I’m not really excited about Wreck-it Ralph. I know that might seem like blasphemy, considering the people involved with it and the company that’s made it. It’s a Disney film, so it’s got a pretty decent chance of being a quality movie and I’m sure that there are plenty of people who are really excited about seeing video game characters in non-speaking, cameo roles.
There are two reasons for this apprehension. One is relatively minor and the other is pretty big, and both are full of my natural tendency to be disgusted by everything I don’t like.
I wish Jane Lynch could be cast in a role that has more to it than the word “unpleasant.” She’s that, on Glee, every week of the season, and all of her movie roles seem to be primarily associated with her ability to belittle and confuse the people around her. I know that the aforementioned Glee has given her some “character moments,” but when it comes down to it, 99% of the world knows her as the “insulting woman.”
She is a character actor, and that’s the niche she fits in. And this is just a voice, but her yell is so identifiable at this point, that, for me, her scenes in Wreck-It Ralph will become another episode of What’s Jane Lynch Mad About? She seems to be fighting an army of bug monsters, which will probably lead to some cool, animated action, but I’d just like to see Lynch in a role, animated or otherwise, where she isn’t making everyone around her feel like pieces of shit.
I’m also not really that excited by the prospect of seeing people like the Mario series’ Bowser and Street Fighter’s Zangief. I know that today’s pop culture is primarily driven by references to itself, and that, often, humor is replaced by something everyone is aware of being dropped in a situation that you wouldn’t expect them to be in. So, people go to the movies, see the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph and suddenly there’s a ghost from Pac-Man, and a zombie waxing philosophical about what it means to be a “bad guy.”
You’re not expecting this because A) licensing and B) these are video game characters in a movie. And because of the surprise and the “humorous effect” of them all being in some kind of fictional character therapy, which is an idea that every sketch and animated comedy show in the world has done at least twice, people get excited about it. I did for a little while too. I mean, come on, it was Sonic, and he looked disgruntled, which is how Sonic should look all the time because Sonic sucks.
There’s a lot of faux nostalgia going on in this specific part of Wreck-It Ralph as well. Another huge trend in today’s pop culture is the nostalgia for retro things that people never really experienced – in this case, arcade games. At this point in time, arcade games are mainly showcased as something a person buys when they’re very rich, grew up as a nerd, and currently lacking a wife that would normally shake her head at them when they make idiotic spending decisions.
I don’t think that’s the primary demographic for Wreck It Ralph at all. They just relate arcade games to this love of “retro culture”, and immediately it becomes a draw because it’s hip, but hip in a way that’s completely unnatural, and only lasting until the movie is over. It’s cool, but in an unsatisfying way.
For the most part, it just seems appears to be a lot of pandering. I’m pretty sure those other video game characters that actually exist outside of this movie and the upcoming related Wreck It Ralph tie-in games, aren’t going to be in the movie very much. They’re just used to hook people in who get excited by the prospect of Dr. Eggman sitting in a chair on the big screen. With the exception of a few probable background shots of Frogger and The Qix waving at something, I doubt that this will be the Disney “Super Smash Bros” that an excited nerd mind might lead you to believe it will be.
Wreck-It Ralph might be a good film, but, for the most part, it just seems like an attempt to pander to a market that isn’t going to see the film for anything other than two minutes of novelty scene and then, hopefully some laughs. I say “hopefully,” because the trailer seemed to be lacking a lot in the way of jokes, and if a trailer is meant to entice, then, on November 2nd, there are going to be a lot of disappointed people who simply came to see how “great” arcades are.