Ever wonder what life is like for Bowser or Dr.Robotnik? I mean what happens after Mario and Sonic fly through the level and get praised? Are the villains invited to the parties or are they just doing their job? That’s the story of Wreck-It Ralph.
Ralph comes from the game Fix-it Felix Jr. in which he plays the bad guy. His job is to destroy the building and the user plays as Felix Jr. After celebrating the 30th year of the games release, Ralph ( John C. Reilly) finds out he wasn’t invited to the 30th anniversary of the Fix-It Felix Jr. game, because…well, he’s a bad guy. He later goes to a bad-guy support group (held at the middle square of the Pac-Man Maze) with fellow villains, M. Bison, Bowser, Kano, Zyngief and Clyde, all from various games. They reassure him that he might be a bad guy, but he isn’t a bad guy. Thus he decides to win a medal (like what Felix wins during a game) to prove himself as a good guy and jumps from game to game breaking the rules.
It’s a very clever concept of what happens to games after the lights go off, sort of on the same line as in Toy Story of what happens to your toys when you’re finished playing with them. Keeping it mostly focused on retro-titles or retro-references makes it clear who the target audience is…the ones that grew up playing games in the arcade. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else can’t enjoy it either.
The movie is loaded with references to games along with cameos of various characters in gaming (although Mario was absent from the movie for some reason). It’s fun in itself to see the references and nods towards games which makes the movie show that the writers know their games. They know what a first-person shooter is, it shows when Ralph jumps to a game called “Hero’s Duty” and it’s there he sees a medal. That’s where he meets Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) who is as tough as tough can be. The reason why she’s so tough is explained in a pretty hilarious way.
After messing with the games he finds himself at Sugar Rush (a game similar to Mario Kart) and it’s there he meets Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). As Ralph jumps games trying to prove himself a hero, Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) is trying to get him back to the game since his absence makes the game “Out of Order” therefore destroying the world and making them gameless (homeless for the game characters) like Q-Bert.
Although it is great to see some of your favorite video game characters, the story itself is well thought out and executed very well. There are moments in the movie that will make you snicker while there are moments that will jerk your heart strings. This is all done thanks to the fantastic voice work of everyone involved. From the annoying but cute Vanellope to the gibberish speaking of Q-Bert it all delivers. There are some questionable song choices but other than that the package is great.
It’s also great looking movie too, since this isn’t meant to take place in the “real” world the characters can all expand and be as cartoony as they please. Hence why it’s OK for Ralph to have massive hands (he does break the building after all). Sugar Rush is very colorful and delicious looking while Hero of Duty is dark and gritty (like recent games). The game central (where most game characters hang out) is also a perfect “Train station” for all characters to hang out, which is pretty much the power bar of an arcade cabinet, while the wires act as a subway. The way the worlds are all connected and the way the worlds speak to each other is brilliant in that Ken and Ryu are actually buddies and they’re just doing their job, just like Ralph.
Wreck-It Ralph is a terrific movie. The story is unique and the characters are lovable. You’ll instantly fall in love with the environments and action scenes that perspire within. The animation is top-notch followed by jokes that some won’t notice and others will laugh at (Konami Code makes a very appropriate appearance). If you can’t tell by now the movie is a must see for cartoon-lovers, game-lovers and those old and young. It’s warm, it’s cute and it’s the closest to another Toy Story movie we can have. This isn’t because of all the game references (although that does help) it’s just a very well made movie. A movie that deserves recognition and praise for it’s great voice-acting and great detail in animation (most character in the arcades move with a little bit of lag to it just like the old 8-bit animations). It goes to show that Disney is well aware who their audience is becoming and work around it. Hopefully we will be seeing more of Wreck-It Ralph in the future since he’s really not a bad guy, but a bad guy.