After many years of mediocre and lackluster animated films Disney finally has a film it can be proud of. I’m sure it is no coincidence that Pixar’s John Lasseter was an executive producer on the project; this film feels a lot like Toy Story only with video game characters instead of toys. Wreck-It Ralph has the emotion and quality you’d normally expect from a Pixar film under the Disney brand, proper.
Wreck-It Ralph tells the story of Ralph (John C. Reilly), the villain of the 8-bit arcade game, “Fix It Felix, Jr.” In the game an angry Ralph destroys an apartment building that was built on top of is old home while the games hero, Felix (Jack McBrayer) fixes what Ralph wrecks. After thirty years Ralph gets fed up with his station in life and decides to better himself. An argument with one of the people living in the apartment building he destroys leads him to believe that if he can win a hero’s medal then he’ll earn the friendship and respect he desires.
There’s only one problem with all of this: villains can’t earn medals.
While drinking at Tapper’s one night he learns about a new game, “Hero’s Duty,” and thinks that’s the place for him on get his medal. There he meets Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) a no-nonsense platoon leader that leads the player through the game. A series of mistakes sends Ralph from “Hero’s Duty” to the racing game “Sugar Rush,” bringing a cy-bug with him. Thinking only of what he needs, Ralph ignores the bug and sets his sight on home, only Vanellope von Scheweetz (Sarah Silverman) has gotten her hands on his medal and she needs it as badly as he does. Vanellope is a glitch in the game and is not aloud to race and that is the only thing she wants to do.
Slowly the grumpy Ralph and Vanellope begin to develop a friendship while Felix and Calhoun are on the search for Ralph. Felix needs to get Ralph back to their game before the plug gets pulled and Calhoun wants to track down the cy-bug that Ralph let loose in “Sugar Rush.” The other character causing all them some trouble is King Candy (Alan Tudyk) who has a nefarious plan all his own.
While being based in a video game world, Wreck-It Ralph tells a story that transcends this world making it accessible to any film viewer. However, people with an intimate knowledge of video game history will love the dozens upon dozens of cameos that real video game characters make throughout the film. Some very obvious, some hidden in the background that you need to search for. And on top of all the great video game cameos, there are tons of hilarious candy and snack references in “Sugar Rush” that are sure to bring smiles.
But what really makes this film work is the characterization of Ralph and the friendship that develops between him and Vanellope. Both of them are outsiders in their world and together are able to make changes in their lives that neither of them could do alone.
Wreck-It Ralph is a very funny and entertaining film, but it also very touching. It very much has that human touch that Pixar embeds in all its films that Disney has been missing for a long time. This is a great film and it comes highly recommended.
Director: Rich Moore
Notable Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch and Alan Tudyk
Writer:Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee with additional story material from John C. Reilly