Disney animated film a joy to watch
If you’re in the market for a feel-good, tooth-achingly sweet movie, “Wreck-It Ralph” will be the one for you.
This animated feature from Walt Disney Studios has it all – engaging characters, coherent plot, humor, originality and the cleverest use of visuals to hit the big screen this year. It’s so good that you just want to hug it after it’s over.
“Wreck-It Ralph” revolves around the existential crisis of the villain in the popular arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr. Every day for the past 30 years, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) has been diligent in his duties. He throws bricks, smashes windows, punches through foundations and stands by as Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) gets all of the glory for undoing his mess.
He’s not one to complain – after all, being the bad guy was how he was coded – but after another celebratory shunning in the community of Niceland, he decides he may have had enough.
After a visit to the Bad-Anon support group, (his fellow participants include Zangiet from Street Fighter, Clyde the ghost from Pac-Man and my long-time nemesis Bowser from Super Mario Bros.) he decides he has definitely had enough. He wants out. He wants recognition for being a good guy. And to prove to the people of Niceland that he has what it takes, he joins the game Hero’s Duty to try to get a good guy medal.
The only problem with this scenario is that arcade characters are not supposed to hop into another game. It’s taboo and strictly forbidden. Sure, they can all hang out together at Game Central Station when the arcade closes for the night, but they cannot go into another game. Ralph discovers the challenges the hard way when he finds he’s not equipped to fight menacing Cy-bugs in the first-person shooter game.
In between game resets, Ralph spots the Hero’s Duty medal at the top of the mountain. As he goes to capture the coveted piece of recognition, he steps on a Cy-bug egg and unleashes havoc.
After being inundated, Ralph manages to escape into the kart racing game Sugar Rush with a Cy-bug in tow. As he’s not coded for Hero’s Duty, Ralph fails to recognize the threat a Cy-bug poses but the games no-nonsense commanding officer, Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch) does and sets off with Felix to try to fix Ralph’s mistakes before it becomes catastrophic.
While in Sugar Rush, Ralph meets a young, would-be racer named Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). All Vanellope wants to do is race, but is banned from doing so in real-game time as she’s considered to be a glitch. After hours races determines who gets to be featured drivers when the arcade opens, but in order to race for a spot one has to use an earned coin from a previous win. Because Vanellope has none, she uses the Hero’s Duty medal to enter.
To soothe an irate Ralph, Vanellope promises he can keep her medal if he helps her win the upcoming race. Only it’s not that easy. It turns out that Vanellope has never driven before (she just has a hunch she’ll be good) and now has she has to find a new kart after rivals smash her homemade one. It also turns out that something sinister is afoot in Sugar Rush and it’s not just the adapting Cy-bugs simmering in the syrupy recesses that threaten their world.
“Wreck-It Ralph” is a unique movie. It takes you inside the arcade games of yesteryear, draws you into the characters, and makes you marvel at the sights, sounds and lives of the game’s inhabitants. It also shows you how far game designing has become.
This movie was really a pleasure to watch. It’s short, snappy, colorful and endearing, but the best thing about the experience is that it leaves you wanting to press the reset button and watch it all over again. Grade: A-
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.