For weeks, our family, particularly my husband, has been looking forward to the latest movie from Disney, “Wreck-It Ralph.” My husband is a HUGE old-school video games fan. Um, do me a favor, though — NEVER bring up the Miss Pac-Man machine that has been sitting in our garage for seven years. It made the unfortunate decision to break when he was out of town and I had a friend visiting. He blames me; I resent that he blames me and all the while, poor Miss Pac-Man just withers away in our garage.
Last week, I was invited to a pre-release screening but we almost didn’t make it. It was the beginning of E’s bad cold and at the last minute, DadJovi didn’t come because he’d missed two days of marathon training and he decided to go that night. I tell you all of this because I went into the screening in a really bad mood. I was tired. E. was cranky and sick. It was raining. And if I hadn’t already promised E. we’d go, I would have bailed.
Boy am I glad we went.
E. and I LOVED it. From start to finish, I was laughing out loud.
As Michelle says in her review, the casting is spot on. Here’s a brief synopsis from Disney:
For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.
On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart-racing game Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time?
I will see ANY movie that John C. Reilly is in, so the fact that he is the main character — and his character is seriously the animated embodiment of him — just made me laugh and smile from beginning to end.
I’m hot and cold on Sarah Silverman, but she’s pretty fantastic in this. In fact, her character Vanellope von Schweetz might be one of my favorite female Disney characters ever. Sure, she’s snarky and sassy (um, sound familiar?) but she’s also smart, inventive, independent, brave and a good friend. I’ll take that over a simpering, lovestruck princess any day.
I won’t give too much away but to rip off Michelle again, this movie also reminded me a lot of “Toy Story.” I admit that I now believe E’s toys come to life when we’re not around (and it PAINS me to get rid of any). Now, I also know that arcade game characters have a really active and interesting night life.
Some of my favorite parts of the movie were when all of the characters from various games were mingling or passing through Game Central Station (get it? It’s like a big train station for the characters to hop from game to game). I can’t wait for my husband to see it because I know there are a lot of characters in there that I didn’t recognize.
There was one particular character, though, that brought some semi-painful childhood memories rushing back.
Before I tell this story I need my mom to understand this loud and clear — THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! I DON’T BLAME YOU! IT’S A FUNNY MEMORY NOW. DON’T LET YOUR FEELINGS GET HURT BY THIS STORY!
OK, back to the story. It’s actually quite appropriate that I tell this story around Halloween because it involves the costume I’ll never forget.
I can’t remember how old I was, but I know I was in either first or second grade. My parents were somewhat recently divorced and my mom and I were trying to make it on our own. I’ve said it before and I can’t say it enough times — I have no idea how she survived as a single mother. It must have been the hardest thing in the world. It’s only since I’ve grown up that I’ve learned just how poor we were during those years. Somehow, I hardly realized it as a child though. Sure, I didn’t have all the toys and clothing labels that my friends had but I had a lot.
One year, though, money must have been tight or my poor, overworked mother probably just didn’t have time to spare. But I can remember it being either the night before or a couple nights before Halloween and I still didn’t have a costume. I can remember going to the nearest store, which I’m pretty sure was a K-Mart. Oh, what we would have done for a Wal-Mart or Target in the early ’80s.
When we got to the store, there were NO costumes left. Nothing. I can remember my mom gamely trying to suggest some costumes using things we had a home but I was
being a brat adamant that it HAD to be store-bought. NO ONE had a homemade costume. So, we ended up with what was pretty much the only costume left — Q*Bert. I can recall that I hadn’t ever even played the video game. It was one of those cottony rayon full-body suits and the plastic mask with an elastic band around the head.
I hated it. But I hated the idea of a homemade costume more. I can remember my mom trying to cheerlead the outfit. She even had a great idea — I could wear her silver cube-shaped earrings with it!
I’m sure I sulked and made her feel even worse than she probably already did. Mom, with only the wisdom being a mother myself now and nearly 30 years can bring, I can only say — I AM SO SORRY.
I told this tale to DadJovi years ago, and since then Q*Bert has been sort of an inside joke between us. So I couldn’t believe it as I sat there watching “Wreck-It Ralph” and Q*Bert was such a main character. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry with how bad I now feel for torturing my poor mother. I’m sure I’ve screwed up some of the details but that’s how I remember it. I’ll have to see how she remembers it after she reads this.
OK, enough with the long-winded tangent (but c’mon, you all know me well enough by now. Long-winded tangents are what I live for).
Bottom line? Unless you too have some painful childhood memory associated with arcade games, you’re going to LOVE this movie. It really is one of those far-too-rare movies that’s great for the whole family — boys, girls, young and old. It’s so sweet, so funny and just plain fun.
Disclosure: My family and I received free passes to attend a pre-release screening of the movie. As the saying goes, all opinions are 100 percent mine, including the previously buried Halloween tale from my childhood.