Archive | family RSS feed for this section

Disney Doesn’t “Wreck-it” with Wreck-It Ralph

10 Nov

After the more recent disappointments of The Borrower Arrietty and Brave, I was somewhat wary to see Disney’s most recent animated film, Wreck-it Ralph.

The advertisements looked promising, giving me a small hope that this would be the film that once more redeemed Disney’s animated films in my eyes, but I reminded myself that the ads for Brave and Arrietty had looked gorgeous too. So when my boyfriend and I finally made it down to the theater this week, I held my breath as the lights dimmed.

To my great relief, Disney had pulled it off. (Possible Spoiler alert!)

Wreck-it Ralph opens with a pixilated Steam-boat Willie, and then the lead character, Ralph begins to narrate over a close up of what appears to be an old arcade game, complete with 8-bit music, where we see Ralph living his day-to-day.

Ralph is the bad guy–but as all the ads point out (and  out of Street Fighter Zangeef’s mouth)–he isn’t a bad guy. It’s easy to feel badly for Ralph, a character who is programmed to be the villain of his game, wrecking an apartment for the hero, Felix, to fix; however, even after the arcade closes and the characters are allowed to be themselves, Ralph is still rejected by his fellow game characters and lives a lonely life in the dump.

The story takes place on the 30th anniversary of Wreck-it Ralph’s game, Fix-it Felix JR, with Ralph attending what appears to be an Alcoholic’s Anonymous style meeting of game villains where he admits that he wishes he knew what it felt like to be the hero. Here Disney playfully injects bad guys from games as familiar as Bowser from Super Mario, Zangeef from Street Fighter, A Pac man Ghost, and Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog along with characters the younger generation may recognize. (I couldn’t figure them out myself.) Ralph also admits that he doesn’t want to be the bad guy any more–but the group of baddies laugh it off and encourage him to take it, “one game at a time.” and not to “go turbo”.

After returning from his meeting, Ralph realizes that the other characters in his game are celebrating their 30 year anniversary with a party and, a little hurt his invitation never arrived, promptly makes an appearance there. The hero in his game, Felix, is a sweet and utterly loveable little man with a magic hammer is urged by his fellow characters to “get rid” of Ralph. Too nice to tell Ralph to hit the bricks, Felix invites Ralph in for cake instead, where Ralph is egged on by some of the other characters and ultimately he ruins the party. Ralph insists to the disbelieving group that he could earn metals just as easily as the hero, Felix, and is challenged by another character that if he gets a metal he live with them in the apartment instead of in the dump.

Urged on by the idea of living with the other game characters, Ralph embarks on a journey to obtain his own hero metal.

The audience travels with Ralph on his journey to be a hero and to be treated fairly through various games as Ralph “game jumps” to a very Halo-esq game called, Hero’s Duty, a one person shooter where he is faced with massive Bug-monsters that become whatever they eat. With absolutely no finesse, Ralph manages to steal a metal, but in doing so, also launches himself (literally) into another game as he struggles with a Bug that has clung to him in a stolen escape pod. They crash land in a game called, Sugar Rush, which is sort of like a candy-land racing game, where the Bug sinks and disappears in frosting. Here Ralph encounters a little girl called, Vanelope Schweet, who promptly steals his hero metal, thinking it’s a coin.

It turns out that Vanelope is in her own string of trouble,  and like Ralph, facing  isolation from her fellow game characters. The other characters claim Vanelope is a glitch that can’t be allowed to race with the other characters (or compete in the reindeer games!) and feeling badly for the girl, Ralph promises to help her.

Meanwhile, In Ralph’s game, the Arcade is open for business again and Ralph is a no show. Gamers who play notice the missing villain and bring it to the manager’s attention thinking the game is broken. Felix and the other characters finally realize that Ralph is missing and Felix promises to “fix-it” and sets off to find Ralph before the plug on their game is pulled. Felix and the female captain from Hero’s Duty team up, Felix searching for Ralph and the captain seeking out the Bug that escaped her game with Ralph.

Wreck-it Ralph is a movie about not making judgements–but even the villain of this film may surprise you. I think it may have been a first for me since I was young that I didn’t immediately know who the villain was and I loved the surprise. (I won’t spoil it for you.) The film is full of jokes that all ages can enjoy between the obvious “duty” jokes to the more adult themed (over the kids heads) jokes, this film is one I would consider seeing in theaters again.  Disney managed to pull it out of the bag for me on this one. The graphics are smooth and gorgeous and even the music is helplessly catchy. It gets a five our of five cupcakes from the Restless Writer scale.

 

Advertisements

Brave movie review and JulNoWriMo

2 Jul

So, I know I had mentioned wanted to review Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter the movie–but I haven’t gotten around to see it yet. Instead, my boyfriend was patient enough to sit through Pixar’s latest movie, Brave, with me.

Mainly, I think he was attracted to the fact that it was a Pixar film, because generally, they do not disappoint: but in this case I probably should have waited for it to come out on dvd.

Brave focuses on the Highland princess, Merida, and her thirst for the freedom to be who she is. Little does she know it, but her mother the queen is grooming her for her betrothal to one of the three clans eldest boys who then show up to try and “win” her hand with an archery tournament. Merida, determined to change her mother’s mind, seeks out a witch in the forest who gives her “a spell to change her fate” and “change her mother.” so she doesn’t want to force Merida to marry anymore. However, this crazy witch’s spell backfires, and literally changes her mother into a Bear.

