From the first moment I laid eyes on the trailer for this movie, I was hooked. I would imagine many people had a similar reaction, a story pulling at emotional heart strings attached to such enjoyable and formative memories from childhood. I’m referring, of course, to video games. Every once in a while you feel like you belong to such a perfect demographic that it’s almost as though a movie was tailor made for you specifically. You swath yourself in the sartorial equivalent of a cinematic experience, enjoying each and every inside joke because you know the writers had your comedic measurements in mind when they wrote the thing. And that’s only part of the magic that “Wreck it Ralph” brings to the table.
“Wreck it Ralph” tells the story of Ralph, a video game villain from the 80s who grows weary of constantly being the bad guy. In the world of “Ralph,” video game characters are acting out their job based on the programing of their games, but Ralph yearns for something more than the lot he was assigned in life. This is the heartwarming story of Ralph’s epic journey to become his own kind of hero, and the redemption he finds along the way. Also video games!!
The first thing you notice about “Ralph” is the loving care with which this video game world was created. Not only is the vast array of different characters impressive, especially considering how closely guarded copyrights are guarded these days, but the attention to detail was at times truly incredible. I would venture a guess that the most memorable part of the trailer for people who watched it was the video game villain support group scene, and even having watched already it was still a standout part of the movie. So many of the classics are right there! Zengief from Street Fighter, Clyde from Pac-Man, Doctor Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog… the list of cameos goes on and on. But the personality ascribed to these characters is what actually draws you into Ralph’s world, more than just paying homage or lipservice to the games of yesteryear.
While the villain support group is one of the most memorable scenes, the rest of the movie is just overflowing with gamer winks and easter eggs. It constantly pokes fun at common video game tropes, weaves together a diverse selection of believable game settings, and has fun transforming older graphics into a brand new medium (like the purposefully pixelated feel to the world that Ralph himself lives in). I don’t even want to keep writing about the wonderful characters you meet because I don’t want to spoil some of the surprises you’re in for!
And the classic characters being brought to life only account for half the fun you get with a viewing of “Wreck it Ralph,” because along with our eponymous hero, the film creates sensational new foils and heroes based in part on familiar genres in the video game industry. The voice acting is top notch, and Sarah Silverman as Venellope finds an incredible balance between sweet and salty. Jayne Lynch and Jack McBrayer as Calhoun and Felix, respectively, are such perfect matches for their characters you literally can’t imagine anyone else doing their voices. And John C. Reilly brings an amazing amount of heart and humor to main man, Ralph himself.
I think if there’s one weak point in this movie it’s the uneven pacing. While I loved the story, parts of it seemed to drag at times while others rocketed past you so fast, if you blink you miss it. So while the cohesiveness of “Ralph” may have suffered at times, it’s such a minor complaint you might not even notice it because you’re having too much fun enjoying the rest of the movie!
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!
~ Jonny Green