Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jason watches WRECK-IT RALPH

And I kind of enjoyed it, possibly despite my better judgement.

But first, there was a short animated film, PAPERMAN. A simple love story between a man, a woman, and a whole lot of airborne paper (with a BRAZIL homage in there, but I guess from the "Love Conquers All" version of BRAZIL.) It was cute and simple and more than a little old-fashioned. Not just in how it actually uses traditional hand-drawn animation, but in how it's a silent (that is, dialogue-free,) mostly black-and-white film.

And then the feature, WRECK-IT RALPH. It's hook is as a nostalgia trip through a world of classic 8-bit video games (it's possible the most unrealistic conceit isn't that video game characters have lives of their own, it's that a video arcade would still be in business today.) John C. Reilly voiced the title character, a video game villain who is tired of getting no respect. As he says, "It's hard to love your job if everyone hates you for doing it." So he goes rogue, or in the lingo of the video games, "goes turbo" (explaining what that means would be too much of a spoiler.) He escapes into other games and starts, well, wrecking everything. Not on purpose, that's just sort of what he does. And along the way he meets a glitchy little adorably annoying girl in a candy-themed racing game (voice of Sarah Silverman.) That relationship is the real heart of the film, and takes it from being a gimmicky nostalgia trip to a real character-driven story. And the story is sweet, kind of sappy, predictable but still pretty exciting.

And then after the movie I thought about the message for a while. On the one hand, it has a dignified, blue-collar moral of the value of honest work, and how nobody appreciates the valuable lower-rung laborer until he's gone. On the other hand, it's also a message about the dangers of trying to go "against the program." Learn to be happy with your lot in life, and never reach for anything better. And that's why I say I might have enjoyed it against my better judgement.

Total Running Time: 108 minutes
My Total Minutes: 304,883

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