While not perfect, Wreck It Ralph successfully blends original plot, humor, nostalgia, and warm fuzzies into a wonderful animated film that is on par with some of the best.
Wreck It Ralph
Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Ed O’Neill, Mindy Kaling
Premise: Tired of always being the “bad guy” and not being appreciated for the work he does, Ralph (John C. Reilly), of the Wreck-It-Ralph video game, decides to break free of his game and prove he has what it takes to be a hero and to earn the respect of his “colleagues.” He turns the whole arcade upside down by game hopping on a quest to earn a medal of his own. He finds himself in Sugar Rush, a candy-land car racing game, and befriends a spunky misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). Together they uncover a conspiracy within her game and Ralph must decide if the medal saying he’s a hero is more important than being an actual hero. Will Ralph make the right choice or will he put his own selfish ambitions above saving Vanellope and the arcade?
First, let me just say, while Wreck It Ralph may not be on par with some of my all-time favorite animated films (Toy Story1 & 3, The Little Mermaid, Spirited Away, The Incredibles) it is very, very good (I’d rank it up there were Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, and Ratatouille).
My Review: Anyone can make a movie out of most video games that are out and popular now. Heck, most video games are movies in themselves (see Heavy Rain, Call of Duty, Dishonored, Halo). But making a movie out of older video games, (See Frogger, Qubert, Loadrunner, anyone remember that one? That was my favorite) is a much harder feat. Unfortunately, in making animated films, generally you want to market them toward adolescents. However, the thing I love about animated films now-a-days is that there is something for everyone. You have the nostalgia of the 70/80’s type arcade games for the older generation and the freshness of the characters for the younger generation. (Random Question: Do kids born in the 2000’s even know what an arcade is? Man, I’m old.) That freshness, and lightness, and mixture of adult and child themes helped make this film entertaining and touching at the same time.
Ralph wants what we’ve all been looking for, to be recognized for his hard work by his peers, and to stop feeling like an outcast for doing the task at hand. But because he has the job as the “villain” he is doomed to live the life of a loner. His fellow “villains” have accepted who they are. Just because they play a bad guy in their video games doesn’t make them “bad guys,” but despite hearing this truth it’s not enough for Ralph. He needs more, so he decides to find…more. John C. Reilly plays Ralph perfectly, displaying the right amount of toughness and intimidation, as well as humor and vulnerability…all with his voice! There’s just something about his voice that’s soft and sweet and well, completely unrecognizable, that rounds Ralph out nicely.
But the real surprise was Sarah Silverman. Anyone who’s anyone knows Sarah Silverman’s type of humor. Shock humor. She’s crude and rude and blunt (which I love), but those attributes have no place in a children’s movie. However, the blunt sassiness really worked for Vanellope. She was annoying and sweet, shrill and spunky, and honestly probably my favorite character of the movie (Sgt. Calhoun was a close second though with probably the best one-liners only Jane Lynch could deliver). Seriously, when she cries, you can’t help but cry with her. There’s something just so sweet and innocent about her voice that makes you instantly love her and your heart break for her at the same time. Plus she says lines like, “These are my candy wrappers…I wrap myself up like a little homeless woman.”
Wreck it Ralph is by no means perfect movie. Some of the secondary plot lines were muddled and inconsistent and frankly just not as interesting as the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope. Also, the way Ralph and Vanellope are treated in this movie are truly cruel. And I mean if it’s cruel for me, a 25 (*cough* plus more years *cough*) year old, then it has to be extra heartless for the young folk. (“Did I really just write young folk?”)
Overall though this movie is bright, the attention to detail remarkable and the spirit of the movie amazing, but it’s the heart of the characters that will win you over in the end.
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)