Opening this weekend from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy winning director Rich Moore comes Wreck-It Ralph, a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping adventure. For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.
On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time?
When the trailer first dropped for Wreck-It Ralph I was pumped to see the movie. It looked like everything I loved about video games and retro filmmaking. As much as some people hated Super 8 because they felt it ripped off E.T., I loved it because it felt like an homage to my youth and so didn’t this. Wreck-It Ralph references a ton of video games of my childhood from Pac-Man to Frogger to Q-Bert with a great mix of games from today that both adults and kids play like the fighting first-person military games to all the crazy dancing games at the arcade.
And that’s one of the reasons the film works. The movie is retro yet relevant. You know retro, as the film says “Old, but cool.” There’s a ton of stuff in it that parents will totally like while the kids love it too. Adults will watch trying to name all the arcade/video game classics as the youngsters cheer on Ralph and Vanellope. Parents over age 30 will actually have a good time with their kids under 10 at the same movie. And you don’t have to be a parent to enjoy it. I don’t have kids and I totally enjoyed the film.
Another reason the film works is because of the cast. I’m a HUGE John C. Reilly fan. I love him in almost everything and even if a movie stinks, he’s usually great in it. You very easily root for his Ralph and his voice plays up the bad guy who wants to be the hero. You clearly know it’s Reilly’s voice, but I’m ok with that. He just has that voice that is great as a character or as a voiceover telling us the story. Same with Jack McBrayer. You can clearly tell it’s the 30 Rock star and Fix-It Felix might be eerily similar to Kenneth Parcell, but considering I like that show, I’m cool with that too. Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman handle their characters with grit and charm respectively and there are some great supporting voices by “President” Dennis Haysbert, Joe Lo Truglio and Adam Carolla. But the man who steals the film and shocked, SHOCKED us at the screening was Alan Tudyk. All film long I couldn’t tell who King Candy was. Those sitting next to me couldn’t figure it out either and once the credits rolled and showed Alan Tudyk, we exploded. I want to see the film again knowing it’s Alan Tudyk.
The animation of the film is pretty cool too. It has parts of total high definition CGI (which it also mocks when Felix is looking at Lynch’s Calhoun), but it also has the old school look of classic animation and video games. The video game characters from long ago, look like they did long ago. The in your face high quality characters of today’s HD games look perfect in HD. I saw it in 3D which was ok, but then again I’m not the biggest fan of 3D films, but I know people who love them.
Wreck-It Ralph is the perfect film for this time of year. It’s a great family film that gets us into the holiday spirit without being Christmas or holiday themed. I hope it does well (and it should) because I want to see a sequel. Honestly, I really hope a sequel gets greenlit by Saturday morning. I’m not sure what type of story you could come up with, but someone should come up with it ASAP. Even with high expectations going into it, Wreck-It Ralph was really good. I would watch it again soon and will definitely add it to my DVD collection when it hits DVD. Bring the family this weekend.
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