The video game and movie industries have had a somewhat complicated relationship in recent years, with franchises from the former only getting due care and deliberation by the Hollywood big wigs in the last few years, as the Video game industry blossomed into the burgeoning money maker that we know today. Prior to this, poor attempts to tap into the kings of the market flopped spectacularly. (looking at you Super Mario Bros and StreetFighter: The Movie).
Living in the isolated highlands, the majority of entertainment available, is that which you can enjoy at home, unless you happen to enjoy pickling your liver at one of the countless pubs in my small town that perpetuates the “hard drinking Scot” stereotype. As such, it was with some delight when the local Thurso Cinema was re-opened with a fervour last year, finally bringing new titles to the big screen on release, rather than six to eight weeks after everyone else had seen, discussed and ruined most of the movies for me.
So, I was happy to see that Wreck It Ralph, the latest outing by the team at Disney, was arriving in my town on opening day. Wreck it Ralph is a delightful hommage to the video game industry’s early arcade days of the eighties and nineties. As many of us hold fond memories of this time in our lives, Disney were always going to be hard pressed to get a thumbs up from the industry fans as a whole, without a good knowledge of its subject matter. To this end, I was not disappointed.
This is the story of Ralph voiced by John C Reilly, the video game baddie from a fictional 80′s arcade machine Fix it Felix Jr, that has somehow managed to survive three decades alongside many of the biggest hits of the 90′s in a still active video arcade. After so long as the vilified antagonist, Ralph leaves his game after being rejected during the anniversary party for the game, to find a way to be a hero instead and earn the admiration of his video game colleagues. His adventures take him from classic arcade machines to fictional current releases, where his ‘wreck it’ nature undermines him at every step.
As a gamer, writing for gamers, I guess the key question for you would be would it have any appeal for the adults in the audience, and the answer isn’t as straightforward as many of those early arcade games Fix it Felix Jr was based upon.
This is no Pixar movie, with its tongue in cheek adult humour slipped in to entertain the whole family. This is first and foremost a Disney movie, aimed squarely at the kids and with a bittersweet moral filled story to tell. That said, video gamers will find some unique nods to their favourite past-time dotted throughout the movie. From the introduction of the Bad-Anon group Ralph attends, which was featured in the TV spots for the movie, revealing a plethora of characters from historic games, such as Clyde from Pac-Man, Diablo “Satine” from Diablo, and especially Kano from Mortal Kombat, whose infamous heart rip fatality is featured, bodes well for the tone of the film.
More eagle eyed gamers will spot the “Aerith (Aeris) Lives” graffiti in the background or pick out some of their favourite cabinets as the arcade time lapsed from the early 80′s to the present day, or chuckle when King Candy uses the Konami code to access the Sugar Rush code, and no gamer will miss when Ralph finds a Metal Gear Solid alert “!”, complete with sound effects, whilst looking through the Tapper lost and found box.
There are countless background in jokes, but sadly not enough to entertain the adults in the audience for the full duration of the movie. This is a good movie that will be thoroughly enjoyed by kids, and if you have history with the video game scene, there is enough here to keep you watching for the next reference, but this is not a movie an adult can go to themselves and enjoy in the same way as you can with animations from Disney’s key rivals.
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided tickets to Wreck it Ralph for review purposes by Thurso Cinema (www.thursocinema.co.uk) – The countries most northern cinema.