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Wreck-It Ralph: it takes a bad guy to be this good

Updated on August 27, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph is a touching, exciting, well-made and very funny movie for the whole family. This is seriously a great and fun movie that's great for everyone and you really should go see.

But first, the story

The movie starts with a voice over by the titular Ralph—a.k.a. Wreck-It Ralph—(voiced by John C. Reilly). He's the "villain" of a game where he breaks a building while the "hero", Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer), fixes the building until the tenants give him a medal and toss Ralph off of the roof.

It's an old-school game like many you may have seen or even played before. And in the movie, it's been around for 30 years, eating quarters and giving smiles.

But Ralph isn't all that pleased with his lot in life. He mentions to his support group that he'd kind of like to be the hero, even just once.

As Ralph puts it, it's hard to love your job when everyone hates you for doing it. Basically, he's the IRS agent of the video game world.

After running into a heavily armored marine from one of those newfangled, ultra-realistic first person shooters called Hero's Duty, he decides to try to jump games for one evening to try and earn a medal of his own. He's hoping to get respect and recognition, but after arriving, and taking some shouted orders from Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), he learns it's a bit more complex than he'd originally thought.

He ends up in a game called Sugar Rush—a Mario Kart-style racing game ruled by King Candy (Alan Tudyk doing his best Ed Wynn impression). Almost immediately, he runs into the cute but troublesome Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). She's a bit of an outcast herself. She desperately wants to be a racer, but she's constantly barred from competing because she has been labeled (rather appropriately) a "glitch".

Beyond that, I'm afraid of spoiling some of the fun of the movie, so I'll leave it at that.

Dot dot dot

First off, this one is not technically a video game movie. While it does contain references and characters from several iconic video games, the three video games fully featured in the movie are newly created for this movie. That being said, if you're a fan of video games, there are tons and tons of fun gags and references involving games like Street Fighter, Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, and they can be very fun for video game fans, but it is absolutely not required to be a video game person to enjoy this one. So you grandmas out there? Don't worry your wrinkly little head about taking the little grand-chilluns to this one.

Seriously, this is one of the most consistently charming and funny movies I've seen in theaters in the last few months. It's very colorful (especially the world created for Sugar Rush) and fun to watch. It's also a great experience in 3D, so if you're at all amenable to that, then I say go for it.

I will say that it did seem to take a fair while to find out exactly where the story was going. But that's not necessarily a serious problem. As I said before, there's still plenty of great visuals and really funny gags.

But as far as plotting goes, how familiar are you with the writing of Brandon Sanderson? In his early works, he had a tendency toward what has been called the "Sanderson Storm". Plots and characters that have been developing throughout the story suddenly all come to a head at the same time. It makes for exciting reading, but can be exhausting if taken too far, which Sanderson nearly did a couple times.

Okay, there's no indication that Brandon Sanderson had anything to do with this movie, but as I watched the climax, I just kept being brought back to the idea of the Sanderson Storm. It's very well done and exciting, and you really don't have enough time to guess all the developments that pop up left and right.

Now, there are a couple points that the movie really doesn't explain all that well—one in particular regarding the Sugar Rush finish line—but none of them are serious enough to ruin my enjoyment of the movie. Just accept the premise of the movie and you'll be okay.

But one thing that I think really makes this movie stand out among other recent family fare is that, for a CG cartoon, this one actually made me begin to tear up at more than one point in the movie. Twice Ralph is called upon to make some very tough, very emotional, but quite "heroic" decisions. One of them may not feel particularly heroic at the time, but it still really got to me.

But what do you think?

4 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Wreck-It Ralph

In short, I completely loved this latest animation endeavor by Disney and I give it a very solid 9 / 10.

More like this one, please.

Wreck-It Ralph is rated PG for cartoon action violence and a couple moments of slightly rude humor.


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    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 4 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      Well, to each his own.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 4 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I could never get into Toy Story at all. IT seems OK, however why the critics give the four star treatment is bewildering.

    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 4 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      Yeah, I think this movie benefited from some very well thought out character development and story building. And it's pretty great to look at in 3D too. I saw Toy Story 3 in 3D, and it was okay. Don't misunderstand, the movie is great, but the 3D didn't really add a whole lot to the experience in my opinion. It was well done, as most things by Pixar that don't include talking cars are, but Wreck-It Ralph definitely provided a much richer 3D experience.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 4 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Who would think a movie with this title would be this great?

      What works here is that the viewer instantly likes Ralph--yep he wants to CHANGE his way of doing things. That is an important writing concept and we are hit with it in the very first scene. Who would think that this guy would be sitting in a therapy group in the first five minutes of the story--Yep, it works.


      When the Princess came on board--I was hooked.

      We now had 2 great characters interacting with each other--helping each other with their goals. Yes-- we are in the hands of kind loving people here and from here the viewer will accept anything that comes along.

      Another aspect that kept riveting attention, is the contrast of the two alien worlds, Sugar land Vs. the Aliens. If an adult was tiring of Sugarland, that did not last long as the Alien environment changed the entire nature of the story.

      The ending in which the Princess took her rightful place was the ice-cream on the cake. Simply--the plot line that brought it all together that gave meaning to all we had witnessed.

      I imagine that you would understand that I hold this animated film in high regard and place it in the top five of all time. I mention it often in my Movie Hubs. Let's keep in touch.

    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 4 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      Great! Hope you get the chance to see it soon.

      Come back and add your vote to the star meter when you do.

    • Miss Mimi profile image

      Miss Mimi 4 years ago from On the road again

      Now I want to see this movie even more! I've been looking forward to it for a while, but haven't seen it, I don't think it's out in Europe yet. Great review, thanks for sharing!