Wreck It Ralph – Review

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Hello g33ks, m33ks, and anyone who knew that the only way to have a chance at beating Contra was; Up Up Down Down Left Right B A Start. I am reviewing a film that I’m sure many of you have at least a burgeoning interest in, Disney’s Wreck It Ralph. It is to be noted that this film is not a Pixar animated feature. That said this isn’t exactly Madagascar or Ice Age either. This film is trying to walk an interesting line, it wants to appeal to children but it also wants to appeal to adults who can catch all of the references in Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Did it succeed? Is there any hope for a 3D animated feature released by Disney but not from the studio with Luxo Jr. hopping around in its logo?

Wreck It Ralph is a classic fish out of water tale. The film takes place inside the world of a classic video game arcade. Each game exists as its own world but the games can connect with one another using a hub called Game Central. Wreck It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the villain of the “classic” game, Fix It Felix, Jr. (Jack Mcbrayer). In the game Ralph’s job is to destroy a high-rise building while the player as Felix uses his magic hammer to fix the building. At night once the arcade is closed the programs take time out for themselves to relax, throw parties and sometimes attend support groups. Ralph begins the film attending his first Bad-Anon meeting on the 30th anniversary of his game. These meetings are attended by characters like M. Bison, Zangief, Kano, Bowser, and led by Pac-Man’s Clyde. They try to emotionally justify their place in the gaming world by living by the creed, “I’m bad and that’s good. I’ll never be good and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” Even after his affirmation Ralph just can’t shake the idea that he can change his lot in life, so he crashes the 30th anniversary party held in the penthouse of the Fix It Felix apartment building. The game characters do everything in their power to show Ralph he’s not welcome. When he refuses to leave they challenge him to win a hero medal like Felix does at the end of the game. If Ralph brings home a medal proving he’s done something heroic they will give him the Penthouse and he no longer has to live alone in the game’s dump.

This is the basis for Ralph leaving his game and going into other game worlds. One of the interesting things about Wreck It Ralph are the rules of the universe. Game characters can leap from game to game within the arcade by using Game Central, but once in another game you have to play by that game’s particular set of rules. The cardinal rule is extremely important, if you die outside of your game you don’t regenerate, you die forever. There are other rules in the film but those would give away elements of the story. The film does an excellent job balancing references to games that actually exist with creating their own games. This allows them to pay tribute to/parody games we know and love. Along the way Ralph meets a hard nosed sci-fi first person shooter in the game Hero’s Duty, Sgt Calhoun (Jane Lynch) and the so sweet you might get a cavity wannabe racer of Sugar Rush, Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman).

The story is balanced in just the right way with action, comedy and heart to keep even the more cynical viewers on board. It features the usual high quality Disney 3D which is designed to enhance the viewing experience not just to pop things out at the audience. The original score is also well done as it definitely feels like classic arcade soundtracks. This film will work for families and for any classic gaming fan. The best thing will be the moments where an older g33k has to explain to the newly g33ky what some of the more classic gaming references actually mean. Passing on the lore of kill screens, input codes, and the dreaded .25 x 8 game ($2.00 a game was a real afternoon killer) is almost as much fun as seeing them on screen. This isn’t going to be like a Pixar film that could be nominated with the best pictures of the year but it is a ton of fun and absolutely worth going to see in the theatre.

– Mr. Khon


Kudos should go out to the preceding short film, Paper Man. This is nearly on par with some of the best shorts made by Pixar. It actually elicited an audible audience reaction when it was finished and a few people even broke out into applause.

Mr. Khon

Our own version of The Illusive Man, Mr. Khon's identity is kept secret until he sells a screenplay. Once that happens, he's taking us all to the big time.

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