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I'm Gonna Wreck It!
Wreck It Ralph (DVD)
Member Name: Dentolux
Wreck It Ralph (DVD)
Advantages: Some funny gaming gags that veteran players will enjoy, good CGI artwork, a sweet ending.
Disadvantages: Gets a little dull around the midway point, limited use of real life gaming stars.
Ralph, the movie's title character, lives in the arcade cabinet of the fictional platform game Fix-It Felix Jr (which shares more than a passing resemblance to Donkey Kong and Rampage.) His duty, as the game's villain, is to smash a virtual building that players have to repair by controlling the heroic handyman Felix. Ralph is disillusioned with his existence, as bad guys get no respect. Felix is showered with plaudits and gets to live in a penthouse whilst his co-star Ralph is forced to sleep alone in a scrap yard. The final straw for a dejected Ralph comes when he is not invited to a party celebrating the thirty-year anniversary of the Fix-It Felix Jr video game.
Determined to prove that he is more than just a lowly villain, Ralph decides to abandon the Fix-It Felix Jr universe and travel to other games in search of a hero medal. His first port of call is the sci-fi shooter Hero's Duty were he must brave the world's insectoid dangers to claim his prize. Surviving permanent death (a fate that befalls any character who perishes outside the confides of their own game) Ralph manages to procure a medallion, but promptly loses it when he crash lands on the Mario Kart inspired racing game Sugar Rush Speedway. To reclaim the medal he'll have to team up with Vanellope von Schweetz, a glitchy character who dreams of taking part in the Sugar Rush Speedway grand prix.
As far as characters go Ralph is likeable enough. Even though he is a villain in his game, he isn't a bad guy at heart (as evidenced by a scene were he helps out a homeless Q-Bert by giving him a Pac-Man bonus cherry to eat.) He's just a guy who wants to be appreciated. Unfortunately for him, his nature to wreck things can cause trouble even when he is only trying to address problems with the best of intentions. By abandoning his home he ends up putting both his game and Sugar Rush in peril. Firstly the Felix Jr cabinet has been declared faulty, as the antagonist is missing, and may therefore get shut down by the arcade's owner. Sugar Rush on the other hand faces a bug invasion as Ralph's entry into the game allowed a creature from Hero's Duty to sneak into the racing world (what is it with insects and their urge to swarm onto sugar?)
I have to say that I liked the relationship between Ralph and the hyper energetic Vanellope. Initially the pair butt heads, but Ralph ends up warming to her when he realizes how her circumstances mirror his own. In the same way that he is shunned for being a villain, Vanellope is ostracized by the residents of Sugar Rush just because of an error in her code that causes her to glitch. Their banter is brought to life by some good voice work from actor John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman who is no stranger to portraying animated characters.
Wreck It Ralph should prove to be a huge hit with youngsters as it delivers family friendly humor and bucket loads of exciting action. I'm only able to give it three stars though as adult viewers are unlikely to find it as charming or clever as something like Toy Story or Shrek. I enjoyed the references to real life video games early on, but was disappointed when the story started to focus more on the movie's original characters. I guess that is to be expected though as Pac-man/Tapper jokes are likely to go over the heads of this generation's youth (plus Disney don't want to go overboard paying for the rights to use third party characters.) From the trailer I was however expecting to see a lot more established gaming stars make an appearance.
As you would expect from a Disney release the movie boasts some decent animation, whose artwork fluidly changes to match the various gaming locales Ralph visits. The plot is decent, but I did start losing interest in it around the halfway mark. Thankfully a touching finale rescued the movie, which seemed to be going slowly downhill after a promising opening. I wouldn't say Wreck It Ralph is essential viewing, but if you have kids it's worth checking out at the cinema or buying on DVD. At the very least I can say it is a rare video game movie that doesn't suck.
Summary: Disney animated movie featuring some popular video game characters.