After years of playing the bad guy in a popular video arcade game, Ralph (voice by John C. Reily) wants nothing more than to find a better purpose for his life and setting out to escape from his game and traveling across a number of others he sets out to do just that.
I suppose it would be easy to describe Wreck-It Ralph as a variation of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? for the video game generation, just substituting a number of different companies’ video game characters for Roger Rabbit‘s polyglot of animated characters from various studios, but early reviews have it that there is a sweet story of a loveable lug at its center that may mark it as something more than just for the kids.
After making the last several of his films through motion capture animation, director Robert Zemeckis returns to live action with this story of an airline pilot (Denzel Washington) who is first hailed as a hero for keeping a jetliner from crashing following a catastrophic mechanical failure. Not only does this look like a pretty solid drama, there is the potential for a subtext to the story that comments on society’s seeming need to tear down the heroes it builds up.
Advanced word on this has been strong, following it screening as the closing film of the New York Film Festival a few weeks ago. And while many remember Zemeckis for his genre work including Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and the Back To The Future trilogy, he has created two enduring modern dramatic classics in Castaway and Forrest Gump. Could Flight be his third? Very probably.
Normally I would look with suspicion on a musician who decide that they wanted to direct a stylish kung fu epic, but in this case, I think that the RZA has some definite cred for the job. He is a noted fan of the a member of the old Shaw Brothers studio Hong Kong kung fu films of the 70s and appropriated his rap group’s name, Wu Tang Clan, from them. Plus, he was simpatico enough with Quentin Tarantino on the subject of these films that the director asked him to compose original music for his two Kill Bill films, becoming the first person to do so for a Tarantino film. Tarantino returned the favor by acting as a producer on this and I dare say that it was his cache that helped land names like Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe onto the cast list.
Now I don’t suppose that there will be any great truths to be found in the film, but if you’re looking for some crazy and stylish martial arts action, you’re liable to find it here.