Wreck-it Ralph review
By Rob Jefchak
When a new movie is coming out and the promotion for the movie builds up more and more as the release date arrives, I try not to get my spirits too high for fear of the hype being too impossible to match. When “Wreck-it Ralph” was coming out, I had extremely high hopes set on this movie and as much as I wanted to, I could not contain my interest and excitement. Did it match it? We’ll soon find out. Director Rich Moore tells the computer animated tale of an 8-bit video game villain named Wreck-it Ralph (John C. Reilly); he’s been playing the villain role for the arcade game “Fix-it Felix Jr.” for over 30 years and he’s sick of getting zero respect.
So when Ralph decides to jump into another video game to get a medal from the game “A Hero’s duty”, he unknowingly causes a chain of events that could doom his game and his partner Felix (Jack McBrayer). Now stuck in a candy coated racing game called “Sugar Rush” and being pestered by a little mischief making girl named Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), Ralph has to discover what he really wants out of life before his, and everyone else’s gaming days, are over. Most people expected this movie to be a video game equivalent of “Who framed Rodger Rabbit?” by having lots of cameos and crossover mingling between various well known video game stars.
Though truthfully, this movie was more like “Toy Story” in both of plot similarities but also emotional similarities. “Ralph” shows you what the video game characters are like when the game turns off for the night. We see the game characters as people and recognize their problems and emphasize with their identity issues, specifically Ralph and Vanellope. The movie’s messages is not as cut and dry as most Disney films, it has resistance and denial but also acceptance without feeling like the lesson didn’t sink in effectively. Ralph desires to be respected and wants more out of life; even though he is the bad guy of his game, his passion feels more compassionate than one of greed or selfishness.
The relationship between Vanellope and Ralph is one of the film’s most touching moments, full of sweetness that feels natural and always proves endearing. One of the most interesting aspects about the characters is that the main 4 stars Ralph, Vanellope, Felix, and Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch) are all modeled after their celebrity voices. Calhoun is almost a dead ringer duplicate of Jane Lynch in every way. Everyone fits their role to a perfect tee, their personalities and exaggerations feel completely in synch with their characters and the film’s setting. Special nod to the incredibly talented but regretfully overlooked actor, Alan Tudyk for his incredible performance as King Candy.
Though this film was not made by Pixar, it’s easily Disney’s greatest non Pixar produced CGI film in my opinion. The balance of humor and good hearted moral messages blends perfectly. Adults are not dumbed down by simple minded children lessons, but neither are they given racy adult jokes simply to entertain parents while the kid’s oogle the pretty colored game worlds. “Ralph” harmonies humor, life lessons, entertainment and genuine satisfaction in a way that allows every one of every age, generation or fan base to get something meaningful out of this movie.
If there was any problem that could be forcefully yanked from this film’s glowing record, it would be the arguable complaint of not seeing enough variety in the video game characters and their respected worlds. Majority of the film is spent in “Sugar Rush” and famous game icons like Sonic the hedgehog or Ryu from Street Fighter are very brief (unfortunate considering they are voiced by their actual voice actors from their respectful game titles). This nitpick is merely a difference in perceived expectations of how some believed the movie would turn out. Personally, I feel the focus on the original characters and worlds worked more to the film’s benefit, allowing for more focus and effort to be placed in the story itself; rather than worrying frantically about what winking cameo to include as an Easter egg.
In conclusion, “Wreck-it Ralph” surpassed and exceeded my expectations in ways too wonderful to even begin to explain or describe. This was the film I had been sitting on pins and needles since I first heard of its release and it did NOT disappoint in the slightest. The film’s story is original, heartfelt and entertaining without the slightest stumble or slip up in any aspect of the film or its characters construction and execution. Reilly, Silverman, McBrayer, Lynch, Tudyk, everyone was flawlessly fantastic and the animation was rich, colorful and a true candy coated delight. Video game fans, young fans, old fans, movie fans, Disney fans, anything you love or even kind of like about good movies, this is the movie for ALL of you!