Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is a bad guy, and he’s tired of it. After constantly being overshadowed by his games titular hero, Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer), Ralph sets out to claim a medal of his own and prove that he can be a good guy, too. However, after game jumping, he ends up in Sugar Rush, where he loses the medal after he meets the misfit Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). She agrees to help him get his prized medal back if he helps her win a race to get a spot on Sugar Rush’s character selection screen.
I love to play video games and grew up on the likes Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man, and many others. So when I first heard that Disney was creating a movie in the world of video games, as you can imagine, I was pretty excited. Finally I would get to see my favorite game characters together on screen. Wreck-It Ralph, the resulting mash up, was greater than anything I could have imagined.
Wreck-It Ralph is the Who Framed Roger Rabbit of video games. There are characters from Nintendo, SEGA, Konami, Capcom, and many more that I can’t even remember right now, all interacting together. When the characters are walking through Game Central Station, a parody of New York City’s Grand Central Stations located in the power strip, there are many, many cameos. You really have to look close to catch them all, and even after a few viewings I am still finding nods and references I haven’t caught before. It’s a real nostalgia trip.
There are four distinct worlds in Wreck-It Ralph: The “real world”, Fix-It Felix, Jr., Hero’s Duty and Sugar Rush. The animators did a great job of making each world feel unique. The world of Fix-It Felix, Jr. has a flat color palate reminiscent of the 8-bit era. Everything is based around squares; The dust is square, cake splatter is square, even the characters only move at right angles. Hero’s Duty is much darker and has greater contrasts and sharper edges than the other worlds. On the other hand, Sugar Rush is much more colorful than the others and everything is rounder and softer. These little nuances between each world makes each one a unique experience.
Reilly wouldn’t have been my first choice to voice Ralph, but he did phenomenal in the role. His humor carried over well from his movies like Step Brothers and Cedar Rapids and made the part energetic, while at the same time not becoming overbearing. McBrayer and Silverman fit their roles appropriately and Jane Lynch filled the role of the no-nonsense Sergeant Calhoun surprisingly well. But the biggest surprise was Alan Tudyk as King Candy, the ruler of Sugar Rush. I didn’t even realize it was him until the credits rolled! He did an amazing job and I hope he does more voice acting (He voiced the Duke of Weselton in the more recent Frozen, but that was only a minor role). Disney did great casting the right people for this film.
Like most Disney movies, Wreck-It Ralph has a lot of heart. I’m sure almost anyone can relate to Ralph’s struggle to be accepted by those around him or Vanellope’s desire to fit in. The oddball relationship Ralph and Vanellope formed together can be seen in many of our own friendships. Whether you are an adult or kid, you can find some part of yourself in this movie.
Wreck-It Ralph pays homage to many of the great video game characters and successfully brings them all together, very similar to the cartoon characters in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The animation is superb and each video game world feels distinct. Every voice actor was perfectly cast, but Tudyk stole the scene as King Candy. There is a lot of heart to the story and something for everyone to relate to, either in the story or characters. Disney has once again created an animated masterpiece that everyone, young and old, can enjoy.