Film: Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Running time: 108 minutes
Director: Rich Moore
Screenplay: Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
Cast: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch
It’s a tough gig being a video game hero, so spare a thought for the villains – things are even tougher for them. One villain in particular, Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly), has had enough of being the bad guy in Niceland.
Before we go on, there is a perfectly good explanation for why Wreck-It Ralph becomes the bad guy. In the video game ‘Fix-It Felix Jr’ – a Donkey Kong-style arcade game – Ralph’s forest home is destroyed by construction of a new apartment building. He resorts to living in a tree stump amongst the rubble. This would be enough to send anyone into a rage. Angered, Ralph begins to demolish the apartment building – ‘Rampage’ style. As Fix-It Felix Jr steps in to save the day, Ralph throws down bricks at him. Felix dodges the bricks and attempts to fix the broken building parts with his magic hammer. Once the building is fixed, the game ends. The Nicelanders throw Ralph off the top of the building, face first into the mud and present Felix with a medal.
When Felix and the Nicelanders hold a 30th anniversary party and fail to invite Ralph, he tires of being the bad guy (and being on the outer in Niceland). Ralph decides he wants to be the hero for once – he attends a support group for video game villains (plenty of cameos here: Street Fighter’s Zangief and M. Bison, Sonic’s Dr Robotnik, Mario’s Bowser, and Pac-Man’s Clyde among others) and seeks their assistance in dealing with being a bad guy. This is where things get interesting. Without giving away too much, Ralph leaves his game and goes to Game Central Station (akin to Grand Central Terminal in New York City) in search of other games he can enter to allow him to become the hero.
If you are a gamer, you will love all the cameos in Wreck-It Ralph, from Ken and Ryu [Street Fighter II] sharing a beer, to Bowser [Super Mario] spitting fireballs. The parody on games is also ‘oh not so subtle’. If you know your games, you will know exactly who Disney is emulating (not looking at you Donkey Kong, Rampage, Mario Kart or Call Of Duty). Disney even threw in a Walter Day [Twin Galaxies high score keeper] lookalike character as the arcade manager, Mr Litwak – a nice touch indeed.
The animation captures the golden era of arcades just perfectly. The voice acting is superb, with great sound effects complimenting each character. The storyline is solid, with very likeable (and believable) characters all playing their part without appearing to be fillers. There are some twists and turns in this film, with moments that will make you laugh and also make you sad. There are many great lines in Wreck-It Ralph, but one that stands out is when Ralph proclaims “Gamers say we’re ‘retro’, which I guess means ‘old, but cool’”.
If you are a retro gamer, or any gamer at heart, then stop reading this review and get yourself a ticket to one heck of an animated movie. You could say, Disney ‘clocked the game’ with Wreck-It Ralph. Very highly recommended.
PS: Ensure you stay for the end credits, you will not be disappointed !
Wreck-It Ralph was released 26 December 2012 (Australia).
For other country release dates, please check here.