Disney has created quite a roster of Bad Guys that leave even us
grown-ups checking under our beds at night sometimes. I wouldn't
want to come across Jafar, Ursula or Scar even on their nicest
days. But sometimes the Bad Guy isn't always such a bad guy.
In Disney's latest release "Wreck-It Ralph", an
arcade game villain struggles with his role as always being the bad
guy. Every day when Litwak's arcade opens and a kid places a
quarter in the machine, Ralph goes to work, smashing and destroying
a high-rise apartment building. Then the game's hero Fix-It Felix
comes along to repair the destruction Ralph has caused. The
building's residents praise Felix and throw Ralph in a pile of mud
at the end of each game. After the arcade closes each night, Ralph
is shunned by the other game characters and sleeps in a dump of
Not surprisingly, Ralph craves change - and so would I if I slept
in a pile of bricks every night. As is human nature, Ralph just
wants to be valued and appreciated, even on an 8-bit level. So he
heads to Game Central Station to jump games and win a medal to
prove he is so much more than a Bad Guy.
The two games Ralph visits, "Hero's Duty" and "Sugar Rush"
couldn't be more different. One is a pretty intense first person
shooter style game and the other looks like Mario Kart got a
makeover from Willy Wonka's daughter. But as different as these two
games are, they both tie into
our November cover story about raising confident girls.
In "Hero's Duty", Ralph meets Sgt. Calhoun, voiced by Jane Lynch.
Calhoun, the main character of the game, is a strong leader faced
with tough decisions in a war zone setting. But she's also
presented as attractive and a love interest in the movie. Calhoun
makes sure to protect her friends and her troops, but she also
doesn't hide that she's a female.
Vanellope von Schweetz finds Ralph when he crashes in "Sugar Rush"
(no pun intended). A 9-year-old who is an outsider in her game as
well, she and Ralph can relate and, after a small misunderstanding,
become friends. Vanellope is unable to become a racer in "Sugar
Rush" because she is a glitch in the game.
(Spoiler Alert) When she crosses
the finish line, the game resets and she is restored as the game's
main character, a princess. Vanellope chooses instead to turn her
kingdom into a democracy, appointing herself president.
Vanellope is an awesome character for 9-year-old girls to love.
Although she struggles with not being one of the popular girls, she
knows she possesses her own strength and values herself, glitch or
no glitch. And in the end, instead of using her princess power to
get back at all the girls who bullied her, she decides to make
"Sugar Rush" a place where everyone has a voice.
Life lessons aside, "Wreck-It Ralph" was still a success. The
graphics in this movie are really fun and I was glad I splurged on
3D tickets because who doesn't want to feel like they're IN a video
And of course it was funny. Most of the humor was aimed towards
kids-I heard them laughing from start to finish-but there were some
good older-audience jokes in the mix as well. I especially enjoyed
hearing so many familiar voices matched-up pretty perfectly with
the movie's characters.
I didn't head to the movie theater hoping to find a message for
young girls, I went to relive my childhood a little bit and have
some fun. I got it all. Whether you want to take your family to see
a fun movie about video games, or a movie that can teach them about
confidence and acceptance, "Wreck-It Ralph" is a good choice.
A special thanks to
Liz Giorgi at Being Geek Chic for some inspiration for this
Alaina is the digital content editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Chicago.
See more of Alaina's stories here.
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