'Wreck It Ralph'
By Christie Hudon
November 6, 2012
Christie Hudon is a freelance writer and editor. She also teaches creative writing to middle school students. You can view her blog Quillbook at wordpress.com.
If you’ve ever played a pixelated video game in your life, revel in the retro. Old school is cool when kids who grew up on blocky arcade games start making movies. Disney’s Wreck It Ralph is a feisty homage to the pre-console gaming world in all its glory with a cheesy but charming believe in yourself motif.
Wreck It Ralph is akin to Toy Story, explaining what happens to the games and their characters after the arcade closes. Don’t let that comparison fool you though-this film is unique and fresh in its storytelling. The characters are just as memorable, but the scope of the movie is more sweeping with plenty of marketing-worthy gamescapes.
The story begins as Ralph, villain of the retro game “Fix It Felix Jr.,” decides he’s tired of being bad. Determined to win the favor of the game citizens, Ralph embarks on a video game odyssey that wreaks havoc on not only his game but others in the arcade. It takes a child from the pinky-perfect world of “Sugar Rush” to teach Ralph what it really means to be a hero.
Another animated film packed with celebrity voices, Ralph features John C. Reilly as the title character and Sarah Silverman as the annoying but loveable “Sugar Rush” brat Vanellope. Glee’s Jane Lynch plays a Halo-esque femme fatale and Jack McBrayer of 30 Rock fame rounds out the main four as Fix It Felix Jr., Ralph’s naïve hero rival. You’ll hear other notorious voices throughout so have fun listening. But then again, what animated movie doesn’t do this anymore to sell more tickets?
It’s refreshing to see Disney Animation holding its own with a solid story and appealing graphics. After flops like Mars Needs Moms and Chicken Little, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. Maybe putting John Lasseter at the helm as producer improved their chances of success (and the use of Fun's "Some Nights" on the movie's officials trailer). Director Rich Moore also comes from animation gold, heading both The Simpsons and Futurama for multiple seasons.
Ralph blurs the lines between children’s and adult entertainment without the hardcore irreverent tone of other animated flicks. Kids will surely miss the plethora of nods to retro game characters that adults will find humorous and a bit nostalgic. But both parties will enjoy the irresistible charm of Ralph’s world. Even the quirky soundtrack left me smiling as game tunes guided me out of the theater.
For all the hype that the Disney machine infuses into their movies, this one is worth it. Date nights, family nights, whatever takes you out of the house, Wreck It Ralph is great entertainment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try and dig out my Super NES. Mario Kart anyone? Trust me, after you see this film, you’ll know.