Wreck-It Ralph Review
by Delon Villanueva
Wreck-It Ralph is one of the most highly anticipated animated films of the past couple of years, based on the concept alone. It has been hyped up to potentially be the Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Toy Story of video games. Many have been excited to see the many cameos of famous video game characters, including Sonic the Hedgehog and Bowser, in how they fit into the story. Even without knowing if the movie would be good or not, it seemed pretty clear that Disney had a huge financial hit in their hands. Although the movie has an expansive universe and a great voice cast (featuring John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch), it still all comes down to the story. Luckily, director Rich Moore is successful with Wreck-It Ralph, as it is a high contender for the best animated film of the year.
Set in the world of Litwak’s Arcade, the movie tells the tale of Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), the video game villain of the fictional arcade classic, Fix-It Felix, Jr. Though after thirty years of being programmed to be the bad guy, he comes to realize that he really wants to be a good guy. Unfortunately, no matter how hard he tries, Ralph is never accepted by the townspeople in his game, and is overshadowed by the heroism of Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) himself. To prove that he has what it takes to be a good guy, Ralph leaves his game and tries to test his skills in the other games of the arcade. Though he quickly reaches unfamiliar territory, as he enters the violent and modern first-person shooter, Hero’s Duty, where he comes across the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). Ralph also enters the candy-themed kart racer, Sugar Rush, where he meets 9-year-old Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a glitch who destines to become a racer, but is rejected by her peers.
Although we have seen plenty of “bad guy gone good” animated movies in the past few years (particularly Despicable Me and Megamind, which both came out the same year), Wreck-It Ralph easily distinguishes itself through its big heart and creativity. The screenplay, written by Jennifer Lee and Phil Johnston, does a great job in adding depth to these characters. The friendship between Ralph and Vanellope takes some time to start off, but once we learn more about how they cope with being outcasts, it pays off when the movie pulls on your heartstrings. As a result, the film mostly takes place in the realm of Sugar Rush, which may disappoint watchers who wanted the movie to explore more places. I was afraid I might feel the same way, too, but after seeing it, I realized that it keeps the movie well grounded, instead of it depending just on video game references.
Though when these video game references occur, they really hit the mark. It’s important to point out that this movie is absolutely hilarious. This is how humor in animated movies should be done: visually. Director Rich Moore has really immersed himself into this universe, spending incredible amounts of attention to detail. Although not everyone will get the video game nods, the movie is still very rewarding to all audiences. The only problem I had with the humor (and probably my biggest problem overall) is that once in a while, the movie resorts to toilet humor. Although it works with some of the characters’ personalities, it feels a bit pandering towards the younger audience, and seems out of place with the smarter jokes of the movie.
Even with my few complaints, this movie is a great entry into Walt Disney Animation Studios’ canon. It’s glowing with originality, and revitalizes the term, “animated film.” The movie even triumphs Pixar’s entry for this year (but then again, Brave wasn’t exactly up to the Pixar standard). It’s the perfect family film to see this holiday season.
RATING: 9/10. It also doesn’t hurt to see this in 3D. The movie is perfect for 3D, and Paperman, the short animated film that plays before it, is absolutely beautiful in it, too. It’s the best animated short I’ve seen in a long time. See Wreck-It Ralph for that alone.