Score = A+
(Animation, Family/Comedy/ Rated-PG)
Review by: Kisho Wolfe
Logline: Sometimes being a bad guy just isn’t enough.
Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the villain veteran of an old school video game entitled: “Fix-It Felix Jr.” The 8-bit game cabinet has survived twenty-nine long years inside of an arcade now filled with new and improved games of high-definition caliber. On the thirtieth anniversary of the game’s existence, Ralph slumps home after a villain support group session, only to find the other characters of the game partying it up during an anniversary party. Of course, being the bad guy, receiving an invitation to such a party is nothing more than wishful thinking. Every day Ralph watches the town reward Fix-it Felix Jr. (voiced by Jack McBrayer—best known for his role as a page in NBC’s 30 Rock) with a shiny gold medal for fixing up the buildings Ralph destroys. But, where’s his medal? Why doesn’t anyone reward and love the villain for his contribution? Bad guys need love too!
Deciding he’s had enough of living alone in a pile of bricks and fed up with not being loved by the masses, Ralph decides to venture out into other video games to earn his own gold medal for proof that he deserves to live in the high-rise condominiums with the rest of the townsfolk. Luck is with him as he crosses into a high-tech, first-person-shooter with the final prize of the coveted gold medal he seeks, but the victory is short-lived thanks to a major misstep on his part. The mistake lands him into “Sugar Rush”—a sweet toothed, kart racing game where all the tasty pieces come together with a hearty helping of hidden drama for dessert—where he meets up with another major character, Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by the indelicate Sarah Silverman).
A smorgasbord of colorful characters, each with distinctive personality traits, made this movie a delightful indulgence! Everyone from the hard-nosed Sergeant Calhoun (voiced by the ever talented Jane Lynch) to the popular leader-of-the-pack, snooty girl, Taffyta Muttonfudge (voiced by Mindy Kailing—largely known for her role as Kelly Kapoor on another NBC hit, The Office) connected very well throughout the entire film. A large part of that connection had to do with some great writing. Sergeant Calhoun kept things interesting by spouting out kid friendly versions of adult toned anecdotes that seemed to hit the mark every time. There were also plenty of back and forth banter bouts that kept things moving, but not so much that the little ones would lose track of what was happening on the screen. During some of the emotional scenes, there was no mistaking the collective “awww” from the tiny voices that filled the seats around the theater.
Attention to detail was duly noted in this movie. The animation as well as the overall graphical look of the film was impressive. Little things like the way tiny dust particles swam through the sunlight that pierced through the chocolate jail cell bars were noticeable; or better yet, one could even appreciate the tiny fibers of fabric sticking out along Ralph’s flannel shirt. The colors in the film were as bold and rich as any Super Mario game and could quite possibly make you salivate at the thought of licking the sugar from one of those peppermint trees. Being a movie that involved video games, it was only natural to have a ton of references around every corner. The world-famous Konami code. Having one of the original video game bad guys at the head of the villain support group. Even the running, albeit respectful, gag of a nod to the oldie-but-goody Q-bert crew was a well received account of things in the gaming world.
All in all, “Wreck-It Ralph” is not a movie about video games, but more of a movie wrapped in a video game flavored coating. The desire to want more out of life and be loved by all is something the majority of us can relate to, although, there are the unfortunate few of us that tend to go turbo in situations for a different sort of outcome… “Wreck-It Ralph” gets an A+ for sheer entertainment, relevant plot lines and an overall good time at the movies for both kids and adults.