So…I’m back. My real life got in the way last week, and I didn’t write a blog. But this week I’m back to ramble and rant. First thing; I won the gaming debate this time, even though Splinter Cell is a better stealth game. But hay, I managed to argue around that point and win, so that makes me happy. This week I was going to talk about the Wii U and discuss if I was still as satisfied as I was when it was launched, but something else distracted me. On Friday I went the cinema; now this isn’t an unusual thing for me, I go about twice a week. However, this week I saw Wreck it Ralph. I’m going to put it out there, It’s a genuine film of the year candidate (yes, I’m aware it’s only February, if anything that makes this point more impactful).
Before I saw Toy Story all those years ago (which, by the way, was the first film I ever saw in the cinema) I never thought that my toys might come alive when I’m out of the room. After I saw the film though, I was sure that toys came to life. I would leave my room and hide behind a wall hoping to catch them all talking. I’m sad to report that I never once caught Action Man talking to Dr X. One day though, they are just sneaky bastards, they’ll slip up. My obsession with Toy Story didn’t end there. I wanted, no NEEDED a Buzz Lightyear toy. I spent months pestering my parents for one. Pretty much every day I would ask. Then one Christmas I got one. It was the best Christmas ever. I loved Buzz (still do, it’s in my cupboard. Don’t tell anyone). It wasn’t just me who was obsessed with the film. As I’m sure everyone reading this knows one way or another, it became the obsession of an entire generation. Even to this day I find it hard to watch Buzz fall down the stairs and break his arm and not have to hold back tears. Toy Story became a huge part of my childhood (and almost everyone else of my age’s childhood). Due to clever timing of the release of the subsequent sequels the audience grew up with Andy. When it comes to Toy Story 3 [Spoilers: for the 1% of people reading this who haven’t seen Toy Story 3] the part where Andy gives his toys away you too feel like you have moved on with him. You have to grow up some time you know. It’s okay though, because Disney told you it is.
Now when Monster’s Inc came out I was a bit older, so it wasn’t really an obsession of mine. In fact I only went the cinema to see it because my sister wanted to see it, and I got dragged along with the family. I was too grown up to see a kid’s film. The film was simply a piece of art. A grouchy old monster learns to love, and in the process changes the world. The supporting cast play their roles perfectly too. Mike and Sully come across as great friends in the film. Of course they have their ups and downs but in the end they come together and save the day. Then we have Boo. She has the greatest role in the film. She has very few actual lines, mostly just communicating in sounds and hand gestures. She represents the innocence in all of us. She is the scared little child in a big and scary world (in this case literally). She finds safety in the most unlikely place. The movie is simply fantastic. Needless to say I left the cinema so happy that I got dragged along.
Now you may be thinking: why am I talking about Toy Story and Monster’s Inc? Well the answer is simple. They both relate to Wreck it Ralph. You see Wreck It Ralph is basically these two movies smushed together. It’s a story about an arcade when the lights out, much like how Toy story was the story of a group of toys when the child isn’t about. It’s also a story of belonging, much like Monster’s Inc being a story of finding your place. I’m not in the business of spoiling the movie for anyone so I’m not going to talk about plot points, but I am going to explain slightly more what I mean by the comparison. The way Toy Story started my obsession with my toys as a child I feel like Wreck It Ralph has the chance to have a similar impact on children of this generation. Think about it; a child goes to see Wreck it Ralph. They’ve probably played a few games; they’ll at least know who Bowser and Robotnik are. Whilst watching though they see Cubert, M.Bison, Pac-man and many others. They are going to wonder who these people are. They’ll ask their parents and they’ll explain that they are old video game characters. Before we know it people are going in their lofts and dusting off old Ataris, NESs’s, SNESs’s, Mega Drives ect. Kids are going to be exposed to the classics of gaming, and this can only be a good thing. The trick to becoming good at any hobby is knowing your history. Say you are a football fan, and you are having a chat in the pub. History is bound to come up; if you don’t know your history you’ll be forced out of the conversation. Now with gaming this art is slowly being lost. Recently I was talking to a gamer about Ninja Gaiden (one of those games I’ve never finished.), and I was saying how hard the first one is. It became apparent that the other party was referring to the Sigma series whilst I was referring to the originals. On exploration of this point I discovered that the other person had no idea there was an original series. I’m not some kind of gaming snob, I just found it odd that they didn’t know their history; as I said history is important, and hopefully Ralph will help children become fans of the classics.
I’m not finished with the comparison yet, well I have to be actually because I can’t explore the Monster’s Inc link anymore without plot spoilers so I’m not going to bother, I’ll let you all go see it and see if you agree with me or not. So…I’m going to finish up. Wreck it Ralph is a fantastic film, its light hearted but dark, childish with adult tones and stupid but insanely intelligent. Basically the film is Disney doing what Disney do best; creating well structured and moving films, created with care and passion. People could learn a lesson from Disney. I feel more of a connection to their digimation characters than anyone in say, a Michael Bay film… Just saying is all.
By Matt Husselbury