Review: Wreck-It Ralph

Walt Disney Pictures: (L-r) Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, John C. Reilly and Jane Lynch in "Wreck-It RalphAll around the world, the arcade serves as a meeting place for people to hang out and have fun, whether it’s with friends, family or simply finding time to yourself. It can be fun going to the arcade, and you even have a chance to break some records if you’re good enough and you have enough time waste. Regardless if you win or lose, you’ll probably feel satisfied after spending a day enjoying yourself. That’s normal for people who frequent arcades, but according to Wreck-It Ralph, the end of our day is only the beginning of the day for the guys left behind when the doors are closed for business that day.

Behind the screens and joysticks lies a thriving metropolis that serves as a haven for the video game community. When everyone goes home and the lights go out, the in-game characters come to life. Each of these video game characters live within their own specific arcade game that they were created for, but they also have the ability to travel to other games if they choose to.There’s a lot of land to travel and a few rules to follow, with the most important rules being getting back to your game in time for the next day, not game jumping permanently and understanding your role in this world.

When it comes to the arcade world, there seems to be a line drawn between the haves and the have-nots. In this instance, it should be called the good guys and the bad guys. The heroes of this world, like Ralph’s adversary Fix it Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer), are beloved and celebrated among their peers. The bad guys on the other hand are cast aside and don’t get much love from anyone. They’re the outcast, don’t feel appreciated and some of them are having a difficult time coping with their position in life.

For those villains who feel this way, they have some place to go. They go to counseling in order to seek help and learn to accept themselves. That’s where we find Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly). Along with the likes of M. Bison from Street Fighter, Doctor Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog and Kano from Mortal Kombat, Ralph is able to express himself and his desires, but he’s not like the others in some respects. Despite being on the wrong side of the law for thirty years, he has his heart set on being a good guy and getting some of the perks that come along with it. Being a bad guy is his job, but he doesn’t believe that’s who he is.

So with that attitude firmly implanted into his mind, Ralph sets out to prove that he can be just as good as his in-game nemesis Fix-it Felix Jr. Over the course of his journey, he treks from one game to the next and runs into other video game characters along the way. Some of these guys can be classified as good guys, while others are simply bad.

One of the first people that he meets on his quest is Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). The gritty and hard-nosed soldier leads her squad to battle in the first-person shooter called Hero’s Duty. Seeing as how she’s played by Lynch, you shouldn’t be astonished at the fact that Calhoun is tough and has an attitude that screams all business. From the times I’ve seen her perform, these are the roles that Lynch usually gets, and she does them pretty well.

Another person that Ralph runs into is Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) a young and bratty little girl who happens to be a glitch in Sugar Rush, the racing game that she calls home. She’s a feisty kid who isn’t well liked or accepted by the people who exist in her world, but she has to make do with what she has as she continues to hang on to the big dreams that she has in-store for herself. She and Ralph have an adversarial relationship at first, but they soon become friends.

It’s clear going in that Ralph doesn’t get through this journey without some bumps along the way. He also meets a few more interesting characters that can help him complete his goals or destroy them. Much of the fun in Wreck-It Ralph comes from that and his journey overall. There’s a large amount of entertainment value in this animated film for people of all ages.

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’ll have to say that it’s something that I’d gladly watch again. Wreck-It Ralph is not the usual kids movie. It has multi-layered characters and a good story with twists and turns that make everything more interesting than I could have originally imagined. Because of all of those things and the nice little cameos from so many video game characters that I grew up with, Wreck-It Ralph is just and all around fun movie and it’s also the best animated movie I’ve seen in years.

One of the first things that I thought of when watching Wreck-It Ralph was its similarity to Toy Story. That animated film from Walt Disney Pictures was something special to me and many other people who enjoyed it. Both sets of main characters in these films are based in a world where humans find entertainment in one way or another, but the characters have lives of their own. The difference between the two is that Toy Story used action figures and dolls while Wreck-It Ralph uses video game characters.

Both of these films effectively use whatever they had at their disposal and they didn’t let anything go to waste. Having all of these animated films being as good as they are is amazing to me. In so many cases, we see some great characters surrounded by great stories. Whenever I see one of these, I always sit back and ask ” why is it that movies made with real people don’t seem to have this level of success as far as quality is concerned.” I don’t think I’ll ever be able to answer that, but I would love to see those movies with actual people be this good consistently. It would make going to the movies a whole lot easier.

Score: 4/5

Rating: PG

Director: Rich Moore

Cast:
John C. Reilly
Sarah Silverman
Jack McBrayer
Jane Lynch
Alan Tudyk
Dennis Haysbert
Adam Carolla
Horatio Sanz
Ed O’Neill

Film Length: 93 minutes

Release Date: November 2, 2012

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures