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Saturday, August 17, 2019


Review: Disney misses mark with children’s film

Making a children’s film is a particularly challenging task because the people making movies are inherently far removed from childhood experiences.

Adults must try to put themselves in the mind of a child and think about what children like and want, in order to appeal to them.

“Wreck-It Ralph,” with voice acting performances by John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer is not a good movie.

It’s riddled with jokes at the expense of the protagonist and his bad breath.

“Stink Brain” is both written and spoken aloud multiple times. This is typical of a failed children’s movie and its attempts at humor. It amounts to no more than ineffective pandering at best.

“Wreck-It Ralph” has, at every possible juncture, taken the easy way out.

It has a roster of notable, funny big names. Horatio Sanz, Ed O’Neill, Adam Carolla and Alan Tudyk — who does his best Charles Nelson Reilly impression — make appearances in the film in addition to the larger headline names.

Although off-puttingly sweet, Silverman is indisputably cute as Vanellope Von Schweetz, a glitch character in the racing game “Sugar Rush,” who wants to be a racer and fulfills the role of platonic Manic Pixie Dream Girl to John C. Reilly’s gruff and uninteresting Ralph.

The film did have its moments — it would be difficult not to be amusing or clever even once at 108 minutes. But the world Walt Disney Animation Studios strives to create is filled with enough flashing three-dimensional effects to induce epileptic fits and is devoid of an ounce of character or real beauty.

Compare “Wreck-It Ralph’s” arcade to the panoramic and sweeping splendor of Paradise Valley in “Up.” All the glitz and gloss only serve to underscore the extreme dearth of soul or substance in the arcade.

This is what happens too often when movie executives target children and treat them as something different.

The real mistake is assuming children are at a fundamental level any different from other people. Children are so by virtue of lacking experience.

Like adults, children want relatable characters and significant emotional change to befall them.

A child doesn’t want or need jokes predicated on bodily humor any more than an adult does nor does visual effects magic beguile a child any more effectively.

Children must be thought of as people before they can be targeted, and the result of doing otherwise is a flat, pedestrian and uninteresting spectacle like “Wreck-It Ralph.”

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