US Animation

Wreck-It Ralph

Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Ever since I saw the promos for the animated movie, Wreck-It Ralph, I knew I wanted to see it.  A movie about a video game bad guy who wants a change, featuring the stars of some of my favorite video games as a kid?  It seemed like a hilarious ride through nostalgia lane.  A friend of mine took his kids to see it and he loved it.  Unfortunately, it took quite some time for me to get around to seeing Wreck-It Ralph.  Was it worth the wait?

                Wreck-It Ralph stars John C. Reilly as Ralph (AKA: Wreck-It Ralph), the villain of the arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr.  It’s the thirtieth anniversary of his game and he should be happy, but Ralph is depressed.  He feels like an outcast, mistreated and misunderstood by the other characters in his game, living in a trash heap.  Ralph wants more…he wants the respect deserving of a hero.  He decides he is going to jump games and win himself a medal so he can earn the respect of the cast at Fix-It Felix Jr.  He heads on over to Hero's Duty, a first-person shooter game in search of his medal.

                Unfortunately, Ralph is no soldier and, though he somehow gets his hands on a medal, ends up crash-landing an escape pod into a candy-themed kart racing game called Sugar Rush.  Unbeknownst to Ralph, the Cy-Bug who hitched a ride on his escape pod is wreaking havoc below the Sugar Rush surface.  That doesn’t concern him right now.  At the moment, he’s too busy trying to retrieve his medal which has now fallen into the hands of Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a glitching avatar who uses the medal as a coin to enter the latest race.  King Candy (Alan Tudyk) is none too happy that Vanellope has found a way to enter the race and he is willing to do anything to stop her from competing.

                Meanwhile, with no villain to destroy things for Fix-It Felix to fix, the arcade’s owner (Ed O'Neill) has placed Fix-It Felix Jr. out of order.  If Felix (Jack McBrayer) can’t find Ralph soon, Fix-It Felix will be put out of commission, never to return.  He teams up with Hero’s Duty heroine Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) to find Ralph and the Cy-Bug before it’s too late.  Can Vanellope overcome her glitch and beat King Candy in a race for her very existence?  Can Felix find Ralph and convince him to return to Fix-It Felix Jr?  Will Sergeant Calhoun find a way to stop the Cy-Bug from taking over the Sugar Rush game?  And what does “going Turbo” mean?

                Oh, how I wish I had seen this film sooner!  I loved it!  The nostalgia, the laughs…this movie was more for adults than kids, but it works for both age groups.  Some of my favorite moments are when Ralph is sitting with his Bad-anon support group.  Here we find M. Bison (Gerald C. Rivers) and Zangief (Rich Moore) from Street Fighter II, Clyde (Kevin Deters) from Pac-Man, Zombie (Raymond Persi), Cyborg (a Mortal Kombat Kano-like character voiced by Brian Kessinger) and Saitine (a devil-like villain voiced by Martin Jarvis).  I love how each villain tries to handle the harshness of being the outcast of his/her game, taking each day one game at a time.  Hilarious! 

                I also enjoyed cameos by Tapper (Maurice LaMarche), Sonic the Hedgehog (Roger Craig Smith), Ryu (Kyle Hebert) and Ken (Reuben Langdon) from Street Fighter II and more.  The idea that the cast of Q*bert has become homeless now that their game is no longer in the arcade is both sad and hysterical.  With each appearance of a character whose video game I spent hours playing, I smiled just a little brighter.

                But the real draw is the feel-good story behind Wreck-It Ralph.  Ralph and Vanellope feel like outcasts.  They have no friends.  They just don’t fit in…but they want so very desperately to fit in.  The characters around them never seem to see the good parts of Ralph or Vanellope because they just seem so socially awkward, not being used to a lot of social contact.  How many of us know people like this?  How many of us try to go deeper to learn a little something about these individuals or do we just classify them as weird and move on toward someone more like us?  There is a lesson to be had in Wreck-It Ralph – there is more to an individual than what’s on the surface.  Deep down inside, there can be a wondrous person who is simply too shy to come out without a little nudge.

                Wreck-It Ralph was a great deal of fun to watch with great little inside jokes for adults and gamers alike and a cute story with a lesson wrapped inside to boot.  I had a great time watching Wreck-It Ralph and recommend it to all arcade fans like myself…invite a kid over if you need a reason to watch an animated feature.  You won’t be disappointed!


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