exciting new worlds, he teams up with some unlikely new friends including feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz. Then, when an evil enemy threatens their world, Ralph realizes he holds the fate of the entire arcade in his massive hands.

Film Character Review

Our "Hero"

In the beginning, Ralph was a simple forest dweller, maybe a backwoods kind of guy, dressed in overalls and living in a tree stump. One day a bulldozer came along and moved his stump (and him) over to a dump in order to build a tall apartment building called Niceland. Ralph, suffering from a very short temper, climbed the building and started wrecking it.

Is it just me, or does this sound like the opening to a Bugs Bunny cartoon gone wrong?

The Nicelanders obviously don't want to be put out of their homes, so they call their building supervisor/carpenter/contractor (who happens to have a magical fixing hammer) by the name of Felix Jr. to fix the building. Once all the damage has been repaired, and Ralph (now deemed Wreck-It Ralph) has been chased to the roof, the Nicelanders award Felix a gold medal and then toss Ralph off the building with only a mud pile to break his fall.

Thus the stage is set for the world Ralph lives in. Felix is the good guy who gets medals, pies, and the gratitude and adoration of all the Nicelanders. Ralph is the bad guy who gets relocated to the dump, wrecks a building, and gets thrown off a building.

Of course, that's only part of Ralph's story.