Table of contents

Wreck-it Ralph

A note on turning anger into love

The entire conceit of the comedy can be neatly phrased like one of its jokes: A medal is just another coin. – Worth pondering. – This seems to mean that the useful, or the good, is more or less the same as the noble. Medals are given to heroes for the accomplishment of great deeds. For reasons not easily fitting in comedies, it would be improper to say those are rewards, or payments.

However, there is a sense in which medals & coins should be put together. They both ask questions about justice, about who deserves what. For example, the conventional hero, one who fixes things that need fixing, is rejected in his suit of love & suddenly he identifies with the conventional villain, the one who wrecks things – whence the title. – That’s something worth noticing about comedy, that alliterations make unlikable things likeable.

A man whose love is rejected feels like he has been punished, but whether deservedly or not is not discussed. That seems to be the fundamental argument here: Punishment is always wrong. Punishing Ralph made him angry; all he ever wanted was respect. Consider that the other wrecker is an heroine who always kills her enemies, but never wins. War is never-ending, so to speak. It is also just a game, nothing worth taking seriously.

The two creatures that do not wreck things are also male & female; the conventional hero & the unconventional heroine. They make things, & may be said to make them up, too. The marriage of a wrecker & a fixer points out to us that these are twin qualities that are separated for the comedy to work. Putting them together is not easy, however. The story’s villain attempted to take a game apart & put it back together. The result is tyranny, though it is unclear what he intended, given the rejection of punishment.

Transforming villains into heroes is important. The power to break conventions is likened to a glitch. The unconventional heroine claims this is the greatest power. Finally, she transforms a kind of monarchy – what looked like a fairytale kingdom, but turned out to be a brainwashing tyranny – into a constitutional democracy. There are still leaders, but no longer would minds be controlled by a tyrant.

It would seem that antagonism is followed by friendship; call it the brotherhood of man – fatherless man. There would then never be heroes again, for they would have no cause to stand for, no enemy to stand against – now, heroes & villains are friends, & they can change places for the fun of it. Life would be like a game, except that there would be no price to pay to play it, so to speak…

Another lesson in tolerance & kindness from Disney