Saturday, November 10, 2012
There's very little about this film that is bad. As expected, the worst part is Sarah Silverman's character, Vanellope Von Schweetz. Early on, she is as annoying as Silverman herself, which isn't surprising, since the character is apparently based on Silverman's memoir. Luckily, she gets much better as the movie goes on, and by the halfway point, she is a fully-formed character complete with pathos.
The mechanics of the movie are worth singling out; they are perfectly consistent. That is a big achievement considering that the characters jump from game to game. A significant problem with movies with extreme premises is that, almost inevitably, an inconsistency or plot hole arises. The writer had a certain scene, line, character, or event that he or she absolutely wanted, and in a less extreme premise would be completely fine, but in the more extreme movie, it makes no sense. Wreck-It Ralph has none of these inconsistencies. It is excellent.
As far as message goes, I think that they should have stressed Ralph's subjugation much more. All he seeks is acceptance, and the characters in his game are outright violent to him, and that is never fully addressed. That, to me, is a major narrative shortcoming. But much like Vanellope, that failing is soon forgotten as the rest of the movie joyfully bounds onward.
In many ways, I am perhaps a poor measure of this movie's quality since I am so affected by the nostalgia that it evokes. I watched with glee as I attempted to pick out references to old video games, frantically searching every scene, every shot, for characters wandering the background, images flashing by, or props lying around. I nearly lost my shit when Sonic gets hit by the out-of-control escape pod in Central Station and loses all his rings.
That said, I like to think that I can provide some significant analysis separate from my giddiness at seeing Pac-Man eating shrimp cocktails. Wreck-It Ralph is the best non-Pixar CGI film made by Disney. It is paced well, with perfect consistency, and rises with great work from all involved. It is the best animated film of 2012.
An Even Shorter Review Of Paperman.
As with all CGI movies, it is preceded by an animated short. Paperman is good, but a bit too twee for its own good. The story is of a man and woman office workers who meet on a train platform. They are attracted to each other, but the meeting fails in a way that only a cartoon could present. He then sees her across the street from his high-rise office, and commences making tons of paper airplanes in an attempt to reach her. The short only gets cuter from there. My personal criticism of it is that, while they set it in the 1950's (or so it appears), the female character is so painfully demure as to be annoying.
The animation is very cool. It's CGI but is rendered to look like a 2D sketch. The effect is very believable and adds a great texture to the entire work. Overall, it was a solid B+ appetizer before the full meal.