Saturday, 8 December 2012

REVIEW - WRECK-IT RALPH


If too many animated feature films nowadays come across as little more than fast-paced, brightly-coloured sugary-sweet bursts of kiddie-orientated chaos propped up by a thin plot and tiresome moralising, Wreck-It Ralph may be something of an unusual antidote. The pace is fast and the colours are bright, but they seem less the foundation of this film, more an especially creative extension of ideas and motifs already in development in the story. And the visual design of Wreck-It Ralph is brimming over with invention, and consistently rooted in our memories of video games in all their forms. What a delight to see Disney's animators riffing upon conventional styles of arcade game animation, more with nostalgia than in parody, and any humour that emerges is generally founded in the accuracy of the recreations. And in enabling its games' avatars to enter one another's worlds, the contrast of aesthetics is very cute. It's all in the details, and Wreck-It Ralph is abundant with detail, from the pixellated cake mixture in Fix-It Felix to the brilliant use of product placement through Sugar Rush. The concept of real worlds within these games being manipulated by the gamers is terrific, and the inter-connectivity of these worlds is marvellously thought out (the characters' exit from PAC-MAN is hilarious). Just about everything in this film unfolds as one expects, which is no more a disappointment than in most other children's films; screenwriters and executives in Hollywood are of the evident opinion that children harbour no concerns over structure nor narrative complexity, and thus these are areas which require little attention. My argument is that if children don't care either way, why not try something new and unexpected? The kids won't notice, and their parents might be appreciative (Pixar did it with Ratatouille and WALL-E, their best films). Nevertheless, Wreck-It Ralph's story is sufficiently engaging, and its presentation sufficiently inventive, to satisfy me for the full runtime, which flew by. Fast-paced, brightly-coloured and sugary-sweet, and all for the better.