The broad appeal of Wreck-it-Ralph

The trailers for Wreck-it-Ralph were strong enough to make me want to see the movie the first weekend out. I was not disappointed. Wreck it Ralph was a fantastic from beginning to end. It was a parade of appealing characters that I couldn’t get enough of. The story, the sets, the camera work and animation were all top notch.

Beyond all the individual elements that go into producing an animated film, there is always the basic question. Who is this film’s audience? The broader you can make the audience, the more potential you have for happy, and paying, customers. Wreck-it-Ralphs appears to have pulled in around 50 million dollars in it’s opening weekend, which is very good. Wreck-it-Ralph has the broad appeal of the best Pixar movies.

This is probably the most gender balanced animated film ever. There were two strong female characters, the sassy little girl Vanellope Von Schweet, voiced by Sarah Silverlman, and Calhoun, the combat hardened woman played by Jane Lynch. I looked down the row, and noticed a mom who seemed to be as engrossed in the movie as her kid was. I think she liked Calhoun. I imagine quite a few moms went with kids, and spread the word to their friends. Also, the two females never had to compete or conflict with each other. When romance blossomed for one of them, it didn’t diminish her power.

Like a politician courting voters, you need to appeal to women, and the older folk, like me. I don’t play video games much anymore, but I did back in the age of Atari. I very much enjoyed playing Qbert. Seeing old video game characters was fun for me. It’s like in Toy Story when they threw in classic toys that adults remember from their own childhood. Now that kids are turning more and more to electronics, this is how it evolves.

It’s high energy entertainment, but not without heart. Ralph is a character struggling to redefine himself. His quest is to get a hero’s medal. I recall being a child, and desperately wanting a medal or a trophy. During one of the dramatic moments, when Ralph has to wreck something important to Vanellope, the audience went silent. We really felt bad for her. This is a film that is in touch with what being a child is like.

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