Not a review, just some thoughts. A few SPOILERS below, so don’t read if you plan on watching the movie and don’t want spoilers.

I saw Disney’s latest animated feature Wreck-It Ralph today. I was expecting good things from all the positive reviews I had heard about it.

But…

Perhaps I’m overanalyzing it (a favorite pastime of mine), but I didn’t quite connect with the story. I suppose what didn’t quite work for me was that the “be who you are” theme didn’t quite fit the main character’s real problem. That is, the main character’s problem wasn’t about accepting “who he was”; rather, it was about other characters not realizing that he wasn’t the same person as his “game character.”

At the beginning of the film, the other characters in his game (“Fix-it Felix”) treat him like dirt. Why? I have no idea. My best guess is that they believe he really wants to wreck everything just because he’s the villain, when really he just wants what all the characters want: to be loved and accepted as an equal. He doesn’t wreck things after the game is over, after all. He doesn’t go around trying to kill people. Wrecking isn’t what he wants to do in and of itself; it’s what he has to do as part of the game.

So, to me, it seems like the problem of the story centers around the other characters in Ralph’s game not understanding that Ralph is actually a nice guy who is simply “playing” the villain for the sake of the game. And yet it’s Ralph who, as the main character, has to go on an adventure to learn… to learn what? To “accept” who he is? To learn who he is? But that was never really the problem to begin with! The problem was that other people were treating him like dirt.

And then, at the end of the film, they come to love him. Problem solved. Why do they love him at the end of the film? How did he prove himself? Why did he ever have to prove himself to begin with?

All that said, it was a fun movie. Wonderful animation, wonderful look and feel, wonderful use of 3D, wonderful references written in graffiti, and wonderful pixelations.  I just had trouble understanding the overall theme.

Also, have you noticed that, similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Toy Story, Disney can somehow get a bunch of other franchises to participate in their movie, even while they’re actually just helping Disney build their own franchise, with Disney’s original characters at the center? Clever Disney.

Categories: Movies

3 Comments

S P Hannifin · November 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM

I think it would’ve worked better for me if, at the beginning of the film, instead of having the other characters clearly reject Ralph, it’s Ralph who rejects everyone else (even if subconsciously) because of his own distaste and discomfort for having to play the bad guy, and envy for Felix for getting the glory of being the good guy.

S P Hannifin · November 18, 2012 at 11:31 PM

That may have been what the filmmakers were going for, but, if so, I think they wrecked it by placing so much story importance on the rejection and acceptance of the other characters in “Fix-It Felix” rather than on Ralph’s personal outlook on the rest of the world. (I think it was trying to be a Shrek-type story at its heart. The first Shrek film nailed it, theme-wise.)

S P Hannifin · November 18, 2012 at 11:35 PM

I may have mentioned it before, but I do not much care for the “heart change of the crowds” plot element in any story. There’s just something that seems inherently fakey about it. (Unless it’s like a SpongeBob episode or something — something that’s inherently ridiculous to begin with.)

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