The philosophy of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

Saw Wreck-It Ralph today. In the best Shrek tradition, it’s a kid-friendly movie with something for adults, too.

To be sure, the film itself presents some interesting tidbits of philosophy. What *is* a “good guy” ? And a “bad guy” ? Do our actions define us, or do our motives? Both, neither? That’s part of the reason why the movie works so well. 8-year olds (not sure I’d bring a kid any younger than that, there’s a couple scenes that might scare really really little kids, and there’s a measure of ‘fantasy violence’ more or less throughout) will giggle at the cute visuals and root on the heroes, while the adults can enjoy a script that’s approachable and thought-provoking. Doing both is so hard.

But that’s not really what I’m talking about by philosophy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve enjoyed enjoying a movie so much in quite some time. I tend to go for movies that one isn’t per se supposed to ‘enjoy.’ Both as an audience member and as a writer. That reflects on me, yes, but I don’t know if it reflects badly. Because you kind of need balance in life, don’t you?

I’ll never write a script like Wreck-It Ralph. I’ll never write something so cute, so corny, so friendly, so fantastical (as in, of fantasy). And I think that’s okay. Maybe I’m limited as a writer, but I suspect the writers of Wreck-It Ralph would have a hard time writing some of the existential bullshit I come up with. Seriously, that fucked-up dream in my last post? It’s gonna be a script. About the extinction of the human race.

The pantheon of cinema needs both, but I think the human being needs both, too. Some days, have your soul* torn out and stomped on. Others, have it nourished and encouraged. It’s all part of the human condition

*No, I actually don’t believe in the classic Judeo-Christian notion of a soul, but consider it shorthand. Or the literary meaning of ‘everything good in a person.’

It’s a very Eastern philosophy, I think. Very yin and yang. It’s nothing original or earth-shattering, but I’m satisfied by the realization. I hope other people feel the same, because it’ll mean there’s an audience for my movies. Nobody has to be sold on the notion of balance to buy a ticket to Wreck-It Ralph. It’s a little harder to be marketable on my side of the coin.

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