With the highly anticipated movie Wreck It Ralph about to hit UK cinemas, our friends over at Feref arranged for “Big Kid” Art Director Murray Allan and his five year old daughter “Little Kid” to see a very special sneak preview of the film during the 20th anniversary celebrations at Disneyland Paris. Here’s what he had to say about the film…
What a treat it was. The first thing that strikes you about Wreck-it Ralph is the wondrous depth of the concept. Heavy-hearted and loveable ‘bad guy’ Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is an 8-bit video game character living in a coin-op machine in an arcade. Over the last 30 years he has seen the advancement of video gaming grow around him, and in an expansive universe reminiscent of Monster’s Inc.’s Monstropolis he is set as part of a diverse world populated by loveable computer characters spanning the last four decades.
The characters ‘clock off’ once the video arcade closes of an evening, and can either hang around with their friends in their game scenario or travel to Game Central Station to see fellow cast-members of other games. This sets up beautiful interactions between Ralph and Bomber-man, Q-Bert, and a host of hundreds of characters that touch on nostalgia for the oldies in the audience – also resurrecting them for the younger viewers.
This is where the film begins to be truly breathtaking. Director Rich Moore manages to create a world that includes characters of all styles – each with their own unique characteristics and personality traits. Fix-it Felix (like Ralph) is a jumpy, staccato 8-bit handyman who stands alongside Sergeant Calhoun, a ball-breaking army woman from the modern first-person shooter Hero’s Journey and Vanellope, a japanese manga-styled racer from karting game Sugar Rush. It is no mean feat to engagingly host all of these characters in a single plane of existence, and the film does it with great style.
As the story unfolds, you are surprised and delighted by a myriad of classic gaming and film references. The visual complexity of the film then begins to kick into gear. Much of the action is set in the world of Sugar Rush, which is a rich, sumptuous world made of sweets, cakes and soft drinks. In creating these scenes the Disney animation team spent months researching food photography and the particle science of sugar to bring to life a sparkly, gloopy, powdery landscape that glistens and explodes with volcanic ferocity. It is totally eye-blowing.
Playing out over this landscape the characters fight between themselves and their own demons in a colourful story reminiscent of cartoons from 1920s and 30s, where toys come to life after a toyshop owner has closed for the evening. Each character faces their own peril and they also team together to overcome adversity. Many of the story’s twists and turns are deepened by the erratic Wizard of Oz-like King Candy, who has his own over-arching agenda.
In a world of Skyfall, Looper and Twilight this is a true breath of fresh air, surprising at every step both in terms of character warmth and ground-breaking technological endeavour.
Every time I turned to my little five year-old, she gave me a thumbs-up. As an adult I would give it two thumbs up. I can’t wait to see it again.
You might also like our favourite creative geek Dino’s review of Wreck It Ralph
Wreck It Ralph comes to the UK on February 8th 2013.
Click here to visit our Wreck It Ralph corner, with the movie trailer, reviews, and free activities to download.