It’s no question that to an old video game enthusiast as myself that Wreck-It Ralph was an appealing movie long before I ever went to see it. So I went in to see it with exceedingly high expectations. Perhaps higher than when I went to see The Avengers – the difference, I didn’t really know what to expect going in, whereas with Avengers I knew the story going in. For Wreck-It Ralph, I had my own ideas about the movie based on some trailers and a few songs that they used for music. And I was not disappointed.
What I got was a movie that speaks to me on astronomical levels. It’s hard sometimes in your day to day existence to understand or follow your lot in life. Who am I? Why am I here? Why do I do the things I do? etc. It’s perfectly normal as we go through life to question these very things. But to see a video game character brought to life questioning his own life and his place in the world of video games. To realize that Ralph is really just a guy stuck in a job he doesn’t like and who strives to be the ideal of the “Hero”… it’s something everyone should relate to.
What he gets thrown back at him are the voices of experience telling him that he can’t change who he is and that he simply must accept himself as he is. Instead Ralph heads off to challenge the notion, and his journey toward realization begins. In the world of video games the rules are simple, the Hero is the guy who gets the prize… or in Ralph’s eyes the medal. So when he hears about a medal in another game he sets off on what is really a shortcut attempt at the glory that he seeks.
In typical Disney fashion, found in movies like The Princess and the Frog, what Ralph thinks he needs isn’t at all what he really needs. A medal that says your a Hero may get you stuff but as we learned with Hercules acting the part of the Hero doesn’t make you one – being a Hero is about the “measure of a man”. Meaning its what’s inside your heart that counts not your outward appearance. Early on in the movie this is summed up by the Street Fighter character Zangief, “If I am good guy, then who else would crush man’s skull like sparrow’s egg between their thighs?”
Over the course of his journey Ralph comes to learn that fame and glory isn’t everything there is in the world. And he comes to understand that Zangief was right and the words of the Bad-Anon motto suddenly make sense to him, “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” And suddenly his world makes sense to him, and he’s able to shine. In that moment he truly becomes the hero he so desperately wanted to be.
Overall, if you’ve been avoiding this movie because you expect it to be a simple kiddie marketing free-for-all… well okay it is a marketing free-for-all as it was designed to be completely ripe for it. But that doesn’t matter because the message that the movie delivers is pure, honest, and true. The more emotional movie goer might want to bring along a box of tissues. They’ll likely need it. I can’t say enough good things about this movie. See it, look beyond the cartoon aspects of the movie, and win the medal that it’s presenting to you.