‘Wreck-It Ralph’ brings video game characters to life
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
Being the bad guy in an arcade game is a tough gig. You work hard to do your job, do it well and still nobody likes you. The spotlight and the medals always seem to go to the hero.
“Wreck-It Ralph,” the new animated film directed by Rich Moore, has something for everyone. It has a great story, is aesthetically pleasing for the kids and also includes nostalgic references to classic games for the older generations.
Although Disney explores some original ideas with “Wreck-It Ralph,” it also treads familiar ground. The film’s premise is very much like the 1995 Pixar classic “Toy Story.” While “Toy Story” brings toys to life once people aren’t looking, “Wreck-It Ralph” brings video game characters to life once the lights go off in the arcade.
Ralph (John C. Reilly, “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”) is the villain in a “Donkey Kong”-style arcade game called “Fix-It Felix Jr.” At the end of each day, the hero of the game, Fix-It Felix, is awarded a medal for stopping Ralph from destroying the building where the townspeople live.
Ralph is feeling under-appreciated in the game. He lives in a dump full of bricks and is universally hated by the people he lives next to. Without him smashing the building, the game could not go on, but he is never awarded a medal for doing his job. To win respect from his peers, he feels that he must go on an adventure to another game in the arcade where he could be the hero and win a medal to bring back home.
Although Ralph is the villain of his game, he is a character one can really feel sorry for. Outside of his game he proves to be a truly caring character who is just looking for some friends. When Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer, TV’s “30 Rock”) and the townspeople throw a party without inviting Ralph, it strikes a chord for anyone who knows the feeling of being left out or being an outsider.
The outcast aspect of the character made him connect beautifully with fellow outsider Vanellope von Schweetz (stand-up comic Sarah Silverman), a smart-mouthed little girl from the candy-themed racing game, “Sugar Rush.” She too is an outcast, not because she is a villain, but because she is a glitch character, one that will, presumably, mess up the race if she participates.
The scenes in Game Central Station, the train station where the characters can socialize and travel between games after hours, is where the video game playing audience can really get their money’s worth.
The high levels of cameos from various video game characters such as Bowser, Q*bert, Dig-Dug and Sonic the Hedgehog is much appreciated.
Jane Lynch (TV’s “Glee”) does a great job as Sergeant Calhoun, a soldier from a brand new first-person shooter game, “Hero’s Duty,” which is much like a dark version of “Halo.” Lynch is just perfect casting for that fearless soldier role. McBrayer was also perfect as the short and upbeat innocent Fix-It Felix.
“Wreck-It Ralph” seems to wreck everything except for the quality of the film itself. It crosses familiar ground with its concept and themes, and it all comes together nicely to make it a film that anyone can enjoy.