"Wreck It Ralph" could be the poster child for what is wrong with media "for children" today. The movie is awful, in my opinion, and I don't recommend it for anyone, especially children. In fact, it embodies most of the things I try to avoid for my kids: violence, sexual typecasting and innuendo, glorified verbal abuse and unkind behavior, comedy at the expense of others, lying and cheating to win, disrespect of elders, disrespect of authority, etc. Commonsensemedia.org, which is a resource that helps parents select age appropriate media for their children, missed the boat entirely on the rating of this film. (The film was rated as appropriate for 7 year olds.)
The word that comes to mind is gratuitous. The lack of taste with which this movie was made was very distracting from the plot, for me. The characters are demeaning and rude to each other. All females are portrayed as harsh and rude or prudish and rude. One of the female characters is decked in a skin tight costume with giant breasts, tiny waist, and round hips and thighs. She is carrying an automatic weapon and leads the assault team in her video game to kill the enemy with an abundance of verbal abrasiveness. Why is she like this? Because her fiance is killed on their wedding day by a giant evil bug, so she is now bitter and violent. And of course, the nice guy falls in love with her. The more she abuses him, the deeper he falls. Is this really what we want to model for our kids? Why is that so popular in media today? The innocent sweet boy falls for the bitchy hot girl who mistreats him. what?
In one game, there is a group of snarky girls who gang up on the outsider girl who is one of the "positive" role models of the movie. At the end, she says, "and for anyone who was ever mean to me... you will be executed...." (gasp from the mean girls) And then she says, "JUST KIDDING!" The banter between the other main character - Ralph - and her is almost all antagonistic and demeaning. Their dialogue is supposed to be funny, but 7 year olds do not have the sophistication to understand this level of sarcasm. I understand it and I didn't find it funny, I found it distasteful. Most of the lines were intended for adults and I only laughed two or three times, as I found the movie mostly offensive.
One of the “positive role model” scenes, when main character Ralph gives a giant cherry to a homeless video game character, is diminished by the fact that Ralph stole the cherries in the first place. Just before this sequence, Ralph is being "profiled" by security - a concept way above the head of children. As the second security guard stops Ralph, the guard says something like, "do you have anything to say?" And Ralph says “yeah, I hate you.” The security guy says, "yeah, we get that a lot.” There is another scene where a character is comparing an obsolete video game to his "Nana" saying disparaging things about having to put her out to pasture and get rid of her. Again, 7 year olds don't need to be introduced to the concept of disrespecting their grandparents. Most 7 year olds adore their grandparents.
It is ALARMING to me that this movie is billed as a movie for small children. There are so many inappropriate scenes; the majority of the movie is inappropriate for children for one reason or another. This movie contributes to the phenomenon in this country known as "age compression," where children are exposed to concepts in media that they do not have the maturity to process. They begin to emulate the complicated dynamics of sexual behavior, mean girls, and sick romance at younger and younger ages, and they don't understand any of it. Parents need to be aware that movies like "Wreck It Ralph" are not made for the enrichment of children, they are made for profit by people who don't really care about children. I think the story line idea is creative and some of the concepts are creative; this movie could have been good. Unfortunately "Wreck It Ralph" is so vulgarized and degraded by the content that the creativity is overshadowed. "Wreck It Ralph" is not "FOR" kids, it is made "FOR" money at the expense of kids. I suggest skipping this one altogether.