Okay, I’m going to admit something here; I was actually excited for this film. “But Matt dosen’t get excited about ANYTHING,” My wife’s friend Rachel told her in disbelief. However I was a big fan of Wreck It Ralph.
I’m a big fan of video game movies in general. Back in my teen years I was a much heavier gamer, but even then I’d usually only get so far and then give up. Yet the genre and the whole milieu always intrigues and engages me and Wreck It Ralph embodied the best of that.
Today, it’s my daughter Maddie who is the real gamer in our family and if you think I was excited for this movie, just you let me tell you, she was ten times as excited. And because I raised my kids on the old school games, learning on the joystick of a Pac Man machine so they get the jokes and recognize the characters. That makes this a solid must see for us
(Still a better selfie than this)
So what ABOUT that Princess scene that’s been burning up the internet? Well it turns out we’ve seen about half of it. There’s more to it than just what we’ve gotten in ads, but what’s interesting is that it suggests the movie is going to subvert some of the princess tropes. It does, but not necessarily here. This bit actually plays a lot like Amy Mebberson’s Pocket Princesses and is unmitigatedly hilarious. It’s worth it for the casual princess outfits alone.
That really speaks to a larger trend in this movie. There’s in-jokes and visual gags everywhere. Every inch of the screen is covered in logos and videos and everything you can imagine. It’s a fan service dream and I really feel like I need to see it again, only with a remote control that has a pause button on it. I only got a glimpse of Beaker from the Muppets in the back of one scene. And when Ralph descends to the lower levels searching for a lost item, we see him push aside an old Geocities site while Netscape navigator leans against an old AOL package.
It’s jokes like that which remind us this film isn’t just for kids. It’s packed with gags and elements that you’re really only going to get if you’re over thirty. That’s a tough job to create something like that which also appeals to the grammer school and tween crowds. But appeal it does. My younger daughter tagged along. She wasn’t really excited for the movie, but it was a good excuse to stay up past her bedtime. By the end though, she was all in, laughing uproariously and cheering the heroes.
It’s a surprisingly layered movie, with influences from all over. The initial blast into the internet as well as the way Ralph and Vanellope navigate the web reminds me a great deal of Hackers. There’s Disney influence, and Tron elements, and then there’s the racing. That and Gal Godot.
I actually spent some time last year going through the Fast and the Furious movies (look for a franchise focus next year) and that stuff is all OVER this movie. Seriously. The movie gives us a new racing game – something that fuses elements of Carmageddon, Twisted Metal and GTA, outwardly another clone in this genre. But you’ve never seen racing like this in a game (and let me tell, you I LOVE racing games – it’s one of the few types I still play regularly). The flips, the backwards driving, the speed and maneuvering is straight out of films like Gone in 60 Seconds or The Fast and The Furious. This makes perfect sense tough, since the lead racer is a gritty woman named shank – played by Gal Godot who was both fast and furious before she was a Wonder Woman.
Honestly, there’s nothing about this film I don’t like. Get out to the theaters and check it out this Wednesday! Stick around for the mid-credits scene too. Besides, that IS a pretty good Imagine Dragons song playing over the end. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make some burnt pie and then stare into important water.
Ralph Breaks the Internet opens nationwide on November 21st