Wreck-It Ralph (11/8/12)

Wreck-It RalphMovie Two Hundred Fifty Three

A video game villain wants to be treated like a hero and jumps into other games to win a medal in Wreck-It Ralph.

The game Fix-It Felix, Jr. is home to game villain Wreck-It Ralph aka Ralph (John C. Reilly) who, after 30 years of service in the same arcade, decides he is tired of always being the villain and wants the recognition of a hero. When the in-game building residents throw Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) a 30th anniversary party without inviting Ralph, Ralph crashes the party and smashes the cake. Ralph then decides he needs to win a medal to prove his worth as a good guy. Ralph learns that the new neighboring game called Hero’s Duty gives out medals to the winner so Ralph decides to leave his game in search of a medal. After taking a medal and accidentally launching a spacecraft, Ralph and the cy-bug enemy from Hero’s Duty are launched to a neighboring racing game called Sugar Rush where Ralph must retrieve his medal from Venellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman)by helping her win the race.

Wreck-It Ralph may very well be the perfect movie for me, a video game loving movie nerd. It combines my great love of video games, hits big on nostalgia for retro gaming and arcades, and also has that great Disney touch. There are so many sly nods to video games over the past three decades that it’s easy to miss most of them. Wreck-It Ralph is to video games as Toy Story is to toys and that is perhaps the best way I can describe the movie. While Wreck-It Ralph relies on knowledge of some video games, it is really only for the setup of the film, once Ralph leaves his game he is in the video game worlds created for the movie in Hero’s Duty and Sugar Rush, though both of these games are heavily influenced by actual video games.

I do not usually defend 3D in movies as I find it superfluous in nearly all instances, but Disney treats 3D with a sense of care. There are no gags in Wreck-It Ralph with random stuff flying at the screen just for the sake of 3D, the 3D is mostly used just to give scenes a particular depth to them. While I still could do without 3D, I would rather have it benefit the movie rather than be obnoxious.

One comparison Wreck-It Ralph is destined for is how it fares against Pixar animated movies. While Wreck-It Ralph may lack that extreme level of polish, I would be surprised if people could really tell this wasn’t a Pixar movie. The story gets a bit bogged down towards the end, but the pacing never plods along. Even young kids with no real knowledge of older video games will not have the setup go over their heads. For example, there are several Q*Bert jokes that should work for all audiences, regardless of if you remember Q*Bert.

Disney has a winner with Wreck-It Ralph and I hope that its a movie that remains high on people’s favorites for the studio. I think it has the potential to be a classic, though once the video game references start getting old, they will either be the good type of nostalgic or archaic. Hopefully the former, but I’m already in love with Wreck-It Ralph and can’t wait to watch it again.

I give it 5 awesome official websites out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes



44 responses to “Wreck-It Ralph (11/8/12)

  1. Its definitely worthy of high praise. I gave it a really good grade as well…

    The characters are fun, and the story is too. Plus, as you say, Andy, if you’re a video game nerd there are so many allusions to classic characters and things like that. Very very enjoyable flick! 😀

    • Definitely! I knew I would enjoy it, but I think Disney did a really great job with it. Most of the criticism I’ve seen is along the lines of it being on par with Pixar’s worst films, which is an unfair comparison to me.

  2. I am not usually a fan of animation movies, you made me want to see this with your review. As a fan of the nostalgic video games, I think it is something I would enjoy. Not knowing much about this movie, is it one for kids as well? My nephews are huge gamers, and know they would enjoy this.

    • Yeah, I think the goal was to hook our generation with the classic arcade game stuff and then get younger kids in with just about everything else. Definitely would recommend for young gamers as well as older.

  3. Oh I was glad to see you review this – was debating whether to go and see it or not, but it looks well worthwhile… Also not a fan of 3D, I find the images often annoying rather than adding something nice to the film and the fact that I paid extra for it just increases my annoyance. Will check this out though!

    • I actually don’t think we paid more to see it in 3D, or the difference was negligible. It’s probably not one you need to bust yourself getting to see in theaters, but it’s definitely worth your time at some point.

  4. 3D is often wasted on those fly at the screen scenes like you mentioned. Oddly here with the pixelated old tech characters the 3D works. I also found it works well in concert movies like Glee (yes I’m a Gleek). Did you get your souvenier Wreck-it Ralph cup with your popcorn? For Q-Bert fans like us look up Q-Boyd for your Android phone. It is “virtually” the same which as Tony the Tiger said
    “.. is G-r-r-r-e-a-t”.

  5. What is the sappy cuteness of the girl character like? Because that is what is honestly holding me back, is seeing those scenes with her in the trailers.

    As for your 3D comment, I used to agree with you on the gimmick vs. depth debate, but the depth so rarely ever works well I kind of wonder, whats the point? I may as well have stuff thrown at the screen so I can at least tell its in 3D. But that’s just where my jadedness has brought me I guess.

    • The whole Sugar Rush game is meant to be kind of sappy, but the character never really bothered me. I mean, it’s Sarah Silverman doing the voice so there’s kind of an edge to all her lines, even though her voice is sped up to be higher.

      My biggest thing with 3D is that if I stop noticing it, I consider it a success. It should be the type of thing that is seamless to the movie experience. I think Disney in general does a good job of this, but it’s not necessarily worth more to the ticket price.

  6. The second half of the film felt more like a riff on the board game Candy Land than a tribute to video games. It made me more want to visit a bakery than break out my old Atari 2600. Still, it’s cutesy fun for kids.

  7. Great review, Andy. I think the references will probably hold up over the years, since most of them are already “retro” (and it helps that none of them are done in such a way that you need to get them to understand the movie; like you say, kids that don’t know Q*Bert will still understand the Q*Bert scenes.)

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