Lamar reviews Wreck-It Ralph


Reviewed by Lamar Kukuk 11/25/12

It’s a perverse fact of the modern movie landscape that there are opportunities for narrative greatness available to people making movies targeted at kids that no longer seem to exist in other major studio films.  The argument goes like this:  as long as the movie has colorful characters (preferably ones that can be spun off into toys and video games) and is in 3D, the target audience won’t care what else is going on, any maybe if the movie’s genuinely good, parents forced to take their kids will tell other people that the experience didn’t entirely suck.  For a while, Pixar was hiding some really first-rate stuff under the cover of kid-friendliness, but when Up erred on the side of too much genius and not enough toy-friendliness, it triggered an ideological shift toward sequels to their earlier Happy Mealable hits.  But a truly great animated movie of the sort for which the land of the hopping lamp used to be known has turned up right next door at the rebranded Walt Disney Animation Studios.  Wreck-It Ralph is superficially something that couldn’t be more marketable:  a movie set in an arcade about video game characters who come to life a la the Toy Story flicks.  And while it does deliver exactly what it says on the tin, Ralph’s writers (Phil Johnson and Jennifer Lee, with Story assists from Jim Reardon and director Rich Moore) have done far more than that, crafting an adventure set in a fantasy world filled with modern political problems that the film actually makes some effort to sort out in relatable human terms.  Well, insofar as the humans in question include Q*Bert and the participants in fictional video games like Sugar Rush and Fix-It Felix, Jr.  Wreck-It Ralph is a genuinely great film, but it’s also so much action-packed fun, you don’t even have to notice to love it.

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