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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Disney’s CGI formula might be Wrecked

Wreck-It+Ralph+%28John+C.+Reilly%29+threatens+to+wreck+an+apartment+complex+at+the+start+of+a+game+of+Fix-It+Felix+Jr.+As+the+title+implies%2C+Ralph+is+fighting+a+losing+battle.%0D%0APhoto+courtesy+Walt+Disney+Pictures
Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) threatens to wreck an apartment complex at the start of a game of Fix-It Felix Jr. As the title implies, Ralph is fighting a losing battle. Photo courtesy Walt Disney Pictures

By Joshua Knopp/special assignments editor

Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) threatens to wreck an apartment complex at the start of a game of Fix-It Felix Jr. As the title implies, Ralph is fighting a losing battle.
Photo courtesy Walt Disney Pictures

Seventeen years after Toy Story, is it possible the feel-good CGI kids movie is finally getting old?

The latest one, Wreck-It Ralph, has a fairly interesting premise. After 30 years of being the bad guy in his arcade game, Ralph (John C. Reilly) goes AWOL in search of a chance to be the good guy in a different game. His numerous adventures lead him to fight cyber bugs in an interstellar hellscape, wade through a sugary world of candy and … that’s it, there are really only two settings in this movie.

Wreck-It Ralph has all the elements to repeat the calculated genuineness of Toy Story 3 and Up, but something isn’t right this time. The illusion that tear-jerk and laugh-out-loud moments are genuine breaks down, and the audience can see how like clockwork the whole operation is.

A weak script is to blame. Filled to the brim with clever video game references and world-building dialogue through the first 30 minutes, the humor quickly devolves into disposable emasculations from Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch) and potty humor from Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman, who is very annoying). The humor is surrounded by a couple of contrived love stories and a cookie-cutter kid-movie plot with a couple of questionable moral implications.

When all is said and done and the film has broken its Be Yourself moral over the audience’s head (and then gotten a spare and broken that one over the audience’s head, and then made sure it stuck with a complimentary Be Yourself lapel pin), everybody goes back to doing what they were programmed to do.

Ralph risks his own world and two others because he is so run down with being the bad guy, and in the end, he just goes back to it with renewed vigor. It’s like those weird Dr Pepper commercials where everyone expresses their individuality by wearing the same shirt — the characters celebrate their power to choose by not making any choices.

Also, given the amount of detail and life added to the set design in Hero’s Duty and Sugar Rush, the games Ralph enters, it’s a pity developers could only find a way to get two of them into the movie. They could have been trying to avoid bloating it with too many worlds that weren’t really plot points, but the opposite problem arises. Ralph feels smaller than it should.

Part of it is the high standard Disney Pixar sets, but Wreck-It Ralph comes up short. It fails to carve a niche in the kingdom of kid movies (the video game element that was supposed to make it unique is nothing but a background and a plot device after 30 minutes of the movie) and can’t be recommended over its superior predecessors.

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