Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Ahh, the days of the arcade. The days of playing those stand alone, 8-bit consoles for hours without end, trying desperately to make it just to that next level or trying to out-do that ever elusive high score in hopes to add your own name to the eternal list of legends. Disney’s Animation Studios takes us back to the glory days of the arcade by taking us inside the games themselves with Wreck-It Ralph.
Wreck-It Ralph presents a world inside the arcade is just what any person calling themselves a gamer could want. There are famous gaming, and obscure, characters walking to and fro around the heroes of the flick, and the way the world works is creative, fun, and makes sense. Gaming references and clever dialogue make up a setting that eases the viewer into a foreign and unlikely environment.The jokes work on multiple levels although some may be a bit too lowbrowed for a kids picture. Once the rules of the land are established the movie takes up that familiar story of the outcast searching for something to make him/herself accepted within their world but with a take that is both fresh and retro. While the story may be a conventional one, the place in which it is told makes enough of a difference to keep the telling of the tale engaging and interesting. The characters are great archetypal depictions of gaming personas but are also three dimensional and empathetic. The narrative culminates in an amazingly touching tale of friendship.
The voice cast for this movie deliver their performances brilliantly. John C. Reilly leads the charge as Ralph by creating a completely rounded character that is easily related to and felt sorry for. Reilly’s exceptional performance carried the weight of the film and helped to set up a world that could be totally believable and was easy to get wrapped up in. Co-starring with Reilly are Sarah Silverman and Jack McBrayer playing Vanellope and Fix-It Felix respectively. McBrayer’s Felix is a spot on example of that ‘goody-two-shoes’ everyman hero that hitherto would have been the main character in a squeaky clean children’s tale of friendship courage, love, and other such nonsense; luckily, Wreck-It Ralph is no such picture. Sarah Silverman is able to put aside her slightly obtrusive comedic persona and brings forth a genuine and heartfelt character portrayal of an outcast racer that just wants her chance, creating an unlikely and unconventional friendship with Ralph to help her get it. But the Ridiculously Awesome performance in this flick for me came from Jane Lynch. Lynch plays Sergeant Calhoun, the fierce and female leader from a neighboring Halo-esque game. Somehow, her tough-as-nails, no-nonsense performance made her inexplicably and exponentially hotter than she already is. (yes, I know she’s gay; I still say she’s hot!) That aside, her character acting has no bounds and she clearly demonstrates that with her performance here.
Visually speaking, this movie is nothing short of breathtaking. Not only are the characters and environments superbly rendered but the animation is undoubtedly fluid and precise, specifically when within the world of Ralph’s game. The surroundings and the characters all have that static look and feel seen with in 8-bit gaming, but it is executed in a way that doesn’t make the characters jerky or distracting; instead, they have a comedic uniqueness to them and the world they inhabit reacts to them in similar ways. Although the story is both familiar and warm, it does take some dips as a seemingly unnecessary side story is developed and played out; however this once useless plot device turns out to be a impactful connection point for the main characters. Even though this flick did not come from Pixar, Disney Animation Studios displays technical prowess and story telling chops that are on par with their ‘other’ party.
- For Wreck-It Ralph, “The Force is strong with strong with this one.”