Film Review: Wreck-it Ralph

Wreck-it RalphEven though computer games and movies seems like a match made in heaven, the two do not often mix. Try and think of a decent film based on a computer game and you’ll struggle. Resident Evil, Hitman, Final Fantasy, Doom – the list goes on and they’re all pretty terrible. Likewise, most computer games based on films are inevitably cash-ins and end up being rushed out and largely disappointing. However, Disney (no Pixar this time) have created a film that shows the two mediums can work together in harmony.

Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the bad guy in his videogame, Fix-it Felix, a Donkey Kong-esque arcade game in which he destroys buildings that Felix (Jack McBrayer) must fix before throwing Ralph from the top of the building. However, Ralph is tired of being the bad guy and wants in on the glory Felix receives. To do so, he leaves his game in search of a gold medal to prove he can be a good guy, invading games Hero’s Duty (Halo clone) and Sugar Rush (Mario Kart-esque racer) in the process. In Sugar Rush, he meets Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a little girl whom the other racers have outcast because she’s a glitch, and together they try and work together to solve their problems.

Wreck-it Ralph is a Mecca for computer game fans young and old; from the outset you’re bombarded with computer game references that date back to the early days of gaming as well as those that acknowledge the newer, more modern games. One viewing is simply not enough to take in all of the references and some will only be noticed by the most hardcore and eagle-eyed gamers (there is also a sneaky reference to Disney acquiring the Star Wars franchise). It is this level of detail that helps to create a rich and vibrant environment that is somewhat reminiscent of the Toy Story universe.

Wreck-it Ralph

Various ‘real’ computer game characters have small parts but the original creations slot into this world seamlessly. The relationship between Ralph and Venellope is a believable one and bears more than a slight similarity to Monsters Inc.’s Sully and Boo. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman provide excellent voicing to their respective characters, with Jane Lynch also contributing excellently with her role as Calhoun, Hero’s Duty’s troubled lead.

The story is typical Disney fair but that’s no bad thing; it still handles it with the style that has been lacking as of late. However, it does lose its way in the second half of the film slightly, perhaps due to spending a little too long in the overly cutesy Sugar Rush (perhaps a way of enticing the little girl audience who don’t much care for computer games). It also doesn’t throw any surprises in there or offer much new; it’s a story that feels a little too similar to past Disney (and Disney Pixar) titles just repackaged slightly. Having said that, the way Disney have gone about repackaging it is very clever and unmistakably meticulous.

Wreck-it Ralph is a fine addition to Disney’s catalogue and most definitely sits amongst its most revered titles. It might not have the uniqueness of Toy Story or the sentiment of Monsters Inc. but it has relevance. Like it or not, computer games are the new action figures and and board games, and Disney have made a film that recognises this and lovingly accepts them into its world.

4 pigeons

4/5 pigeons

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33 thoughts on “Film Review: Wreck-it Ralph

  1. vinnieh says:

    Terrific review, I’ve been hearing good things about this film.

  2. cinenemablog says:

    Hey, don’t diss board games, they’re back in style and I love’em.

    Otherwise, I loved this one as well but it was not challenging enough from an intellectual or emotional perspective to make my list of best movies of 2012. Frankenweenie and ParaNorman were the better movies. But W-I-R was loads of fun as well and I’ll most likely end up buying it on bluray.

    • No dissing of board games here, I love a good board game!
      WiR was a lot of fun and the video game references were brilliant but I agree it wasn’t quite up there with some of Disney’s past efforts. There was nothing particularly inventive about it but I did enjoy it quite a bit.

  3. Great review mate! 😀

  4. Tyson Carter says:

    Keep seeing such good things about this. Nice write up dude!! 🙂

  5. keith7198 says:

    Great job! My kids are having a fit to see this so ill be seeing it soon!

  6. I liked it a lot. Actually thought it should have beat out Brave for best Animated Picture (in what admitedly was a weak year for animated films) 😦

    • I haven’t seen Brave but I heard some very mixed things about it. Reaction seems much more positive for this. This is the first year I’ve seen most of the animated films and I didn’t think they were too bad. I thought ParaNorman and Frankenweenie were probably the best.

      • My vote also goes to Wreck-it Ralph over Brave. Ralph isn’t particularly innovative but still hits a lot of emotional highs; Brave felt like two completely different movies squished together.

      • It seems quite a few prefer this over Brave, not sure Brave was a particularly popular choice. I certainly wouldn’t have minded this winning the award.

  7. CMrok93 says:

    Awesome review Terry. It’s a fun movie that actually has a heart and has a message, underneath all of the video-game goofiness.

  8. Great review, Chris. I think a large part of what makes Wreck-It Ralph succeed where “video game movies” typically fail is that it uses video games as a setting for its own characters and story rather than trying to lift the “plot” from an actual video game.

  9. Issy R. says:

    Great review Wreck it Ralph is awesome. Its not better than most of the pixar films but I think it falls in the middle of the pack.

  10. ianthecool says:

    Your comparison to Toy Story seems suitable from what I know about this film. However, Toy Story had a lot of substance behind it which it sounds like this may not. So if we are not video game fans, will there be enough to hold us to this story?

  11. Still waiting for this one to become available at the Red Box. My boy keeps bugging me to check it out.

  12. ruth says:

    Awesome review Chris! I really wanted to see this a couple of weeks ago but it’s only available to rent on iTunes. This sounds delightful, hope to see it pretty soon!

    • Thanks very much Ruth! Can’t believe you have it on iTunes, it’s still on at the cinemas here! If you like Disney then I think you’ll enjoy it, the story is pretty classic Disney.

      • ruth says:

        Wow, it’s still in cinemas there? I think it’s odd that some movies open so late in different parts of the world. But hey, you guys did get Skyfall way ahead of everyone else.

      • Haha, that’s true! I must admit, there was a part of me that was rather smug we got that one first! It makes a change though, although I feel sorry for countries like Australia who get stuff a couple of months after we do and then some countries are even later than that. You’d have thought in this day and age release dates would be pretty much simultaneous. Some films are released universally across most countries so I don’t know why it doesn’t happen more often.

  13. Great review, man. I fell in love with this film.

  14. Loved this one! One of my favourite movies of the year so far and Disney’s best of recent times. Agree with you that the level of detail is meticulous and very well done. Great voicing from the cast too.

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