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The Simpsons: Deconstruction
As is usual for an episode of The Simpsons, our story begins in Springfield.
Bart Simpson wrote on the chalkboard "I will do something meaningful instead of writing a fic that celebrates an immortal show." As soon as the bell rang, he went out on his skateboard.
He bounced atop a pile of leaves Groundskeeper Willie was raking on his way, revealing Barney Gumble to be buried beneath the leaves.
We cut to the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, where Homer once again leaves with a carbon rod under his shirt.
Lisa Simpson is yet again kicked out of music class by Mr. Largo for deviating from the song the class was supposed to play. As usual, she blissfully walked down the halls while still playing her saxophone.
Marge drives home with Maggie playing with a toy steering wheel. Both of them honk their horns, which wakes up Grampa, who was also in the car.
Eventually, the entire family made it home.
Everyone sat on the couch and sighed, as if they had been doing hard grueling work this past 27
The movie opens with Vanellope giving a talk at Bad Anon about gamers deeming her as “cheap,” “broken,” and “overpowered,” along with banning her from tournaments. There’s also a rumor floating about that the game will be patched and she will lose her glitching ability. A little encouragement from Mewtwo sends her in a cheerier direction, and she returns to Sugar Rush feeling more confident.
In these opening scenes, we see more of the characters’ new routines at Litwak’s. Ralph has made friends with a version of himself from Wreck-It Ralph Jr., a game which features Ralph as the playable character and Felix as an antagonist. This Felix reflects the harsh attitude Ralph got at first in regards to Bad Guys, and when pointed out that he’s the Bad Guy of his own game, he simply replies that he’s the antagonist, but still the Good Guy.
Meanwhile, at Sugar Rush, Vanellope reunites with her new-old friends, and we get to see the true role Taffyta fulfills: the main character, and romantic lead for Vanellope. They patch up old ends and give each other a hug to make it better. And just in time for the Qualifying Race! As always, Vanellope, to gain a lead, uses her glitching to get ahead, but the instant she uses it to end up in first place and leave the others in the dust, feelings of doubt overcome her of her supposed cheapness. As a result, she starts driving the Wrong Way until she is Disqualified, letting out her frustrations to Taffyta post-race. The conversation about how she hears people talk about her as “broken” triggers a major response in Taffyta, recalling her time under King Candy’s influence. Taffyta tries to tell Vanellope her glitching is cool and unique, but Vanellope (understandably) has a hard time accepting this.
Meanwhile, Felix and Calhoun are getting to understand each other. One day on the job, Felix decides to watch Calhoun in action as another gamer plays. However, Calhoun finds that the nest of Cybugs is a trap, and she calls for the player to save themselves as she is overrun with Cybugs. Thankfully, the game ends just in time for the beacon to be lit, though Calhoun seems more disappointed in the “chicken soup player.” Felix is understandably scared, so Calhoun gives some information: She exists as an NPC for the tutorial level, then is killed by Cybugs to give the player motivation. Felix is horrified, but Calhoun says it’s “just part of the programming.”
The next day, as Vanellope gives her State of the Kingdom address, she announces her resignation and self-imposed exile from Sugar Rush. Taffyta is heartbroken, asking earnestly if the game can really go on without her, to which Vanellope says there’s plenty of other racers, so she’s not Going Turbo. Taffyta responds that there’s only one Vanellope, and begs her to stay, but Vanellope refuses, and leaves in sadness. Taffyta is determined to prove that Vanellope’s better than she thinks she is, and follows her to Game Central Station. Vanellope, in deciding a game to occupy, finds a strange device hooked up to the wall. She enters, and Taffyta sees the device become unplugged, fearing the worst. She runs to Calhoun and informs them of the situation, and Calhoun recognizes the device: a mobile phone plugged into the wall to charge.
Inside the phone, Vanellope meets Roxanne, a teenaged girl character from the fighting game Keen Will. Roxanne immediately recognizes her as Princess Vanellope, to which Vanellope is surprised. She’s naturally confused as to why they’re not all vaporized since the cord is unplugged, to which Roxanne replies that it’s wireless and does not shut down when unplugged like an arcade machine. Since the phone is in transit, Roxanne agrees to show Vanellope the world awaiting her, because the owner is a gamer, too!
Calhoun details a strategy to Felix, Ralph and Taffyta: Taffyta will stay on watch at Game Central Station to look for a device capable of Wi-Fi, which, when found, Felix, Ralph, Calhoun and her will use to send an e-mail to the phone that has Vanellope on it, assuming it to be a regular member of the arcade. After the plan is put in play to resume their positions until a suitable device is found, Calhoun returns to Hero’s Duty. However, in the segment where Calhoun is overtaken, a midget in mismatched armor saves her. Once the camera leaves, Calhoun immediately recognizes it as Felix, shouting at him that he could’ve gotten himself killed and shouldn’t try to save her because she can handle herself.
