Yeah, I haven't written much this year at all. Blame that on my study hall, whom I enjoy talking to rather than try to avoid like last year. Also, I've just been busy in the evenings either grading late at school or rehearsing for my starring role in "White Christmas"...however, I am here to make amends and to try and resume my writing (which I enjoy so much). I also had a realization the other day, when I had time to write, that I was running dry on films to write about and that I was on the verge of repeating myself. However, that does not take in to account all the new films I've seen this year that are also worth mentioning. Dare I become a critic of new films rather than the old, familiar and (as is sometimes the case) the not so familiar? I think I shall, and thus this blog is going to feature all the films I will be viewing this holiday season. Thus I begin with a film I saw this past weekend. It combines a great many things I enjoyed while growing up into one fantastic little film....things like animation, Disney, video games, and action set-pieces. Its time to insert your quarter, hit start, and to play "Fix-It-Felix, Jr." as we meet Wreck-It Ralph.
Ralph is a regular, hard-working joe who does his job and does it well. Unfortunately, no one seems to appreciate him. You see, Ralph is the villain of a 30 year-old 8-bit arcade game called "Fix-It Felix, Jr." and his sole purpose is to wreck an apartment building in Nicetown so that the game's protagonist (controlled by the player), Felix, can fix it with his magic hammer. At the end of each game, when the player wins, the residents of the building toss Ralph off the building and into the mud. None of this would bother poor Ralph if only he wasn't universally feared and disrespected by the residents of his game. When Ralph is not invited to the 30th anniversary party that is finally the last straw and he leaves his game to try his hand at a new game at the arcade called "Hero's Duty". His goal is to win the game and earn a medal to show that he isn't a 'bad' guy and can be a hero. Unfortunately, while there he sets in motion a chain of events that, if unchecked, could lead to the destruction of several games in the arcade along with the characters in them. It's up to Ralph, Felix, Callhoun (the female protagonist from "Hero's Duty"), and Vanillope von Schweetz (a glitch from a game called "Sugar Rush") to try and stop the destruction before it is too late.
Wreck-It Ralph is yet another hit from Disney Animation that continues the fine quality set in pictures like The Princess and the Frog and Tangled. Not only does it look and sound spectacular, but the story is top notch and moving in a way that only a production overseen by John Lassiter could be. Ralph features characters that you can relate to and who go beyond being simple video game stereotypes and who, due to the development spent with them, become real and three dimensional to us by the finale...none so much as Ralph and Vanillope. This is helped greatly by having the voices performed by top notch actors such as John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. The animation is wonderful as well, looking the best that computer animation ever has, with an attention to detail that is marvelous (such as having the inhabitants of Ralph's game move in jerky ways akin to old 8-bit characters, and having cameos from real games like "Street Fighter", "Pac Man", and "Mario".) In many ways, Ralph is like a meeting of Toy Story and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? by combining the ideas of "what do toys do at night when we've left them?" and real life games and references. Ralph excels in almost every way and while it might not be as much of a triumph as Wall-E or Up, it is still further proof that Disney Animation is back to it's peak (even as PIXAR seems to be waning). Do yourself a favor and see it the theater...and definately in 3D to get all of that marvelous detail and immersion. This is a fantastic way to start the Holiday film season.