For Wreck-It Ralph, life is boring. He wakes up every morning to the same thing. He wrecks a building, watches at Fix-It Felix Jr. repairs his damage, and is then tossed off the top of said newly repaired building by the citizens of Niceland, who give Felix pie in return for his repairs. After a long day of being tossed off buildings, Ralph retires to a nearby garbage dump where all the trash and debris from his rampage is placed, and falls asleep under a pile of bricks. Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? This is how the story of Wreck-It Ralph begins.
In the first few moments of the movie, we are introduced to two of the main characters, Ralph and Felix. Ralph is dissatisfied with his role as a video game villain, and despite his complaints at a Bad-Anon meeting, he is told that being bad doesn’t make him bad, that’s just who he is programmed to be. After a series of events, Ralph decides to break his role as villain and go gamehopping in search of a medal to win, thinking it will win him the respect he deserves. This only serves to send fear throughout Game Central Station, as it’s inhabitants worry that Ralph has gone “turbo” or rogue. What ensues over the next hour or so is a story of adventure, triumph, and learning to be ok with who you are.
From beginning to end, Wreck-It Ralph is a joy. This was a movie that I’d been anticipating for a long time, ever since the first trailer was released. Throughout the movie, the attention that was give to details will make even the coldest of classic video game nerds’ hearts melt. In wide shots, multiple retro characters can be seen from such games as Dig Dug, Q-bert, and others. Graffiti on the walls reveals the names Sheng Long and Jenkins in one scene. In another, Ralph sorts through the lost and found only to find a power up mushroom, the red exclamation point from Metal Gear Solid (along with alert sound), and Zangief’s missing trunks. For the gamers in the crowd, there’s a lot to notice, and a lot to keep you looking in what will most assuredly become repeated viewings.
Not only does the movie not disappoint with gamer in jokes, visually, it’s a treat. From the dark, bleak apocalypse of Hero’s Duty to the sticky sweet view of Sugar Rush, each game is rendered in crisp, unforgettable way. The attention to detail here is also apparent as enemies explode with point values over their heads, suits of armor glow and spark, and cars race by with transparent suckers for wheels. It never feels crowded, and it’s never overloading. The movie does a great job of keeping each game world to itself but still fitting the main characters in.
The voice cast is, in a word, impeccable. John C. Reilly does a terrific job as Ralph, the villain turned lovable hero. Sarah Silverman, who I typically don’t find the least bit amusing, was absolutely PERFECT as Vanellope Von Schweetz, the glitched out would be racer in Sugar Rush. Of course, I would be remiss to not mention Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer, who also turn in pretty unforgettable performances as Sergeant Calhoun and Fix-It Felix Jr., respectively. Overall, most of the charm of the movie is due to the care put into the voice acting, as well as the writing. The script is fantastic, staying away from the trite and keeping you interested to the end.
In my opinion, you NEED to go see this movie. In fact, a lot of other reviewers agree with me. The movie is getting pretty favorable reviews from around the world, and it seems that Disney has another hit on it’s hands. More importantly, the theme of learning to love yourself no matter what your lot in life is an important one, a lesson I want my own children to learn early and hold onto tightly. Thankfully, due to the characters that are fleshed out so thoroughly, it shouldn’t be hard to get the point.
So, what are you waiting for?! Get up, get to the theater right now, and prepare for a great night at the movies. I give Wreck-It Ralph two hamfist-size thumbs up!