So, Wreck-It Ralph did pretty well, as you may have heard, landing almost $50 million this weekend.
It’s an odd duck of a movie, to some degree. Calling it the best movie about video games is actually an insult in the sense that it’s pretty much the only (fictional) movie about video games worth watching, unless you have a serious blind spot for The Wizard.
It’s also a pretty good movie, in the sense that it’s funny and engaging, and old-school gamers will enjoy the dozens of gags about classic arcade and console games, although for copyright reasons it’s largely parodies instead of the real thing.
But that said, it’s very much a Disney movie, with all of the baggage that implies. It could have been more, and instead, quite consciously, chose to be “good enough.”
Wreck-It Ralph has been drawing unfair comparisons to both Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Toy Story, and it’s not trying to be either. It’s essentially your typical Disney narrative set in an arcade fantasyland instead of a fairy-tale one, complete with an unjustly displaced royal and a lowly misfit hero nobody appreciates. It just also has the problems of this stock setting and it’s a little baffling that nobody bothered to fix the problems in the script.
The movie actually does a pretty good job of establishing why everybody thinks Ralph is a tool; he’s got anger issues and he’s clumsy, so he often comes off as a rage case even when he’s just confused. That said, the script leans a little too hard on Ralph being a bumpkin to drive the plot. Similarly, the movie never makes a good argument for why Ralph shouldn’t just leave the fat complacent douchebags who treated him like dirt for thirty years to their fate. Yeah, Ralph is such a terrible person for wanting to be treated with some basic decency. Shame on him.
On a far less overthought note, the product placement is egregious. The Sugar Rush arcade game crams just about every possible type of candy into its scenes, to the point where the plot actually hinges on Mentos to some degree.
All that said, it’s by no means a bad movie. It’s cute, the jokes range from the entertainingly goofy to the unexpectedly clever, and the voice cast does a uniformly superb job. It’s just, unlike its hero, lacking in ambition.
What’d you think? Let us know in the comments.