Of course, while this is happening, Felix is a no-show during Fix-It Felix Jr., and Wreck-It Ralph Jr.’s Felix is unwilling to help take over. A player comes to the stand and begins the game, tension rising as Ralph goes through the opening sequence. However, as time passes, Felix grows increasingly late, causing Ralph to destroy more of the building than usual. Just when he grows closer to the bottom, Felix shows up to save them. The two pass this off as “Hard Mode” and promise bonus points.
Vanellope soon finds herself in the house of the boy who owns the mobile phone. As customary, Roxanne decides to show her around, introducing her to an all-new cast of characters: Sho-Ten, a kung fu master from the same game as Roxanne; Yukari, a girl from a Japanese dating sim who only speaks subtitled Japanese; and TX-139, a robotic soldier of an M-Rated First Person Shooter who looks down on anything less than that, and even Yukari because she’s “too cute for an M-Rated game.” Roxanne shows Vanellope where she got her history: Sugar Rush was originally a platform game starring Taffyta who in every game has the objective of rescuing Princess Vanellope from the evil Brock Sourstuff, a cockney thug with a broccoli motif. Naturally, Vanellope is taken back by her “true” self, wondering if that’s what she’s “supposed to be” instead of who she is.
The trip for the Rescue Mission lands the three on a portable game system that, while not a perfect match for a mobile phone, also happens to have Wi-Fi. The downside is that it cannot multitask and is stuck playing a single game at a time. And the game in question happens to be a survival horror called Red Eyes, which places the rescue team in a situation where, along with the weak female player character who Calhoun takes an immediate disliking to, they must survive the monstrous slasher monster called The Exterminator. Only this time, the rescue party is all in danger of permanent death.
Along her way in the Wi-Fi Terminal of the house, Vanellope is captured by Brock, who she quickly eludes with her glitching and tough exterior. Brock reveals his true nature to Vanellope: like Ralph, he is a video game villain forced into a bad situation because of who he is. He is also refined and cultured, a proponent of video games as art. He takes a liking to Vanellope for breaking her intended role and offers to show her the Personal Computer.
At Red Eyes, the rescue team come up with a plan to stop the Exterminator: wait until Game Over, then attack the Exterminator with everything they have. But when Game Over does come, the Exterminator turns out to have a nearly-impenetrable hide, courtesy of being designed with no hurtbox as an object to be avoided. They get their chance when they find themselves plugged in a wall, which they can use to interface with a computer with e-mail. Encrypting the data of regular customers of Litwack’s as part of the address book, they, with Taffyta’s help, deduce the address of the phone that took Vanellope and send a file transfer of their source code via e-mail. But the Exterminator is right on their trail and is determined to see them deleted.
Back at Litwack’s, a problem comes up when a professional gamer steps up to play Fix-It Felix Jr. Ralph Jr.’s Felix is worried that the game will be put out of order, but their Ralph has faith. He hired replacements for the missing characters, the best in the industry. Indeed, Donkey Kong has replaced Felix Jr.’s Ralph and Mario has replaced their Felix. Naturally, the pro gamer is overjoyed and continues his perfect run. In an aside, we see the replacement for Calhoun: Samus Aran, who deliberately fares better against the Cybugs. (“I’ve waited 19 years to get some action, now it’s payback time!”)
Brock takes Vanellope to the Personal Computer while the owner is browsing the internet. They learn that the computer also allows multitasking and explores the games contained within. They find a game that offers a non-linear gameplay path, a game that relies on baiting the player to deliver the expected response, a game that deconstructs an aspect of video games, and a game with a lot of costumes for Vanellope to wear, even more with mod support.
However, in their exploration, they come across a bladed monster that resembles garbage code; the owner had not been taking care of where he was downloading his files and has unleashed a horde of computer viruses! The viruses erode data, taking parts of their source code and deleting it bit by bit. Vanellope stands up to them, but is instantly swatted aside by one of them. That’s the cue for Roxanne, Sho-Ten, Yukari and TX to show up and try to deal with them themselves. It doesn’t work terribly well; their coding being in a language the viruses know leads them to suffer bruises with each hit, with Sho-Ten being completely dissolved by a virus disassembling his code and TX’s weapons having no impact, the shells being dissolved themselves.
