Wreck-It Ralph (Released in the USA 11/2/12; released in the UK 8/2/13)
Wreck-It Ralph (Reilly) is the “bad guy” from a fictional arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr., he smashes up the building then Felix (McBrayer) has to repair it while Ralph throws bricks at him. Together with numerous other arcade machines they are found in a video game arcade where the characters of each game can travel between their game and others via the power cables and a train through Game Central station.
Ralph gets teased by the “Nicelanders”, the good characters in his video game and lives in the dump while the other characters live in the Penthouse of the building the game is set on. He dreams of winning himself a medal to prove that he can be a “good guy”, so sets out into the world of “Hero’s Duty” to try and earn himself one. In the end he gets stuck in a racing game called “Sugar Rush” and has to help a glitch called Vanellope (Silverman) to win the race.
Wreck-It Ralph – John C. Reilly (Step Brothers; Talladega Nights; Gangs of New York)
Vanellope von Schweetz – Sarah Silverman (Futurama: Bender’s Big Score; TV’s The Sarah Silverman Program)
Fix-It Felix Jr. – Jack McBrayer (TV’s 30 Rock; Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Talladega Nights)
King Candy – Alan Tudyk (TV’s Suburgatory; the Ice Age series; Tucker and Dale vs. Evil)
Directed and written by Rich Moore (Futurama; The Simpsons)
Other writing credits by Phil Johnston (Cedar Rapids), Jim Reardon (Wall E) and Jennifer Lee (debut)
What Did I Think of the Film?
This is quite a difficult film to describe as it really isn’t what I would consider as a Disney film. It doesn’t have the musical soundtrack or the anthropomorphised animals that they have been so famous for over the years. It’s more of a grown up cartoon, if that makes any sense?
Luckily we have a writer and director (Moore) who is best known for his work on cartoons aimed more at young adults such as Futurama and The Simpsons, so he knows how to make a more intellectually advanced cartoon whilst still being able to put in a few jokes that the kids will find hilarious. You can’t beat an old-fashioned “duty” joke, can you?
The main thing to note about Wreck-It Ralph is the number of references to old arcade style games like Q*Bert, House of the Dead and Sonic the Hedgehog. It makes for a very enjoyable feature which runs close to two hours. There is one scene where Ralph is at a get-together in the style of an AA meeting for computer game “bad guys”; I nearly marked out when Zangief, M. Bison and a zombie from House of the Dead turned up along with Bowser, Clyde (ghost from Pac-Man) and Dr. Robotnik (screw you Sega, I ain’t calling him Dr. Eggman!).
Over the course of Wreck-It Ralph we get a blossoming friendship between Ralph and Vanellope (a glitch in the game Sugar Rush) as they start off fighting over the medal won by Ralph in Hero’s Duty, but end up working together to try and let Vanellope win the race against all the odds. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman work together wonderfully to get this unexpected relationship to work and help to create a sense of familiarity with two previously unknown characters, and work well to battle the greater evil of jealousy which is the underlying theme of the story! Ralph wants to be something which he is not and is determined to earn himself a medal at all costs, the film shows that sometimes we should be happy being who we are without looking at others with envy because they have more than us.
Another thing that I must say, as I normally can’t stand 3D, is that Disney are the masters of the medium. Every since I first visited DisneyWorld in 1992 they have mastered its use, this is one of the few films I have seen that the extra money for the feature was worth it; the others being the re-release of The Lion King and Brave.
Go and see this film if you are a big fan of arcade games from the 1980s, there are plenty of great references which will amuse even those less familiar with the likes of Pac-Man and Street Fighter. It’s very colourful and energy packed so will definitely keep the kids entertained!
I also liked the use of the Konami code, it won’t mean much if you aren’t a gamer, or are a Sega fanboy but it is great reference to the old Nintendo Entertainment System of the late 1980s!
Don’t bother if you can’t stand gaming it probably won’t have much to capture your attention; certainly not in the first part of the film. You don’t need to be a big fan of computer games to enjoy it, but it really does help!
8/10 – The film itself is a bit of a slow burner, it takes a while to get interesting but once it does it is pure gold. The relationship between Silverman and Reilly’s characters grows very quickly to make them a marvellous comedy partnership by the end of the 52nd animated Disney feature.
The preceding short cartoon
Before the feature, as is now common place with animated films, we get a little short called Paperman which has no speech and only a slight background track. A man meets a girl at the train station when a contract he is carrying gets blown by the wind into her face leaving a lipstick mark on it. He spends the rest of the short trying to throw paper aeroplanes out of his office window to get her attention. It’s really not worth mentioning any more as I was bored throughout, I’m sure that with a script it may have been more entertaining but it really isn’t of the standard I’d expect from a piece of Disney animation.
Alan Redman – @Every1LuvsPingu