About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wrecking It

Wreck-It Ralph is a surprisingly pleasant animated movie from Disney.

The lead character arises out of a video game Fix It Felix.  Ralph does the wrecking, Felix does the fixing and gets all the glory, and Ralph in his frustration soon ultimately finds himself in another game, Sugar Rush, where (no spoiler here, this is a an animated movie with hopes of getting kids) he finds his redemption.

The film boasts a great and knowing script, full of sly allusion to video games from 30 years ago and to pop culture in general.  It's the rare movie where product placement works, where there's nothing at all wrong when the bad guy will "unleash the Devil Dogs" or we have NesQuick Sand instead of regular quicksand, or the fate of the world might turn on that neat party trick with Mentos and Coca Cola, which wasn't willing to sell its soul for a product placement forcing the film to use a generic cola instead.

The voice talent is consistently good.

The animation is as knowing as the script in depicting the world of once-upon-a-time video games.

The end title sequence is a delight, be sure to stay.

The music is worthy of an Academy Award nomination, as it has to carry the film dramatically while also paying homage to classic video game music with every bit as much devotion as the script and the animation.

The one weak thing to me:  the video game culture of the peak arcade years in the late 1970s and early 1980s was a guy thing, I don't recall the girls in my dorm in college running off to have fun at the arcade.  But because the movie has to appeal to girls just as much as it does boys, too much of the game is spent in the Sugar Rush, and being that I'm a guy I started to get a little tired of all of these anachronistic appear-to-girl elements in the movie.

The main feature is preceded by an equally delightful short called Paperman, every bit the equal of the best Pixar shorts.  In totality, there's no denying the influence of the Pixar team on the Disney animation studio in both the feature and short.

Of course, what make Ralph especially delightful is that it is a burst of fresh air in the otherwise very tiring milieu of modern animated movies.  The coming attractions, I'm not sure there was a single carton film that I developed even a tiny interest in seeing.

And let me annoy some people by also saying that I couldn't really tell the live-action trailer from The Hobbit apart from the animated films.  Peter Jackson is just so in love with CGI and uses it so much that the world of The Hobbit is every bit as artificial looking as that of Wreck-It Ralph.   CGI existed when the Lord of the Rings movies were coming out ten years ago, but things have come a long way since.  Peter Jackson doesn't have to use real world filmmaking techniques enough now, so the director who followed LotR with the rather dreadful remake of King Kong can now indulge himself in a tragic OD of artificiality.  Based on the coming attraction, I don't think I'll see The Hobbit.  Iron Man 3, which was in the pre-show when I saw Skyfall, also looks very missable.

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