At that point, the rescue team arrives, ready to save Vanellope. Each of them have an immunity to the viruses, from Ralph and Felix’s ancient coding being unrecognized, or making use of Tobikomi’s patented security in their coding for Taffyta and Calhoun. This is also the reason why Vanellope isn’t eroding and why Brock is unaffected: they’re using that security antibody system.
With all that done, happy reunions are in order for Ralph, Taffyta and Vanellope. But when Taffyta poses the question of coming back home, Vanellope cheerfully replies that she doesn’t want to leave this house since she has everything she ever wanted. As Ralph and Taffyta try and give reasons to come back, Vanellope gets more and more stressed, glitching out a shout, then going to sit in a corner. Brock explains the situation to the two, since they’re both arcade characters from older eras: After the release of Wreck-It Ralph Jr. in 1986, Ralph makes a big breakthrough in the 90’s with a modern look on the Super NES. And in this incarnation, Ralph is a hero, and part of his own dedicated franchise and the Fix-It Felix line. In essence, Ralph changes in the public’s eye from a Bad Guy to a Good Guy.
Vanellope, however, is a princess in the mold of Peach or Zelda. In nearly every game she’s in, her function is the same: get kidnapped by the latest produce-based villain of the game, have Taffyta save her, they kiss. The game this Vanellope comes from is part of the Sweetway series of racing games, but she remains the regal princess. Something or another has altered our Vanellope’s personality into a tomboyish one, and people do not like Princess Vanellope or the broken Vanellope of Litwack’s.
Ultimately, Vanellope wants to forge a new life for herself, free of her past and restrictions. She wants to give platforming a try. And Brock wants to help her along the way, also broken free of his typical personality. He asks a final choice for Ralph: Either Brock goes with them, or Vanellope stays at the house. And because Ralph knows having Brock leave his game would be too risky, given that he knows the all-too-important role of the Bad Guy, Ralph agrees to let her stay. Taffyta elects to stay behind, giving a declaration of love to Vanellope. With that, Ralph says his goodbyes, the rescue squad aborts the mission, and they board the e-mail train to the sound of the Colonel’s “Turn the game console off right now” dialogue from Metal Gear Solid 2 in the background.
The silence is short-lived, though, because the Exterminator has appeared, recognizing Taffyta. Vanellope identifies the creature as having no hitbox, but can also tell that he follows routine patterns as an enemy AI. Thus the two trick him into a pattern loop, and use it to get away. However, with the target no longer in radius, the Exterminator follows the former rescue team on the e-mail train to Litwack’s.
Wanting to start fresh, Brock comes up with an idea: it’s a regular game of Sugar Rush, only this time, Taffyta’s the princess, and Vanellope’s the hero to the rescue. She’s not quite used to platforming, but figures the shortest path between her and a high ledge is up, so she glitches to get up there. However, a searing pain comes over her, and she lands flat on her face. Looking at her foot, she realizes it’s eroding, and a quick look at her code reveals that the virus that hit her earlier has infected her. She begs Brock for help, to which Brock replies that perhaps her old friends, being immune to the viruses, can help her, so their group takes the e-mail train to Litwack’s.
While Ralph laments that he’ll miss the cute girl on the side of the machine, Vanellope shows up, missing a leg after having glitched past Surge Protector, revealing the damage increases every time she glitches. She begins begging Ralph to help her, but can’t put the words out as to what’s wrong. There’s no time to react, though: the Exterminator is in Game Central Station and has plenty of targets! However, something purple and garbagey starts coming out of her leg wound, and the hitbox-less Exterminator is deleted by a virus. Out her wounds come a whole swarm of viruses, infecting and deleting everything in their path.
Naturally, Ralph is upset that Vanellope brought viruses into Game Central Station, but Vanellope claims that it was Brock’s idea to come in the first place. As he’s calling her out for following his advice and asking why would he even suggest that, he gets suspicious that maybe Brock isn’t telling the whole truth. And Brock’s response?
“It’s a wonderful story, isn’t it? The player character blindly follows orders by a person they’ve just met, only to find out by the end of the story they’ve done the villain’s work for him!”
Brock is not who he says he is, and takes the form of a garbage-text man with a humanoid figure and blades. Calhoun immediately spots it: “Brock” is actually a Trojan Virus posing as a harmless file to let loose a horde of viruses. The Trojan continues: he gained notoriety in the human world as The Love Bug, having corrupted several computers, bricked several consoles, and caused the shutdowns of several arcades. And these characters didn’t know anything about it because they don’t have Wi-Fi, thus no access to internet news.
Vanellope, even in her weakened state, says she’ll take care of him and tells the rest to stop the viruses. Felix comes up with the idea for all the game characters to send a message to Litwack to run anti-virus software on the server. In the meantime, the characters of Game Central Station hold off the viruses in ways appropriate to their games.
