Wreck-It Ralph

Posted: November 4, 2012 in Movie Reviews

“I can fix it!”

Disney movies generally get a negative reputation. It seems that most people have forgotten that the classics such as Sleeping Beauty and The Lion King were created for both parent and child to enjoy together. Instead, they deem all things Disney as “childish fluff,” “kids stuff,” and overlook the fact that the real magic of Disney is not pixie dust, but rather the magic families create together when they sit down to a movie opening with the iconic castle and the name “Walt Disney.”

Wreck-It Ralph builds upon that tradition of wholesome family entertainment and creates an enticing, yet palpable, world for us to get lost in for over an hour and a half.

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Summary: (No spoilers)

Within the depths of a typical arcade is Fix-It Felix, a game that kids have been enjoying for 30 years. While many other games have come and gone, Fix-It Felix has stayed the same. The game’s bad guy is Ralph, a 12-bit miniature Hulk who smashes through everything in his path, and it’s always Felix’s job to repair the havoc he wreaks. At the end of the day, it’s Felix who gets the medal and the glory, and poor Ralph goes home to the dump.

Ralph wrecks, Felix fixes.

“Why can’t I get a medal and have everyone love me?” he asks himself. All he really wants is the recognition and the love he so fervently covets. When Ralph jumps to another game, Hero’s Duty, in search of his medal that will bring him the fame and the glory, he finds himself in a completely different environment from the charming old-school world he’s used to.

“Congratulations, soldier. You are a hero!”

After Ralph finally nabs his long-sought medal, he suddenly finds himself hurled into Sugar Rush, a Candy Land-style game. Ralph ultimately finds himself at the mercy of a cute-yet-annoying “glitch” who steals his medal, forcing him to contemplate what really is most important in life.

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 One thing about Wreck-It Ralph that really struck me was the fine attention to detail. It was Pixar-like. Everything from the pixilated opening logo to the classic video games the film makers were paying homage to were so well-researched and carefully detailed. You really got the sense that they truly knew the subject they were portraying and knew how to present it in such a nostalgic manner.

The way the video-game characters moved, the sense of nostalgia behind the film, the way the characters travel from game to game, even the feelings we experience when playing the classics, these elements were all present in the story in a way that both video game enthusiasts and regular audiences could relate to and appreciate.

For me, some of the best moments in the film were cameos that paid homage to the classic age of the retro video game (adults and kids alike will recognize such classics as Bowser and Pac-man). You could actually see the passion behind this film, just by the way it takes something ordinary and turns it into a multi-dimensional world that’s fresh, exciting, and reminiscent.

A bad guy support group. Brilliant.

There were a few moments and bits of dialogue that felt like you were watching a Dreamworks film, and it really would have benefited more had they been left out; some crude name-calling (“Stink Brain” and “Fart Breath”) among other things that felt very juvenile and immature. A few corny pokes and jabs.

The rest, however, was classic Disney and was quite hilarious! Several jokes that had the audience roaring (Nesquik sand, a Diet Coke lake with Mento stalactites dangling precariously above, among many other things), and the majority of the audience was over 18!

The film really speaks warmly towards the retro era of video games by contrasting them to Hero’s Duty, a modern game that demonstrates how violent and brutal games have really become. When we finally see the old, 12-bit games again it’s a sense of “Ahh, that’s more like it. There’s no school like old-school.”

As for the film’s central protagonist, Ralph is quite the lovable character who has a heart of gold in the end, and really doesn’t live up to his title as “the bad guy.” In fact, when he finally redeems himself, he’s all but the bad guy. And that’s one aspect I very much appreciated in the film. (Of course, it really wouldn’t be a Disney movie if they didn’t teach you something.)

What’s a Pac-Man cherry among friends?

“I am not a bad guy” he tells himself at the beginning, despite his past actions. “Yeah right” says everyone else. But when Ralph takes a journey that will redefine his entire character, you really come to love and appreciate the guy he turns out to be.

While Wreck-It Ralph may not be a huge production—-filled with grand, theatrical drama, sweeping dialogue, breathtaking cinematography, and an uplifting score—-it is what it’s meant to be. Family fun. Something that kids from 1-100 can appreciate.

In a nutshell:

On the outside, this film doesn’t look like much, and really doesn’t promise anything extraordinary. However, never judge the proverbial book by its cover. Wreck-It Ralph delivers quite a spectacle—-a feast for the eyes, and an experience one won’t soon forget. Apparently others thought as well, as this was Disney’s #1 grossing movie ever. It beat Tangled by over $1,000,000.

If you love Disney, video games, or simply a fun time, watch Wreck-It Ralph and be pleasantly entertained.

8.5 stars

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Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    An original story that soon starts to fly into conventions, but still kept my interest the whole way. Good review.

    • davidc1776 says:

      Yes, it did a feel slightly “typical” for a Disney film at times, but it ultimately redeems itself and becomes a worthy addition to the Disney archives. Thanks for commenting

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