Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph 3D (2012)

4 stars for Wreck-It Ralph 3D

When a Bad Guy Wants to be Good

Walt Disney Studios does it again with a superb and imaginative animated movie that will join their roster of family classics. Wreck-It Ralph introduces us to an alternate universe where video game characters have a life beyond the limited interaction that human players see on the digital screen.

Ralph is a bad guy in a video game, who is tired of his one-dimensional role and yearns to be the good guy, like his counterpart Fix-It Felix, and receive some adulation. Since Ralph is not allowed by his video programming to be nothing but evil, he decides to take his fate in his own hands and goes on a quest to become a hero. He is warned however that if he dies outside his video game then he will cease to exist. The search leads him to put on a disguise and become a warrior in a shooting video game. Ralph's presence creates havoc and he unknowingly releases a virus that threatens the digital community. Meanwhile his absence from his video game causes consternation and the threat of being unplugged. Felix goes to find Ralph and runs into the tough-as-nails but attractive Sargeant Calhoun at the shooting video game. They team up; Felix to find Ralph and bring him back, Sargeant Calhoun to find and eradicate the deadly virus.

Ralph, in his continued quest for good guy recognition, finds himself sincerely helping Vanellope Von Schweetz, a bullied but feisty girl who wants to participate in a candy-coated cart race. She is often thwarted by King Candy, the monarch of the sugary community of a racing video game. As Ralph tries to help Vanellope, Felix and Sargeant Calhoun argue and part company, while the virus continues to spread. Soon, Ralph, Vanellope, Felix, and Sergeant Calhoun find themselves in trouble as they try to stop the virus from erasing the video game community. Ralph seizes the opportunity to become a hero but will it mean the end of him?

This movie is a fun and absorbing story that explores the possibility of the lives that video game characters lead when they are not at work helping video game players reach various levels and score points. It is very much like the premise in Disney's earlier animation, Monsters, Inc. in 2001 that explore the lives of monsters when they are not scaring children in their nightmares. The characters from the various video game machines form a digital community and remind you of characters of video games from days gone by. Remember Qbert? It tickles your fancy when you see the villains of various video games come together to form a support group.

This being Disney, the animation is of course, first rate and the 3D effects help the audience to suspend reality and gaze in pleasure at the video game world. The story is absorbing and the action moves along at such a pace that it requires the viewer's attention, otherwise you will miss out on some great lines. The main character, Ralph (voice from John C. Reilly), is a big man with massive fists that can cause destruction but is a sweet and thoughtful person underneath. His earnestness tugs at your heartstrings. Vanellope, with voice from Sarah Silverman, combines her feistiness with a vulnerability and a brash sense of humor that kids and adults find appealing. Sargeant Calhoun (voice from Jane Lynch of Glee) and Felix (voice from Jack McBrayer) provide a contrasting texture, not only as characters but also in their relationship.

Children will enjoy this movie of course, but adults will be unexpectedly delighted at how much they themselves will like it. The soundtrack to this movie is worth buying and complements the movie very well. There are a couple of well known hit songs but there are tracks that will be new to your ear and introduce you to electronica flavored tunes. When you get to the movie theater, just sit down and get ready to enjoy a masterful work.

Rated PG

101 Minutes

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