My wife and I took our kids to see Wreck It Ralph on opening day. I must admit I wasn't super thrilled to see it. I had just got back in town from visiting a family at Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh. I felt like I still needed to get stuff done at the office. But I knew if I passed up this chance to spend with my family I wouldn't have another for several days.
Wreck It Ralph caught me off guard. The last few "Kids movies" we've seen, I have tuned out about half way through. I find myself on twitter or reading something usually because the story is not compelling enough, or the characters are not complex enough. I think it helps seeing it in the theater, less distractions. About the half way point I got up to get more popcorn. At this point I kind of felt like I was going to tune out. When I got back to my seat the story really picked up. Ralph had met this little girl and she suckered him into helping her. The promise for Ralph was that he would get a medal. The medal meant everything to Ralph. The medal would mean respect, and a change in life style.
The writers were quite clever. They not only had Ralph believe this about the medal, but they had everyone believe and affirm this about the medal. This is where I almost tuned out. The tension was just ridiculous. "It's not about a stupid medal people!!" I'm screaming in my head. The pacing of the movie was perfect. Because just when I was ready to discount the film I see the main character screaming back with furious passion "I don't care about the medal! I care about you!" Now, he didn't say these exact words but his actions and dialog amounted to this.
Then I bawled like a baby. . . It's no secret I cry in movies. I feel like a movie is an emotional roller coaster. If it can't make me laugh and cry it's a waste of money. For you tough guys out there: "Not crying in a movie is like not feeling pride, excitement, and fear when killing a deer." I know some guy out there is saying I don't feel nothin! Then what is that stupid opey grin on your face in that picture with the rack? Why is there a picture at all? My point is, a big part of hunting and playing sports is the feelings attached to them. Ralph believed all his emotional needs would be met in this medal. What he learned was that his deepest emotional need was to sacrifice himself for the good of another.
His motivation for doing this was love. Ralph only loved himself until he was first loved by the little girl Vanellope. She had given him a home made medal thanking him for helping her build a cart so she could achieve her dream of winning the big race. Vanellope was a glitch. That is she was not supposed to be in the game. She glitches in and out disappearing and reappearing all the time. She was just "extra code" with unclear purpose. Toward the end of the story Ralph catches a glimpse of the outside cabinet of the Sugar Rush video game where Vanellope lives. He sees a picture of her on the side of the game. He then knows that she belongs in that world. She is not a glitch. She is the real thing.
In the end it is the love that Vanellope first gave to Ralph that unlocks Ralph's true destiny. It is the love that Ralph feels toward Vanellope that propels him to sacrifice himself for Vanellope. It is Vanellope's glitch that allows her to save Ralph.
I can't help but see the spiritual implications. Like Ralph we often only care only for ourselves. We seek the medal of respect, adoration, and lifestyle. We mistakenly believe that our job, marriage, accolades, or achievements will fulfill our inner needs. The world around us is all too willing to promote these ideas. Then we meet a glitch. Something that doesn't fit. Jesus is the glitch. He loves us while we're still selfish. He loves us first. This love wrecks us. It resonates so deeply that we know its not a glitch. The world around us is deceived. This love from God unlocks our destiny to sacrifice ourselves. To love like God loves. To give up our ambition, and our control because the relationship with Jesus matters more. It is only in this that our deepest needs are met because Jesus saves us.
The reason Wreck it Ralph resonates so deeply is because its your story. It's the story you wish were true about you. It can be true about you.
How does this story resonate with you? I'd love to hear your take in the comments.