Vanellope tries to use her glitch to infect Love Bug, but all it does is take off her other leg. After all, he’s already a collection of viruses in humanoid form; what more is another? She tries to sic Surge Protector on him, but he leaves the two be. She plans to get him into the plugged-in laptop and trap him on it when it runs out of battery power, but he simply thanks her for giving him another computer to infect.
As the raid continues, Calhoun finds herself in a situation where she is overwealmed by viruses, as in the tutorial, and Felix cannot save her. However, Calhoun handles things expertly, showing no quarter and tearing through all the ones who face her. When asked how, Calhoun says that just because she dies in her game’s cutscene doesn’t mean she will when the stakes are serious. Felix responds thusly: “You really are a dynamite gal!”
Vanellope’s next plan is to disassemble Love Bug’s code from the source. However, though she remembers the Konami Code, the source code requires a letter password she does not know. Realizing she needs to settle the gap, she performs her biggest glitch yet to escape the laptop as anti-virus software runs, after the rest of the viruses were forced in by the denizens of Game Central Station. That’s because she sent a message to the owner of the laptop to run anti-virus, which quickly dissolves all the viruses.
Unfortunately, that glitch reduced Vanellope to just a glitchy body and head, which seems to be eroding on its own. She asks Ralph for one last favor: take her to Sugar Rush and give her a proper funeral before her source code is deleted. Indeed, her friends attend, including her newly made ones from her adventure. Calhoun and TX even assemble the Hero’s Duty soldiers to do a 20 gun salute.
However, when the body disappears, she soon comes back to life shortly thereafter: she deliberately died inside her own game so she could come back normally. Not only that, she also feels the effects of the patch, which actually balance her teleporting competitively, turning it from a bug into a feature; she even gets a dedicated VFX for it! With that, the two houses say their goodbyes: Roxanne and Vanellope bid farewell, Yukari says to Taffyta that one day she’ll share some scenes from the Japanese version of the Sugar Rush franchise that were changed in localization. TX compliments Calhoun on doing a good job for a T-rated game, then asks if she’s doing anything tonight. Pointing to Felix, she says “Why yes I am.”
The Felix from Wreck-It Ralph Jr. comments that Ralph did well, and he shouldn’t have doubted him. Filled with guilt, a feeling he’s never had and doesn’t like, Ralph recommends Bad Anon to him. The end shows the lives of the characters while Felix tells his tale of how he learned that just because someone plays a part it doesn’t define who they really are. And at the end, a Keen Will cabinet is installed at Litwack’s, meaning Roxanne and Sho-Ten can come back.
In an epilogue, the owner of the handheld console tries playing Red Eyes, but the player character is frustrated when the Exterminator doesn’t show up, so she crashes it and lists the missing files in the error report. This prompts the owner to download the files online. The next time he plays, the Exterminator’s music is replaced by silence, which the Exterminator fills by singing the Mario theme slowly in a minor key. He then stares at the screen and says in Love Bug’s voice, “Miss me?”
The main theme behind this one was something around the idea of presenting a sequel to the original, using a lot of the tropes of the original while taking them in new directions. The name of the game is "foreshadowing", and that's prevalent throughout most of the experience. For instance, the art games Brock shows hint at aspects of his personality: the game where the player is baited to follow destructive orders is a reference to his MO, while the costume selection is a reference to his ability to disguise himself being a Trojan Virus.
I feel that a lot of the ideas I present in this are rather Assembly Line. Heck, I could probably do an ALT on this sequel idea and get a "The Assembly Line Strikes Again" message on it. If this writing experiment proves one thing, it's that trying to come up with a good Disney movie is usually very hard. Perhaps the problem is that people are trying to copy the Disney formula while not developing an individual identity? I dunno. In any case, these windows are letting in a lot of air in this glass house.
One more thing: the relationship between Taffyta and Vanellope would simply be portrayed as a normal thing. That it'd follow the same ideas as a heterosexual relationship, only with a homosexual relationship. I was tired of a lot of movies relying on homosexual relationships portraying them as victims, so I did this one to show the relationship can be just as valid as a heterosexual one.
So, that's my take on an WIR sequel. I give it a 6/10. Because I'm a stingy bastard.
Current Residence: Washington
Favourite genre of music: Soundtrack
Favourite style of art: Anime
Operating System: Windows XP
MP3 player of choice: Windows Media Player
Wallpaper of choice: 3050 Upgrade cover
Favourite cartoon character: Vegeta
Personal Quote: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if you disagree you are not a true fan.