… but it’s still a pretty good movie all the same.

That’s what I thought when I walked out of the pre-screening back in March, anyway.

I need to be completely honest as I write this: I have not seen the finished product. A friend of mine from law school and I went and saw the unfinished working product at a pre-screening in town. While he thought it was a bit lackluster, I thought it was actually a really good movie.

Real quick, for those of you who are just completely oblivious, here’s a little recap about the movie. Wreck-It Ralph is about a thirties arcade game villain whose tired of living through the same monotonous scenario day after day. Don’t get him wrong – he likes to wreck things. But he’d also like a little recognition and friendship. After all, if he didn’t wreck things then what would the hero Fix-It Felix, Jr. fix? So he sets off on an adventure across several video games to win a medal of his own and show the people in his own game that he’s worth something after all.

It had the potential to be, perhaps, a great movie. But I think it fell a little short.

Part of it, I think, is that they really keep pushing this as the next Toy Story. It’s obvious in the way they designed this movie and the way the media portrays it. That has bothered me form the start.

As much as I love video games and as much as I remember my early days on the NES and Sega Genesis fondly, not everyone has those memories. Toy Story grabbed on to something absolutely universal. Every little kid wonders what his or her toys do at night or when we’re gone away.┬áBut how many kids really wonder if their video game avatars are hanging out together? (Not to discount Sony’s ‘Michael!’ advert which is, as we all know, totally awesome.) Even more limiting of a question, how many parents and grandparents had those same thoughts?

Wreck-It Ralph has been hyped up as a cross-generational nostalgia fest. And I just don’t think it is going to do as well in that aspect as people think.

Hardcore gamers will enjoy the little cameos and some of your fifty to sixty year old parents (and in some cases grandparents) might recognize a few things. But even as a gamer I felt like it was pandering too hard at times and then not enough.┬áThis is a balance I hope they fixed for the theatrical release. Hopefully I’ll be able to find out for myself soon.

My advice?

Go into Wreck-It Ralph expecting no more than your traditional Disney experience and you will be surprised. There are a couple really emotional moments – and one sort of dark, emotional moment that crushed even my hopes and dreams momentarily. I mean, it’s a Disney movie. Save for Old Yeller, we know they are all going to end upbeat. Otherwise think of the emotional trauma we’d be giving our kids.

Also, John C. Reilly? Nails it. Absolutely nails it.

On it’s own, Wreck-It Ralph is a good Disney movie. Classic Disney in a lot of ways. And as a video game movie? It’s also great. But don’t try to make it out to be more than it really is. It is not Toy Story. And it’s certainly not on par with the awesomeness that was the last great video game movie – Last Starfighter.

Check it out this weekend if you can. I will! And if my opinions change you’ll be the first to know.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87E6N7ToCxs]

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