Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph is a Smash

Ralph (John C. Reilly) attends a Bad Anon meeting in "Wreck-It Ralph."
Photo: Disney

While not the first movie based on a video game, “Wreck-It Ralph,” from Walt Disney Animation Studios may be the best. “Ralph” does take itself too seriously and doesn’t try too hard to be funny. It has a great cast, fantastic graphics, very funny punch lines and a good story, albeit a simple one.

Felix (Jack McBrayer) celebrates the game's 30th anniversary with friends.
Like “Toy Story” told a tale about what toys do when no one is around, “Ralph” is similar in the world of arcade games. Did you know that when the arcade closes at night, the characters under the glass come alive? They actually travel from one game to another through the electrical cords. Who knew?

The main storyline is surprisingly about Ralph, a little-known character from a real game that was played often in the ‘80s. In this movie, Ralph’s game, “Fix-It Felix, Jr.” is celebrating its’ 30th anniversary. For 30 years, Ralph (John C. Reilly) has been terrorizing the people of Niceland and good guy Felix (Jack McBrayer from NBC’s “30 Rock”) has come to the rescue. Tired of playing the bad guy role, Ralph goes on a journey to learn how to become a good guy and earn some respect. Along the way, he meets Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) from the game “Hero’s Duty” and little glitch, Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) from “Sugar Rush.” Both of these women have their own issues as well. Calhoun was left at the alter and Vanellope doesn’t operate right. When a deadly attack comes from a bad program, Ralph has the chance of a lifetime to save his world.

Ralph shares a cherry received while visiting Pacman.
“Ralph” is a mash-up different games and styles. Children will enjoy the silly antics and adults will enjoy the one-liners. You don’t even have to be a “gamer” to enjoy this flick. Many video game icons have short cameos in the movie and probably too short for some. The movie has a few nice themes as well including lessons including taking responsibility for your own actions, how your actions can affect others and learning to accept your weaknesses while embracing your strengths.

Ralph meets Vanellope
At 108 minutes of screen time, the film feels a little long, but enjoyable all the way through.

“Wreck-It Ralph” is preceded by a new animated short called “Paper Man.” This stylized short features no verbal language and is filmed in black, white and red. There not much to this paper airplane story, but it’s a mini-masterpiece.