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Analysis: “Wreck-It Ralph” (2012)

Also posted as a review on Letterboxd, derived from a thread on Mastodon.

Never got around to the sequel, thought I’d go for a refresher on this one first.

Their respective games’ fellow characters are bigoted towards Ralph and Vanellope in essentially the same ways — total social exclusion through rigid enforcement of arbitrary rules designed to exclude them — but for different reasons.

Where Ralph’s exclusion is because he’s “the bad guy” who wants to be let into “good guy” spaces, approaching almost a faux “trans predator” thing, this idea that no matter what, in the ideas of Gene and the others he’s always gonna be pretending,

Vanellope is excluded because she has a disability, her “glitch,” when confronted she calls it “pixlexia,” the other racers’ mockery resembles common mockery of physical and learning disabilities, her peers make no effort to try to understand.

Felix, in this read, is the well-meaning cis liberal, the guy who on paper is totally fine with Ralph, but can’t bring himself to prioritise Ralph’s well-being over his own status because doing so would endanger his “hero privilege,” a limitation he only overcomes by figuring out a way to make himself the lead character of part of the story.

Unfortunately in the end Ralph and Vanellope’s conflicts are overcome not because Gene and the other penthousers learn to accept and love Ralph for who he is instead of who he was written to be, but because he “earns his medal” by saving the day, literally just trans exceptionalism, and not because reasonable accommodations are made to help Vanellope thrive but because her glitch is essentially brought under control, her disability “medicated,” the thing that made her unique transformed into something nobody finds too uncomfortable.

I realise 2012 is a different country, but there is simply no goddamn way anybody like me — trans, autistic — was involved in the production of this fucking movie.

We will never be able to look to Disney and truly see ourselves, it’s just never gonna happen.

Anyway, fun video game movie. Cute aesthetic, the fictional games fit right in with the real-world ones. Kinda proves these things can work as a movie in a way nobody has quite managed to do since. I say, actively not looking at the Mario movie.

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