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Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph

November 24, 2012

Alright, before I start writing up another long post, let’s get something out of the way. If you haven’t seen this film yet, find a way to immediately. This film is worth your money, and I highly recommend you check it out asap. I will post some spoilers (not the ending though), so just keep that in mind before reading if you want to go in without knowing anything. With that in mind, let’s talk about Wreck-It Ralph.

When I first heard about the film, I was interested to hear how Disney was willing to pay for the rights to get quite a number of well known video game characters in the film. From Bowser to Dr. Eggman, Pacman to Q*bert, as well as a number of other well known gaming icons. It seemed like Disney was investing a lot into the film, and from the numerous trailers I saw, the premise seemed interested. So once I heard the good reviews from quite a few people I knew, I made it a priority to see this film. And man, am I glad I did. I came for a good video game movie, but ended getting both that and a wonderful, heartfelt film that anyone can enjoy.

For those who don’t know anything about the film, it’s about an arcade game villain named Wreck-It Ralph, who after 30 years of doing his job of fighting Fix-It Felix (the game is a spoof of the original Donkey Kong arcade game) is tired of being hated and alone. Despite how he acts when the player is playing the game, he really is a nice guy. Unfortunately for him, everyone else in his game always looks at him as a bad guy, and forces him to spend his days by himself in a dump when the game isn’t being used.

The characters are not restricted to being stuck in their game though (when it’s not in use by players that is). When the arcade is closed, they are allowed to travel to other games in the arcade through a game station (which they get to through the electrical outlets connected to their arcade machine) as well as hang out in what is essentially a train station. This leads to where we first find Ralph, at a group therapy session for Villains.

No, I don’t know why video game console characters are in an arcade area

Ralph expresses his frustration to the other villains, who sympathize with him, and try to explain to him that just because you’re a villain, doesn’t mean you’re a bad guy. However, Ralph begins to show signs that he no longer wants to be a villain, causing some of the villains to worry if Ralph is going “Turbo” (this will be explained later in the film, but I won’t talk about it in the review. Go watch the movie to find out what they’re talking about.) Ralph re-assures them that he isn’t, and they leave the meeting and head back to their respective arcade machines.

As Ralph returns home, he discovers the other characters in his arcade machine are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their game (or how long they’ve been there, or something.) Many other game characters from around the arcade and other places are also invited to the party (including Mario, who is referenced but never cameos in the film sadly. Sonic is seen in the film a few times though.). Upset that he wasn’t invited to the celebration, Ralph heads over to the party and attempts to at least get a piece of cake, despite everyone else (including Fix-It Felix) feeling awkward about him being there. After an argument with one of the residents of the building (and an accidental cake smashing), Ralph is asked to leave the party, being told he’ll always be a villain who destroys everything. Ralph declares that he’s going to try to win a medal in order to get respected by everyone else in the game, and leaves.

After attempting to get advice from a bartender in the game Tapper, Ralph runs into a soldier from the game “Hero’s Duty” (which I’m assuming is a spoof of Halo or Mass Effect, but I could be wrong.) After hearing from the soldier that you can win a medal for “just climbing a building”, he ends up knocking out the soldier and taking his armor, and heads over to the arcade game hoping to win a medal to show to the other resident’s of his arcade machine.

I won’t continue the play-by-play description from here, but Ralph eventually obtains the Hero’s medal when the game isn’t active, and after a struggle with one Alien accidentally ends up in another arcade game, a racing game called Sugar Rush. It’s here he meets a little girl (referred to as “The Glitch”, which I won’t go into detail about here. Watch the movie to find out more.) who ends up taking his medal to use to get into the qualifying races to be an avatar chosen by arcade players for the next day, (Again, I won’t go into detail here.) The duo eventually partner up to help her get into the race and qualify to be an arcade player, as well as win back Ralph’s medal. At the same time, due to Ralph’s absence from his game, the players (and arcade management) think the game is broken, causing Fix-It Felix to find Ralph in hopes of bring him back before the arcade machine is declared broken, and their arcade machine to be shut down.

I’m keeping my mouth shut about the rest of the film for a reason. While the first part is enjoyable, it’s this point onward where the films starts to get really good. Each character’s story and problem becomes very interesting and enjoyable to watch, and it’s best you see it for yourself instead of me spoiling it for you. I will also say that there’s quite a few heartfelt moments in this film, as well as two times the film played a really clever twist.

Each and every character in the main cast is wonderful, both in voice acting as well as dialogue. Surprisingly, while I was worried about being annoyed by “The Glitch”, she ended up being my favorite character in the film. I actually ended up caring about her more than Ralph (not to say I didn’t care about him). The supporting cast, as well as the various video game characters making cameos in the film were just as enjoyable. The amount of effort put into casting and animation is very noticeable. Kudos to Disney for putting so much effort into this film!

Overall, while I wouldn’t say it’s on Pixar levels of enjoyable, this is one of the few disney computer animated films that I can’t stop recommending. Whether your an adult or a kid, I don’t think you’ll have a problem enjoying it. The subtle use of some video game references as well as the appearance of both mainstream and more obscure video game characters will be appreciated by many gamers, but is never over used or in your face like other movies in the same genre would do. But it’s strong point is it’s characters, especially “The Glitch” and Ralph.

I give it a 4/5, and suggest you check it out soon before it leaves theaters. There may still be a little more time before that happens, but please go check it out as soon as possible! You won’t regret it!

… Wait a minute, was that Rhino in the film?
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