Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph
By Daniel Daw
With recent Disney films being on a decline and the track record of previous video game-turned-movie failures (Silent Hill: Revelations, anyone?), Wreck-It Ralph is a refreshing boost to both. This film is very charming with humor aimed for both children and adults and more video game references than there are Pokemon.
The film follows Ralph (John C. Reilly), a villain from the fictional arcade called Fix-It Felix Jr. After being severely mistreated by the hero, Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) and other supporting characters, Ralph decides to leave his game and tries to earn a hero’s medal from another game in the arcade. In doing this, he ends up in the first-person shooter Hero’s Duty — here he encounters the no-nonsense Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) and Sugar Rush, a Candyland meets Mario Kart racing game where he meets the glitch character Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). Things go sour as this puts some of the games in the arcade in danger of being unplugged, which is equivalent to dying.
Video game players from the first of the arcade age to present will be able to appreciate subtle references and the nostalgia that they will bring. One of the best parts was the Alcoholics Anonymous-style meetings with such villains as Bowser, Zangief and Major Bison from Street Fighter and Clyde from Pacman. It almost becomes a game within itself to find all of the different ones.
The voice cast was fantastic with this film. Being his first voice role, John C. Reilly was the perfect fit with Ralph and the way actors played off of each other was an excellent aspect, one that helped the jokes hit their mark. In the writing, it is obvious the script was written with these actors in mind because the dialogue fit too perfectly with each character. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman all do fantastic jobs with their particular characters.
The story is also very well-written. Funny overall, it also has some sad and even tense moments. The jokes are written so that children will laugh at most of them and adults will appreciate the more subtle jokes and one-liners that would likely go over the younger ones’ heads.
The animation was smooth and well done. The settings for each of the game worlds were vivid and very pleasing to the eye, between the dark and gritty Heroes Duty to the almost disgustingly cute candy-filled world of Sugar Rush.
It is refreshing to see a movie incorporate video games into movies and do so in a way actually enhancing what is going on, instead of making it highly commercialized. Wreck-It Ralph is an entertaining film and one to be appreciated be people of all ages.