Category Archives: Movie Review

Movie Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

The hubby and I actually went out to see a movie last week, instead of waiting till it came to us via Netflix or Redbox, and were charmed with the film we chose.  For those who grew up during the era games like Pac-Man were the latest craze, visiting Litwak’s arcade is like a trip down memory lane.

While technological changes from old-fashioned video games to the burgeoning Internet plays a role in the movie, this sequel to Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, focuses less on that and more in the character development of its principles, nice “Bad Guy” Ralph, and his bestie Princess Vanellope, a race car driver from the overly sweet “Candy Crush.”

When an accident damages Vanellope’s vintage console, Ralph and Vanellope undertake a trip through a new addition to the arcade, a network connection, in order to locate a replacement steering wheel from E-bay. What they find in this new world will alternately amaze and horrify Ralph, while Vanellope soon finds herself longing to stay.

While Ralph is perfectly happy with the way things are and doesn’t want to change anything about his life or his friendship with Vanellope, she is struggling with the monotony of her unchanging environment in the arcade.  Ralph wants to make Vanellope happy, and goes to great lengths to help her fulfill her dreams, and then nearly destroys them, along with the entire Internet, when his own insecurities and possessive behavior come into play.

This version of Vanellope is still adorable; but is experiencing angst that comes from the struggle to come into her own.  She is bored with the current track options of her own game, and quickly becomes enamored when introduced to “Slaughter Race,” a game for more “mature” audiences, and especially its own leading lady, a female racer named Shank.  She regards Ralph as her best friend, but is learning that it’s okay to grow and try things on her own.

They will have to learn to be honest with each other, and accept that it’s okay to want different things, in order to save their friendship and stop the virus destroying the Internet.

One of the highlights for me was the scene where Vanellope accidentally finds her way into the dressing room of the “other” Disney princesses, who then assist in saving the day, or rather the “hero” in distress, Ralph!

This is movie is rated PG, though the climax with the attacking “Ralph” virus may be scary for some younger viewers, and is in theaters now.

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No More Damsels in Distress-Equal Opportunity Heroes on Skull Island

This past weekend my husband and I took in our first big “summer blockbuster” of the year, Kong: Skull Island.  I hadn’t read any reviews of the movie prior to the show, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was not merely a sequel or remake of Peter Jackson’s 2005 epic.  Instead, Kong featured an original story that offered plenty of action coupled with a well-developed plot (though the latter was somewhat obscured by the overwhelming special effects).

Set roughly forty years later than the last cinematic delivery of the giant ape, Kong touches on the 1970s world of chaos embodying war protesters and political upheaval, scientific leaps and social change.  In this environment, a group of researchers pitch the need to uncover the secrets of a lost island “before the Russians do.”

Brie Larson as Mason Weaver, firing a flare gun.  Photo courtesy of rottentomatoes.com

I was gratified that the female cast was not relegated to the role of damsels in distress, as in the classic versions of the giant monster genre.  Leading actress Brie Larson, who, at first glance appears to fit the stereotype of the beautiful blonde traditionally captured by the giant ape; ably held her own with the boys in pitched fights against the monster baddies.  Actually it was her character, Mason Weaver, a war photographer, who finished off the first of the creepy, two legged giant skull crawlers the group of scientists and soldiers encountered, with plenty of help from James Conrad, played by costar Tom Hiddleston.

Though female leads in action films have become somewhat more common in the last decade, thanks to series such as Resident Evil and Underworld, they are still not the norm whenever mammoth monsters take center stage.  It is indeed refreshing to see a female character that is portrayed as competent, resourceful, and just as brave as her male companions.

Larson’s character did later get up close and personal with the big guy, an encounter which showed that Kong truly was not the antagonist, but rather a tragic hero in his own right.  It was her empathy and insight, coupled with the intuition and heroism of Hiddleston’s character, which led to the confrontation with Col. Packard, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Prejudiced due to his experience in the Vietnam War and the opening encounter with the giant ape, the Colonel had failed to understand that Kong was not the enemy, and almost caused a disaster as he tried to destroy their would-be protector.  Larson struck a decisive blow in the penultimate battle that saw the remaining humans ally with Kong against the granddaddy of the skull crawlers for ultimate survival.

Overall, Kong was a rare movie worth the outrageous price of the 3D ticket.  I would recommend it to any fans of monster movie or action genres.

Happy viewing,

Amy