Sick of playing the villain and being painted as a bad guy, Wreck-it Ralph decides it’s time to change his destiny and prove to the inhabitants of his game that he can be the hero too. Review of Disney’s Wreck-it Ralph after the jump.
Wreck-it Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the villain in a retro arcade game called ‘Fix-it Felix’, Jr’. Every game Ralph climbs atop the single building in the game’s world and proceeds to wreck it – the player then directs the hero Felix to fix the building and save the day for the inhabitants. Ralph isn’t really a bad guy though – he’s a big lonely teddy-bear who would love people not to judge him on his job. Ralph just wants to be included and have a chance at being the hero for once.
Ralph decides enough is enough and sets out to game central station to find another game in which he can win a heroes cup. However, it turns out winning the cup might not be the hard part, as Ralph finds himself thrown into a ‘Sugar Rush’, a candy-themed kart-racing game with plenty of its own problems. In the sickening pink world, Ralph meets a fellow outcast in Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman), an energetic character who is a “system glitch”, who like Ralph has a dream to overcome the limitations placed on her within the game.
Wreck-it Ralph has an incredibly good premise and one of the funniest first acts that I’ve seen in an animated film for some time. I loved seeing the game from both the gamers (humans) and the characters (game inhabitants) point of view. The world behind the game was a lot of fun and did a similar thing for games as Toy Story did for toys – it provided us a glimpse into the private world of supposedly inanimate objects that is unseen by human eyes. The way the film linked the games and had characters from different games interacting was great, and provided most of the film’s laughs. Gamers will especially appreciate some of the gaming “in jokes”, but there is plenty of recognisable faces from childhood that non gamers can enjoy too.
Unfortunately once the world is established and Ralph has some adventures trying to get the heroes cup, it all becomes rather stagnant. At least an hour of the film is set in Sugar Rush which is fun initially, but soon becomes monotonous and boring. Vanellope von Schweetz’s story is just not that engaging, and it is really hard to get behind her character. The fact that Sarah Silverman’s voice is more annoying than cute might have something to do with that. It just feels like the film becomes unstuck in Sugar Land and almost abandons its original premise. Sure Ralph is learning to be a hero of sorts, but it’s on a mission that quickly loses its intrigue.
A side story involving Fix-it Felix (voiced by Jack McBrayer) and a commanding solider (voiced by Jane Lynch) adds nothing enjoyable to the film, and is simply exposition to set up the grand finale. The fact that the voice cast does nothing to elevate the film is extremely disappointing – I expected more from John C. Reilly especially.
While Wreck-it Ralph was a disappointment for me it still has some great elements; I just wish it had done something interesting with the awesome world it set up. However, kids might have fun with it, and it’s at least adult enough that the grown-ups won’t feel too stupefied watching it – not a bad option for a family holiday movie outing.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Rich Moore
Writer(s): Phil Johnston & Jennifer Lee (screenplay)
Starring: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch
Runtime: 101 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: December 26 2012; USA:November 2 2012