Wreck-It-Ralph is the new animated feature from Disney that follows “Wreck-It Ralph” (voiced by John C Reilly) who longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer). The problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy — but they do love heroes. So when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan — win a medal — but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph’s only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman), a young troublemaking “glitch” from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy.
Wreck-It-Ralph revolves around an arcade community, during the day the characters work in their perspective games (like a day job), and at night they get to roam free from game to game and interact with each other. Everything is fine and dandy in their little world with not much to worry about. The only issues are if they fail to show up for work, the arcade owners will assume the game is on the fritz, and they run the risk of being unplugged (leaving them homeless), or if they get stuck in another game and die — it is permanent game over, no reset, no coming back.
Making his feature film debut, director Rich Moore (“Futurama” and “The Simpsons,”) takes full visual advantage by creating a number of eye-popping worlds. The CG is incredible and I would say far superior to Pixars “Brave” — From a grim post-apocalyptic terrain to an eye popping candy-colored wonderland, he easily transitions old-school 8-bit graphics to a three-dimensional world as perceived by the characters who live in it.
Beyond the visual, the cool thing is that the primary cast recorded their dialogue all in the same room, a practice not commonly used for animation. You can hear the difference as scenes are filled with quality dialogue too rich to have been planned ahead. When you stuff a room full of comedians, great stuff is bound to happen. The casting was phenomenal and there was no evidence that any of the actors were giving less than 100%, from John C. Reilly, to Sarah Silverman, everyone did a wonderful job. Each character moved much like their voice acting counterpart, from facial expressions, to hand gestures; there was a human touch in each of them.
What intrigued me the most was the array of 80’s and early 90’s video game throwbacks from the good old Nintendo and Sega Genesis days including; Sonic The Hedgehog, the entire cast of one of my favourite games, Street Fighter 2 a sensitive Zagnief, Bowser from Super Mario, a ghost from Pac-Man and many others. Although the retro appeal pulled my heart strings, it didn’t last long. After about 40 minutes it went back to the good-old Disney mentality “you can do whatever you put your mind to”, “Just be yourself” and so on and so forth.
Once the actual plot kicks in, Ralph spend the rest of his time in a game called “Hero’s Duty”, which is based off the famous game Call of Duty. Eventually, Fix-It Felix has to go find Ralph, and he teams with the Hero’s Duty heroine- Sergeant Calhoun to do so. From this point on, most of the film revolves around Ralph’s relationship with Vanellope, a bratty little girl who wants to be a racer, ditching the edgier humour of the first half.
Despite some flaws including; at times annoying Vanellope, and a storyline switch from “mature” to “childish”, the film overall works for parents and kids and makes a wonderful film for the entire family, which is why I give “Wreck-It-Ralph” a 7/10.
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“Wreck-It-Ralph,” is rated PG. Running time: 100 minutes. In theatres everywhere November 2, 2012