Now, when I saw the trailers for this movie–I had no idea this was the direction this movie would take. And I’m rather disappointed. Though I loved the movie, and it’s message of mother-daughter bond rekindled, I was upset by how generally not creative this concept all was. I mean, all I could think of was another Disney movie called, Brother Bear. Made in 2003, Brother bear focused on the Native American folklore of “Spirit Animals” and involved a boy who kills a mother bear in vengence of his bother, who is then himself transformed into a bear in order to care for the slain mother bear’s son, Koda. The boys bond in bear form, much in the way that Merida bonds with her mother while her mother is in the form of a large black bear.

Overall, the film Brave is  beautifully animated, the details especially on the animals are amazing–but the plot itself leaves something to be desired.

To address that odd title of JulNoWriMo, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this: it stands for July Novel Writing Month, and I will be participating. The goal: 50.000 words by month’s end. I will be using the plot for the novel I’ve been planning. I’m rather excited, but also already tired. Wish me luck–and sorry if due to the novel I do not post as much here.

My Grandfather’s Chicken Farm (A story passed down for the next generation)

31 Jan

Last night, after I had already informed you all about the Irish Green Pants, my father had a sudden urge to talk to me.

Now, generally, I do not enjoy the conversations that pass between my father and I. Too often they tend to lead to unpleasant conversation; usually directed at my lack of a steady job, my inability to drive or some other shortcoming that he decides to pick at that day. Mind you,I don’t hate my father. But sometimes, I can’t stand him. (Isn’t that just human though?)Anyway, keeping this in mind, I wasn’t too thrilled to suddenly have him full of energy and ready to chat. Luckily, last night would be different.

My mother crunched absently on popcorn at the kitchen table, mainly keeping my father company as he ate his dinner. Dad works late on most nights, and isn’t usually around to have dinner with the rest of the family. I could hear them talking about their day from my room down the hall–and being forever unable to control my curiosity–I wandered out to join them.

I suppose they really didn’t expect me, because I interrupted a conversation they appeared to having about weight loss and gain, and what effects each scenario tends to have on my mother’s breasts. My father’s head swiveled around as I entered, and between bites of chicken he asked,

“Does losing weight effect your boobs like it does your mother’s? You know, losing them?”

These sorts of comments tend to be more normal coming out of my father’s mouth as he and I get older. But they don’t make me cringe any less.

“No, not really.” I answered mildly.

This then branched out into a long conversation about my mother’s breasts when she was pregnant, versus when she wasn’t. My mother adding to me that she had never really had a behind or boobs to begin with, and that she was jealous of mine.

I could see, as I bet you can as well, where this conversation was going to keep going. I considered leaving the room again, but before I could, my father pipped up jokingly about getting a well endowed female roommate–to which my mother quipped that she hadn’t approved. They shared a laugh at my look of horror.

“Dirty old man.” I finally managed to stammer at my father. At this point, he had finished his meal and was cleaning his hands in the sink. He chuckled in his raspy way, his glasses glinting in the low kitchen light. Something devious was about to happen.

“Speaking of dirty old man,” my father started, “I have a story to tell you.”

“Oh no,” I groaned, “Should I get the cheese grater to scrap my brain clean afterwards?”

“Nahh,” he replied with a sniffle, rifling his dish into the dishwasher. My mother continued to crunch her popcorn, one leg tucked under her as she sat at the table. “This is a funny story.” He confirmed, then paused. “Well, if you can look at it as just a story, and not as someone you know and love.”

Had my father just put a disclaimer on his story? He didn’t wait for me to agree, but plowed on.

“It’s a story about your grandfather. Something you’re going to want to tell to your kids, if you have them, or nieces and nephews. Something that will need to be passed down.” He said, trying to impress the importance of it on me before he told it.

I nodded, giving in. His heavy shoes clomped across the wood floors, the chair groaned softly as he sat back at the table again. I leaned against the counter tops–just in case I might need to make a quick escape.

“When you were little,” my father said,

“Are you sure it was her?” My mother interjected curiously. “Could it have been her cousins?”

“No, it was her.” My father confirmed. “When you were little, your grandfather took you out for a drive. He liked taking you kids places with him. And when you got back, you got out of the truck and came over.” My dad paused, smiling at the memory. “I said, ‘Did you have fun with Grampa?’ And you shook your head and told me yes, but looked a little puzzled.”

My father mimed talking to a smaller me, and I tried to imagine him younger, tried to imagine what he had looked like when he spoke to me then, “What’s wrong? I asked you. And you said, ‘Grampa is going to open a chicken farm.” My father crinkled his face in confusion to replay the event for my mother and I. My mother said rapt, listening and remembering. “So I looked to my father, and my father just,” Dad shrugged his shoulders, playing at being my grandfather here, “So I asked you to explain.”

A younger me looked at my father and told this story: my grandfather was driving along the road, looking all around. When I asked him what he was looking at he told me he was looking for chickens.

My father went on to tell me that later, my grandfather took him aside and told him what the real story was. The real story–my grandfather has wandering eyes. He has a ‘type’ as my father put it–particularly, young women. And on this drive he was apparently staring at women’s behinds as we drove along. Being small and curious, I spotted him looking all around, but wasn’t sure what he was looking at. When I asked him what he was doing,my grandfather; embarrassed to be caught gawking by his granddaughter and knowing he couldn’t admit to his dirty deed, told me he was looking for chickens. In my mind, this gives “spring chickens” a whole new meaning. I apparently spent the rest of the ride looking for these imaginary fowl. Off and on my Grandfather would point and shout–“Look! Did you see that chicken?” And in my innocence I would reply, “No! All I saw were those people!”