Throwback Thursday: Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Perception is not always everything. How we see ourselves is not how others see us. This can apply, in writing terms, to how we see antagonists. We, as the audience, know that they are up to no good. But this character believes that they are doing the right thing.

The 2012 Disney movie, Wreck-It Ralph, is the story of an old-school video game villain who wants to be seen as a hero. Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) wishes that he was seen in a good light by the residents of the game he inhabits. The problem is there can only be one protagonist, Felix (Jack McBrayer).

He sees his opportunity to change his reputation via Seargent Calhoun (Jane Lynch) in a first-person shooter game. In doing so, he lets loose a virus that may shut down the entire arcade. The only way he can save himself and his world is through an unexpected ally: Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman).

Can Ralph change his self-image and his entire world before it is too late?

I love this movie. It is funny, it is supremely entertaining, and it has heart. It also has a message about self-esteem and trying to prove that you are more than what others think you are.

I also love that the female characters are equal in terms of narrative and image to the male characters. They are not confined to “traditional” female roles.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Matrix Resurrections Review

When The Matrix premiered in 1999, it was more than the standard science fiction good vs. evil movie with computer-generated effects and stunts. The narrative question was existential in nature. Both the special effects and the fight scenes were (and still are) awe-inspiring.

The 4th movie in the series, The Matrix Revolutions, premiered last week. Neo (Keanu Reeves) is torn between the world he sees and the world that is just beyond his consciousness. He is the creator of the best-selling video game of all time called The Matrix. He is also seeing a therapist, known as The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris).

He begins to question his reality when Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, replacing Laurence Fishburne) comes back into his life. When he finally breaks from the world he has known, Neo can only save the day once more with the help of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). But like Neo, she first has to see the truth.

I wanted to like this film, I really did. It tries to build on the legacy of its predecessors while adding new layers to the story. After nearly two decades. both Moss and Reeves still have the same chemistry. The addition of new cast members builds on this idea of fighting for our individuality instead of just going along with the rest of the crowd. Among the newbies, Harris stands out. I haven’t followed his career closely, but this character from what I know is not one that he normally plays.

The problem is that it just stretches on. It only perks up when Trinity wakes up, which is at about the 60% mark.

Do I recommend it? I would lean toward yes, but only if you have seen the three previous movies.

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Free Guy Movie Review

When we talk about making change, the first step is to move out of our comfort zone. But what happens when we don’t even know that the zone exists?

The protagonist in the new movie Free Guy, Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is an NPC (non player character) in a video game. Unaware that he is a background character, he repeats his day over and over again. When he is not working at the local bank, Guy spends his free time with his best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery).

Everything he knows turns upside when he sees his dream woman, Millie (Jodie Comer). Breaking his everyday routine, he follows her. This tiny act of change starts Guy on a path of revelations that changes everything. What he does not know is that in the real world, Millie is suing Antwan (writer/director/actor Taika Waititi) for copyright infringement. But her co-creator, Keys (Joe Keery), is not onboard with the lawsuit.

This movie is so much fun. It is also one of the most unique narratives that has been seen on the big screen in a long time. The action is fun and heart pounding, the comedy is pitch perfect, and the satire of these type of games works for all audiences. I am not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, but I got the jokes.

The acting kudos goes to the lead actors. Guy’s optimism and innocence is a nice contrast to Millie’s skepticism and darker view of their mutual experiences. It is a lovely ying and yang relationship that keeps both the characters and the viewer on their toes.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Free Guy is currently in theaters.

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