Disney’s latest film in theaters now, Wreck-It Ralph, is filled with video game nostalgia and the usual feel good messages about friendship and accepting who you are that you would expect from a Disney film.
The title’s main character is voiced by actor John C. Reilly who is considered the “villain” of an 8-bit arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr. The basic story of the game is Ralph’s stump gets moved so his spot can be used to build a luxury apartment. Ralph gets mad and shouts the phrase, “I’m gonna wreck it,” and does exactly that. Along comes Felix who fixes the destruction Ralph has left behind with his trusty hammer. Once Felix is able to fix everything and dodges Ralph’s attacks in the game, the residents of the building award Felix with a medal and then proceed to toss Ralph off the roof of the building.
During a therapy session for villains of video games, Ralph expresses his exhaustion with being the villain and wanting to be the hero for a change. This desire to be the good guy and not the bad guy is the spring board for the journey he takes. Ralph equates having a medal as proof he can be a hero, and becomes obsessed with the idea of getting one. He ventures into another game called Hero’s Duty to obtain one for himself and to prove his skeptical colleagues at Fix-It Felix Jr. that he isn’t just a villain. Of course, getting the medal isn’t simple. Just as he finds a way to get the medal and is ready to call it a day, he activates an egg housing a Cy-Bug (the baddies of Hero’s Duty), and finds himself fighting off the bug. Ralph stumbles into an escape pod and ends up riding it and the Cy-Bug out of Hero’s Duty and crashes the pod into another game called Sugar Rush, a go-kart racing game full of candy coated, confectionery goodness.
Ralph encounters a glitch at Sugar Rush named Vanellope von Schweetz voiced by comedienne Sarah Silverman. Vanellope steals his medal to use it as an entrance token into Sugar Rush’s race. Being the glitch of the game, a so-called “mistake,” Vanellope is the unwelcome outcast in her game. This doesn’t stop her from wanting to race with everyone else though. Vanellope is considered an annoying brat at first by Ralph, but he ends up admiring her spunk and decides to help her train for the race. However, Sugar Rush’s ruler, King Candy, will do whatever it takes to keep Vanellope from racing as he holds a dark secret he is determined to keep buried.
Wreck-It Ralph is an amazing movie. The animation is beautiful to look at, the story is engaging, and the characters are likeable or unlikeable depending on how you perceive them. Long time gamers will delight in this wonderful homage to all the video games that came before and the ones we have now. There are plenty of popular video game references scattered throughout the movie. There are also plenty of scenes in the movie that has “blink and you’ll miss it” video game characters walking around the film.
The amount of known video game characters, some old and new, are hard to keep up with. Having friends who grew up on the NES and other classic games are able to identify the older video game characters better than I can. In fact, they educated me on the old school games of the 80’s.
Even if you aren’t a fan of video games or a gamer yourself, there is still a lot to enjoy from this movie. You root for the underdogs Ralph and Vanellope, and the friendship they forge with each other is deeply moving too. Make Wreck-It Ralph your must-see movie!
Reviewer Rating: 10/10