by M. Faust
The bean counters at Disney clearly feel that they have a mega-hit on their hands with Wreck-It Ralph, an animated movie that seeks to exploit the nostalgia of parents who are now in their 30s in the same way that Toy Story did with a previous generation. If you grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, you don’t have fond memories of Slinkys or Mr. Potato Head or Rock-’Em’-Sock’-Em Robots, but rather Super Mario Brothers and PacMan and Q-Bert. That’s to name just three of the trademarks Disney has licensed for this movie in the hopes of being able to resell them to a whole new generation of young consumers.
And now they’ve got their hands on Star Wars, too…
The premise: Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the bad guy in an old-school game called Fix It Felix Jr.. After thirty years he’s tired of being despised by everyone he works with and wants to improve his lot in life. This leads to adventures in other arcade games, including a hyperactively modern one that pits soldiers against armies of giant bugs, and one meant for young girls where he tries to help another outcast (Sarah Silverman) become a hero in her own right.
The key to box office success for animated features these days is to cram in references to entertain parents enough that they’ll want to watch it several times with their children, who will presumably be entranced with anything colorful and fast-moving (and impressionable enough to be branded by the plentiful product placements). If you were big on games as a kid, you’ll probably spot lots of references here. On a plot level, the details about the intricacies of games will probably go over the heads of younger viewers, while the story itself, far too much of which is spent in the candy-colored “Sugar Rush” game, will seem too juvenile for teens. John Lasseter may be on board as an executive producer, but a Pixar fim this isn’t.
Watch the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph
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