Tuesday, May 27, 2014

For the Wreck-It

I guess we're in a Golden Age of animation, partly due to the technology, partly to the combination of youth culture and Boomerism. As a result, we're watching a lot more animation then we would have thought. For example, Wreck-It Ralph (2012).

It has a cute premise: Ralph (John C. Reilly) is a big 8-bit villain in a video arcade game - more or less Kong from Donkey Kong. He is eternally beaten by the game's hero, Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer, Kenneth the Page) and has to sleep in the dump. So he breaks out of the game and heads over to Hero's Duty, a hi-rez FPS. There he wins a medal, but the busty space Marine Calhoun (Jane Lynch) chases him out, into the Sugar Rush go-kart game.

Sugar Rush is sort of the heart of the movie: wild colors, goofy animation, kawaii drivers, and King Kandy, voiced by Alan Tudyk but clearly modeled after Ed Wynn's Mad Hatter. Best of all is the rebellious and glitchy kart driver Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). She annoys and befriends Ralph so that she can join the race and maybe win acceptance in her game.

The politics of the movie, about accepting your role while still getting respect is a bit weird, and the rules of the universe, what "glitches" are and what happens if you die outside of your game are pretty ad hoc. Vanellope was a bit of a standard spunky kid character, and so on. But just look at it: The different eras of game animation colliding, the old-school video arcade concept, the Sugar Rush game. It's just a lot of fun.

In conclusion: A good double bill for Scott Pilgrim.

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