When it rains it pours. I just saw two great movies this week, and now I'll give you my take on them:
Skyfall and Wreck-It Ralph
Minor Spoilers to follow (I'll try not to ruin too much)
The first film I saw was the new James Bond flick "Skyfall." I've mentioned before that I generally enjoy Bond even though I'm not a "fan." This is probably the best Bond movie I've seen just in terms of storytelling and quality.
All the things Bond does best shines here. The credits song and sequence are amazing, one of the best. The villain, a Joker-esque cyber-terrorist played by Javier Bardem, is at once funny, frightening, and heart-wrenching. The set pieces and environments are gorgeous and sometimes chilling. There's a new Q and he's awesome. There's a new Moneypenny and SHE'S awesome.
I do admit that I was shocked and saddened that this was the swan song for Judi Dench's M. I thought that having a female M provided a great dynamic to the Bond franchise and I know Dame Judi loves the role. However, she is getting up there and after the clusterpoo needed to get this one made, who knows when James Bond will return (as the ending 50th Anniversary title card assures us he will)? Her send-off is very fitting and she should be proud of it.
One of my favorite moments is at the beginning of the third act, when needing an escape Bond goes to a storage unit and uncovers the classic Aston Martin. I don't know if it was intentional or if it was just a trick of the light, but when that car was revealed the picture itself seemed to become grainy like old film. For a moment, we really were back in the 60s.
Still, as good as Skyfall was, in my personal taste it kind of paled in comparison to the second film I saw: "Wreck-It Ralph."
Oh. My. God. Do. I. Love. This. Movie!
It's accurate to say it's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" meets "Toy Story" meets "Tron." And it does it very well. Even though the heavily advertised video game character cameos are just that: brief cameos, it works this way. This is the nostalgia movie for the video game generation. It plays with the tropes perfectly.
The characters are great. John C. Riley? Great as always. Jane Lynch? Great as always. Steve the Pirate-er-I mean-Alan Tudyk? He doesn't get mentioned in the advertising, but he plays King Candy (and does a spot-on Ed Wynn impression). Jack McBrayer? Yeah, he's Kenneth the Page again (well, if Kenneth had a kid with Mario), but it works here.
Sarah Silverman, oh my god. She is the most adorable thing in the world as Vanellope Von Schweetz. Hands down my favorite character in the movie. In fact, of the three original games that get featured in this movie: 8-bit "Fix-It Felix Jr.", FPS "Hero's Duty", and chibi kart racer "Sugar Rush"...it's "Sugar Rush" that I want to play the most in real life and I'm glad the movie spends a lot of its time there. It might come as a surprise to some of you since my three favorite video game franchises (World of Warcraft, Kingdom Hearts, and Pokémon) happen to be RPGs, but my absolute favorite genre of video game is actually the kart racer. Oh man, Diet Cola mountain would be sooo cool as a track. Plus, I can't get that J-Pop theme song out of my head ("S-U-G-A-R/Jump into your racing car/Say Sugar Rush! Sugar Rush!")
I'd be lying if I said I didn't guess what the big reveal would be from the clues, but to the film's credit it presented it very well and (unlike, say, "Brave") I had no clue as to how they were actually going to handle it.
Like Skyfall with Bond, this movie does all the things Disney does best (well, except hand-drawn animation, but you know...). It's funny, it's touching, it's just flat-out fun. I can probably say it's one of my favorite films of 2012. I say "one of" because the jury will be out until "The Hobbit"...