Movie Review — Wreck-it Ralph

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We saw this movie shortly before Christmas (as a regular movie, not 3D. Did it come in 3D?). It was a fun, enjoyable movie, that we all liked. I think that if you examine all the premises of it (how the video games work off hours, etc.) it’d probably fall apart, so we don’t do that.

Early in the show it was established that the game characters could also see out into the “real world” as well as the people being able to see in. This, unexpectedly, turned out to be an important plot point.

Also, the minor characters in the Fix-it Felix game were shown to move in a jerky fashion, though rather subtly, so it took a while for me to figure out that it was really happening, and wasn’t a glitch of the screen or my eyes. This was, of course, because they supposedly came out of a 30 year old game. I understand that this effect was really hard for the animators to do, if for no other reason than that they are always trying to make their CG characters move smoother and more realistically.

Wreck-it Ralph, after 30 years of being the “bad guy” in his game, and being shunned and ignored by his fellow game characters, tries to go out and get a medal in one of the other games, so that they’ll accept him. But “Bad guys don’t get medals”, which makes it difficult to get one (which he eventually does by cheating). Everyone is worried that he might be “Going Turbo”, a term they use for probably at least half the show before explaining it to us.

Along the way, he befriends a young girl in another game, who is was lonely as he was, while accidentally unleashing a terrifying scourge into her game.

Eventually, though, all the characters get a happy ending, two characters even getting a wedding.

I want to give a special notice to King Candy, voiced by Alan Tudyk. If I hadn’t known it was long impossible, I would have sworn that he was voiced by Ed Wynn (who played the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, and Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins).

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Movie Review — The Hunger Games

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We recently had the opportunity to see this movie with some friends at a church function.

I read the books probably a year or more ago, and though I enjoyed them, they weren’t necessarily my favorite. Dystopian literature seldom is, though I can see the attraction of the current fashion of dystopias where the young people can fight a dystopia, and beat it.

I’m going to assume that everyone is at least slightly familiar with the plot.

The movie adds quite a bit of visual images. I think it goes overboard with the jerky view of action shots. I don’t particularly like it when a movie can make me dizzy, even on a small screen. But otherwise it was a visual delight. I enjoyed the views of the capital crowds, with all sorts of different hair color and bizarre makeup and clothing. Especially when compared to the drabness of the District area.

Of course, the movie couldn’t get inside of Katniss’s head, the way the book did, but attempted to overcome that loss by showing us news reports from the capital, shots of people back home in the district, and behind-the-scenes shots of the Hunger Games control room. Altogether, I think they pulled it together well.

Two things I missed that I remember from the books. One is that I seem to remember when Katniss was being interviewed on TV, before the games, she got up, spun around, her dress caught on fire. If I’m remembering it right, in the books, when she sat down again, she was wearing a different dress when she sat down again. That would have been a cool special effect, besides the flames.

The other one was during the games themselves, after Rue died. In the books, then Katniss received a care package from Rue’s district (I think it was something stamped on the bread that let her know where it came from). Katniss found that particularly touching, since the way the economy was set up, though was relatively cheap to send a care package from the Capital, it was highly expensive to do so from the Districts. She assumed that they had scraped the cost together to send something to Rue, and sent it to Katniss instead, because she had tried to take care of Rue. All that depth of thought might have been a bit too much to try to convey in a visual medium, but I still missed it.

All in all, it was an enjoyable film. Though I think it had more meaning because I had read the books first than it would if I were coming to it without them.