Review: 'Wreck-it Ralph' smashes the competition Special

Posted Nov 1, 2012 by Sarah Gopaul
‘Wreck-it Ralph’ is about a video game character who is tired of being the bad guy so he sets out to prove that even he can be the hero sometimes.
Disney Animation
Whether on a home system or at the arcade, people have fond memories of playing video games. There's even favorites between the two - the home version of Street Fighter doesn't hold a candle to the stand-up arcade game. Dedicated arcades are a bit of a novelty now, but that doesn't stop Disney from tapping into that nostalgia with their latest, Wreck-it Ralph.
Ralph (John C. Reilly) is his game's villain. He demolishes the apartment building and Fix-it Felix (Jack McBrayer) repairs it to the delight of its residents who reward him with a gold medal. But when the arcade closes and all the game characters call it a night, Ralph is still treated like the bad guy. When the mayor suggests things might change if Ralph did something to earn a medal, he sets out to do just that. But game jumping has consequences and Ralph gets tangled up in a mess of them.
This film follows the same concept of toys coming to life when you leave the room or go to sleep. In a sense, it's like any job: you put in the hours and clock out for the night. All the video game characters can interact via a central hub. This is also the place out-of-work game characters, like Q-Bert, go when they've been "unplugged." Once a week other bad guys meet for a support group, “Bad-Anon”, including one of Pac-Man's ghosts and Zangief from Street Fighter. "I’m bad and that’s good. I will never be good and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”
There are a lot of recognizable characters and those included were chosen from the classics pile. On the generic front, Hero's Duty is your basic first-person shooter game in which the player joins a team of commandos, led by sexy Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), to fend off quick-multiplying bugs. Ralph then spends a dangerous amount of time in Sugar Rush, a Mario Kart-style racing game in which something isn't quite right.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the characters, the story is accessible. Ralph’s feelings of being underappreciated are easy to relate to and the support group is a fun way to voice his frustrations outside of the narration. Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) walks the line of sweet and annoying, but she eventually grows on the audience just as she does Ralph. Similarly, Felix is a character that becomes more interesting with time.
Filmmakers do a good job in developing this imaginary world while anchoring it in the real one. The characters travel via electrical wiring and only view the outside world through the glass of their game. As a result the pop culture references are restricted to the gaming world, keeping it true to the story.
The gamer in you will thank you later.
Director: Rich Moore
Starring: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch