An Examining of ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ And What It Could Mean For Videogame Movies

[Brutuxan here again! Just with another reminder that, as I said on my previous review, I’m experimenting a bit with some of the reviews here and that I’ll also be occasionally doing reviews for videogame movies (I know! It sounds so fun and original, right?!) Either way, this is something I’m working on. Definitely provide me feedback if you can, although leave the angry letters with the blood written signatures in the trash can. That’s just unsanitary. But until then, enjoy the read folks!]

Wreck-It Ralph‘ is kind of hard to explain when it comes to placing my exact feelings on it. On one hand I do really appreciate all the videogame references they put into the movie, and did it in a way that wasn’t forced. On the other hand it is what it is, a straight-up Disney kids film with a message seen very often in its category. However it’s probably best I explain what the plot is at this point and exactly what all the hullabaloo is about Ralph.

And also his chronic masturbation, I mean look at those arms!

Wreck-It-Ralph‘ is about a videogame, titled ‘Fix-It Felix Jr.’ and its main character Ralph. You see Ralph used to live in a stump, but was forced over to a junkyard due to imminent construction of a housing establishment. So what does Ralph do? Goes over and smashes the crap out of that building until…Fix-It Felix Jr. comes over to repair all the damage that Ralph has caused. The game ends every time with Ralph being carried off by the civilians of the house, thrown off the roof, and landing in a pile of mud (which sounds like my Friday nights).

Now imagine having to do that for over 30 years and not getting any appreciation or acknowledgement for doing your job. Thus the real plot kicks in when Ralph realizes that he no longer wants to be the bad guy, and goes out of his way to prove that he is a good guy. And along the way he meets several famous faces including Bowser, M. Bison, Q*bert, and many other characters that I prefer not to mention in risk of spoilers. Oh if only though they kept inserting more surprise appearances throughout the entire movie.

Let me get this out-of-the-way, the movie is good, but it’s not ‘great’ in terms of utilizing the potential it was given with all these familiar videogame characters. Instead what it turns into by the second half is basically a…children’s movie. I have nothing against that, as long as the writing is witty and well executed. Except that’s really not the case here, it just feels like a bunch of Disney execs were looking at the concept pieces and were like, “You know this is very imaginative and all, but we need a little spoiled brat named ‘Vanellope’ who acts like a constant asshole to the main protagonist.”

If your child is just an unfunny or mean-spirited as this character right here, kick their ass dammit!

I actually dug several of the characters in the movie, including Jane Lynch’s character named ‘Sergeant Calhourn’. However by the second half she’s just used as a love interest for a certain main character. It’s like the movie started out as a Pixar movie, and then switched to over to being a spin-off to ‘Despicable Me‘ or some other generic family animated film in the second half. There is one character though that I did like in the second part of the movie who’s voiced by Alan Tudyk named ‘King Candy’, mostly because he was probably the most entertaining thing about the movie by then. And even by the standards of which the film has set-up, he still really isn’t that great of a character.

A week ago, I saw the movie and I dug it. Didn’t think much of it then, but the more I think about all the famous videogame faces they brought in and how minimal they were used kind of frustrates me. Because how often do you see a movie in which Zangief and Doctor Eggman are in the same room talking with each other? None! Sure maybe my expectations were too high and my bias as a pretty long-term gamer came into effect here, but for me just seeing Sarah Silverman’s character constantly throwing out toilet humor and other annoying dialogue for a good chunk of the film just seemed like wasted potential.

Ultimately though, is it still worth seeing? I say it is, but I think it’s best to hold off until it hits Blu-Ray since I know the people reading absolutely ‘love’ dealing with family crowds in theaters. You see that? That was sarcasm right there, poorly, poorly done sarcasm.

You see this image here? It’s just as much a disaster as that last previous paragraph.

So let’s jump over to why ‘Wreck-It-Ralph‘ is important, at least until if Disney figures this out, for the past decade or two videogame movies have mostly had somewhat of a troublesome production history. Either the budget was too high or there were creative differences between the director and the writer(s). Sometimes the directors heart is in the right place, but he/she never manages to fully succeed when it comes to making a full-on ‘good’ videogame movie. As you can see with ‘Prince of Persia‘ (2010, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer), a bigger budget does not always equate to a ‘memorable experience’.

Spray-on tan does not make a better movie.

So with ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’, things have become much more obvious…make a CG/2D animated videogame movie. It’s that simple. Alright to explain this even more, look at M. Bison from ‘Wreck-It-Ralph‘ and compare him to the game (from left ‘Wreck-It-Ralph‘, to right ‘Street Fighter 4‘).

Notice how almost exact his design is to the original design in ‘Street Fighter‘? Now let’s take a look at M. Bison in ‘Legend of Chun-Li’.

Yep, doesn’t even look like the goddamn character.

You see with animation you can easily replicate that same exact design from the game, and make the changes necessary pending on how you’re going to approach it. With live-action videogame adaptations on the other hand, you either mostly get characters that look nothing like from the freaking videogame or you get some of the most out-of-place cosplay ever.

From the movie? Or someone dressing up for San Diego Comic-Con? You decide!

It doesn’t work because there’s a lot that can go wrong when it comes to live adaptations (in terms of mannerisms, who you get to play as the character, and how they are portrayed). Where as with CG animated movies you just whip up a design and get a very good actor to do the voice (hell it could be the same voice actor from the videogame) and ‘BAM’, everyone is happy. But of course it all comes down to the writing, if you can’t get the writing right then it won’t matter in the end because you just made a shiny yet shallow adaptation.

Honestly who knows, but one thing I do know is that if Disney wants to they can just take, eh, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ and turn into a feature length animated film. Because kids love talking animals and pretty images! It’s possible, but once again I’m probably just talking out of my pixelated ass.

Oh, so that’s who’s to blame for the ‘Mortal Kombat’ online series!

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3 Comments

Filed under Gaming

3 responses to “An Examining of ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ And What It Could Mean For Videogame Movies

  1. Timmy

    Good review/ discussion. I feel al ittle differently about the movie than you do, but I can see where you have a problem with it. Though I can agree that much of the second half of the film was cliche and childish, I throughly enjoyed the last 15 minutes and the credits. I would go as far as to say that the finale gave me goosebumps.
    I alos believe that there will one day be a great live action adaptation of a video game. Just look at the popular opinion of comicbook movies 20 years ago. It may take some tinkering and the right writers and directors to get together, but one day I am confident, they will figure something out.
    Minor correction: The name of the game was actually Fix-It Felix Jr.

    • Thanks! I do agree that there will be a good live-action videogame movie sometime soon, but certain studios at the moment are having problems when it comes to the ‘budget’. Hence sometimes why they hire directors who have little experience or wooden actors who work for cheap. Also thanks for correcting me on my mistake, I don’t know how I missed that.

  2. Timmy

    No problem, keep up God’s work.

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