Friday, February 1, 2013

Chol's Animation Analysis: Ralph and Venellope (Wreck-It Ralph)


WARNING this blog is "Wrecked" with spoilers.

I'm not going to try and make this blog into some fancy essay style writing like my last one. I'm just gonna bring up some scenes from this film that stuck out to me and why it solidified itself as not just a good film but a great, moving film that became my favorite from 2012.

What I wanted to talk about was the relationship that forms between Ralph and Vanellope. They meet and have a clash of personalities right off the bat. They form a relationship that starts off as a necessity.  She needs him to get herself a cart so she can race and he needs her to win to get the medal she stole from him back. However after seeing Vanellope's living condition and how it reflects of his in his own game, he feels a connection with her and his determination to help her succeed grows. There are three points where this is shown the strongest to me.

The Destruction of Vanellope's Cart.
Now at this point of the film, Ralph was just told that if Vanellope is allowed to race and gets in the line up of characters that the players can choose, that because she glitches out they will think the game is broken which could lead to the game getting unplugged. Because she's a glitch, she would not be able to escape the game before it gets unplugged and would evidently die. This news is very troubling to Ralph. He has formed such a strong bond to Vanellope that he can't bare the thought of losing her forever. So what action does he take? Something that most would find shocking, he destroys the cart that he himself helped her build.

 Now a few people I talked to said it wasn't that shocking because they knew he would do it. Some might find this point of the movie stupid or irritating cause it seems to be such an irrational move on Ralph's part. I will argue however that this action though hasty, was justified in the execution. When Ralph first tries to suggest to Vanellope not to race she does not listen to him no matter how much he begs. It's this that leads to his drastic action. And the way he did it struck me so hard that I was fighting back tears. He restrained Vanellope and broke her cart right in front of her, the frail cries of "NO!" escaping frantically from her lips as he destroyed her hopes. I could't stand that sound and it was so painful to watch. And I still say this moment was justified. Why? Because it shows how desperate Ralph was to protect her. He wanted to make sure that she wouldn't try to race even if he destroyed it while she wasn't looking. He was willing to hurt her to save her.

The intended self-sacrifice
Towards the climax of the film, "Sugar Rush" has been infested with insect like creatures from the other game "Hero's Duty".
Oh hush you!
The image of Ralph trying with all his might to desperately get Vanellope through the portal to escape the game was another example of good scene work. I know some people are the kind who want to see people smart enough to catch on quickly that if it didn't work the first time the character shouldn't try it over and over again, but here is another example of why that idea just doesn't work. From his constant efforts to pull her through with no result, we see just how attached to her he's become. He's so desperate to keep her alive he can't face the fact that with all his strength he still can't get her through. This determination continues later on.  To rid the bugs so the race can continue, Ralph races to the coke, mentos ... mountain thingy to create a beacon to draw the insects away. But King Candy is there to try and stop him. In the struggle, Ralph realizes that the only way to win here, is to dive past Candy and launch himself headfirst into the mentos which would have him fall helplessly into the mountain's coke lava (or whatever). Being a Disney movie which in the past has a knack of killing of people without hesitation, I was beginning to think that Ralph was really done for. The visuals and music in this moment left me moved and awaiting the worst. But of course Vanellope comes to save the day.

Ralph's New Motive in Life
At the end of the film Ralph gives an epilogue of what became of everyone after the events at Sugar Rush. It's a nice happy ending showing the sprites of Ralph's game becoming more friendly and how some of the sprites of unplugged games found homes. Ralph explains how he has become happy with his job as the bad guy. His reasoning, I'm going to be completely honest, was so touching and amazing to me that I was fighting back tears hard.

"..Because when I'm defeated and they hoist me up to throw me off the building night after night, I get a perfect view of Sugar Rush and Vanellope when she crosses that finish line" [paraphrased]

I think that sums up Ralph and Vanellope's relationship perfectly. It's like the bond between a father and daughter. It makes the scene of him destroying her cart make a bit more sense. How often do we see fathers do something like that. They worry about their little girls getting hurt and will take drastic measures to keep them alive even if they end up having their daughters hating them for what they do. He is no longer focused on his own success and glamor. He learned to take pride and inspiration from this little girl and her success. It's one of the most powerful forms of love I've seen displayed on screen in a while.

Another Point to be Made
While doing some image searching, I checked a few post on tumblr on the movie. This image caught my eye. 
That right there sums up this movie beautifully. That image of the girl in the arcade doing that is the prime example of how this movie gets gamers. I can honestly say I've had that connection to characters in games I've played before. You and that character work together and take on everything the game dishes out and at the victory you not only feel accomplished for yourself but you see the game sprite as real and your friend who you've grown with and bonded with. A connection that is so strong that even though you've just been sitting on a couch for hours, or driver seat at the arcade, the fact that the character you've been playing with has won you take pride in seeing them succeed and that you had some part in making that a reality. Sums up Ralph perfectly as well when you think about it. 

-title card made by me.

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