A Movie Review on Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
When I first saw the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph I was completely blown away by how awesome this movie looked. A movie taking us into the world of the video game characters that many of us know so well, giving us a "behind the screen" look. Well, I couldn't have been more excited. It's a kids movie for adults. By this I mean that while the movie is tonally for kids as you can see by its PG rating, but young kids these days will not recognize many of the characters in the movie, or understand some of the advanced concepts such as "glitches" or "game code". For adults, and some older teenagers, this movie is a trip back into the late 70's straight through to the early 90's when the characters you see in the movie were a part of our lives. Not many young kids today know who Sonic, Dr. Robotnik, Kano, and Ryu are. It's a sad reality since the games they play today would not be here if it were not for these characters paving the way for video games. I absolutely loved this film. It brought me a great sense of nostalgia, and a really good story and message to tell.
The movie follows the character Wreck-It Ralph, who is the main villain of the game Fix-It Felix. After Litwak's Arcade closes the characters of the game, including Fix-It Felix, retire into their homes, while Ralph is forced to live in the dump among a mountainous pile of bricks. He envy's all the love and attention that Fix-It Felix gets, and wants some recognition besides just being considered a bad-guy. Ralph wants to leave his bad-guy persona behind and become a good-guy; a hero. He game jumps into a new game, Hero's Duty, where he hopes finally become a good-guy but things do not go how he plans. He wrecks everything, and unleashes something that puts the whole arcade and all its games in Jeopardy.
I absolutely loved the fact that "behind the screen" of the arcade games there is an entire world built for the game characters. They travel from their respective games via the electrical cord which is plugged into a power strip. All the arcade games are plug into this power strip, which serves as Game Central Station where all the game characters can interact with each other. Characters from one game can visit characters from another game, but they must be in their game and ready to go when the "quarter alert" sounds.
The biggest draw for some movie-goers is the amount of video game cameos there are in this movie. It's what initially got me interesting in seeing this film. We see Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog, Kano from Mortal Kombat, Ryu from Street Fighter, Pacman from Pacman, and many, many others. We also get some other Easter eggs as well such as the exclamation point from Metal Gear Solid. Some of the places in the movie are quite familiar for some of us. Hero's Duty is a Halo/Starship Troopers mash up with the name being a rip off of Call of Duty while Sugar Rush is like Mario Cart meets Candyland. It's really quite a shame we didn't see other characters such as Mario and Luigi who would have fit perfectly into this movie. We got Bowser, and even a quick glimpse of Toad so those two should have made at least a fleeting cameo.
Aside from all the great cameos and retro gaming nostalgia this movie features a great story as well. The idea of Ralph hating who he is, and wanting to be something different is a theme that many people deal with on a day-to-day basis. The movie sends along the message that we should be proud of who we are, and that even the "bad-guy" can be a hero. It's okay to be different, and we shouldn't wish to be something else, but proud of who we are. There is a slight message of bullying in there as well when Venellope, a little girl Ralph meets in Sugar Rush, is bullied by others for being a "glitch". She proves that even a "glitch" can be something great. The story really leaves you with a feel-good feeling when the credits hit.
The voice actors do a great job, and completely fit the looks of the characters. John C. Reilly is wonderful as Ralph, and I was surprised to learn that Sarah Silverman was the voice of Venellope. Jane Lynch voices the tough-as-nails leader of Hero's Duty, Calhoun, and even share a big resemblance with her. I'm sure they based the animation of Calhoun off Lynch. Rich Moore makes his feature film debut as the director of Wreck-It Ralph, and obviously has a great career ahead of him doing feature film animations.
Overall I thought Wreck-It Ralph was a fantastic animated film offering ton of retro gaming nostalgia as well as offering a great story to go along with it. Although it is essentially a children's film, this movie will appeal more to adults who are familiar with the old arcade games of the 70's, 80's and 90's as well as those familiar with the early consoles of the 90's. Younger kids might not get a lot of what the film talks about especially when it comes to code and glitches, and much of the cameos and Easter eggs will go right over their heads, but the movie provides plenty of entertainment of all age groups. This will easily go down as a classic along side Toy Story, Iron Giant, and Finding Nemo.
Wreck-It Ralph was released in theaters on November 2nd 2012
Directed by Rich Moore
Starring John C. Reilly as Wreck-It Ralph, Sarah Silverman as Venellope, Jane Lynch as Calhoun, Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix, Alan Tudyk as King Candy, Mindy Kaling as Taffyta Muttonfudge, and Ed O'Neill as Mr. Litwak.
Rated PG. Runtime: 108 Minutes