Monday, April 1, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs on 3 Animations

Wreck-It Ralph (2012, Rich Moore) is the latest Disney animation, a hero's journey story set inside the video games of a small, mostly retro arcade.  When the doors shut and the quarter junkies go home, the video game characters go home as well.  But life is work and work is life.  And Ralph is not happy being just a villain, abandoning his Donkey Kong clone for a better simulated life.  Amusingly, this movie started life in the 80s when video game arcades were actually full of life, explaining the plethora of video game in-jokes that only people my age would get.  I would have liked to see a few Japanese games appear but was glad they didn't try and shoe-horn in console or PC games, just because they are known and popular.  Leave those for the sequel when someone brings an Internet attached modern game to the arcade.

Hotel Transylvania (2012, Genndy Tartakovsky) was the one I was least interested in viewing, but, the Internet allows for that, kind of like the cheapo rentals we used to get at the mom & pop video store.  Surprisingly, it was actually enjoyable.  But not whatsoever for the story, more for the supporting gimics and gags.  Drac is a misunderstood monster in a world where torch wielding villagers are the terror and the cute & fuzzy creatures are the regular visitors to his no-humans hotel.  Of course, a (most likely toke smoking) human backpacker shows up and changes everyone's minds.  I was able to ignore my Adam Sandler hate and enjoy the slap-stick, the gimmicky jokes and great supporting characters even as I completely forgot what the story was about.

Finally, we saw Rise of the Guardians (2012, Peter Ramsey) which was the one I was most keen on seeing, mainly based on the pseudo-Russian Santa with his nice & naughty tattoo sleeves.  Santa needs to be portrayed as badass more often.  In this world Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny are the imaginaries who kids still believe in, thus maintaining their roles as protectors of children.  In opposition to them is the ever-fading Boogieman, or Pitch, who has been losing believers (and power) as the modern age dampens their fear of the dark.  But as the villain, and he really should have been played by Tom Hiddleston, he has more power in mind and it involves the newest risen Guardian, Jack Frost.  Really?  Jack Frost?  Did kids ever believe in a such a figure?  But never you mind, for this is a grand, exciting adventure story with great, fresh animation!  Easter Bunny with a (battle) boomerang!  Dual-sword wielding Santa!  Jack with his +2 Staff of Winter!  I will have to stat these demi-gods for my next D&D game.