Disney has been busy this week with its business transactions. Not only have they just acquired Lucas’ studio, but this weekend they decided to release their latest animated film Wreck-it-Ralph. For those of you without Disney Channel/ABC family watchers, or have missed the trailers before the movie, this is a film about video games. It starts out with a large hand, wild haired, bum look alike named Wreck-it-Ralph (John C. Reilly), who has been programmed to destroy a hotel complex that overtook his home. Fixing his path of rampage is a high pitched, repairman with a golden hammer named Fix-it-Felix (Jack McBrayer) who at the end of the day gets the glory, while Ralph gets the heave ho into the mud. Constant lack of Recognition though leads Ralph to leaving his game though, all in the pursuit of a token of glory he feels will change his life. So what did this reviewer think of this latest chapter in the Disney media? Read on to find out
To start my review off, I’ll start with one of the movie’s biggest strengths, the comedy. Many people who might be thinking, “This comedy is just for gamers,” are sadly mistaken in this viewer’s opinion. Yes, there are plenty of video game references to please my fellow electronic players, many of which are cleverly integrated into the story to keep the film fun and exciting. References like Mario Kart, Metal Gear Solid, and Pitfall are thrown throughout the movie that will have any seasoned veteran laughing in their seats and perhaps even calling out the reference in the theater. However, if you’re not that big on gaming, or have a very limited experienced in the game department don’t worry there are plenty of other things to make you laugh. The writers of the movie filled most of the dialog with a load of puns that are both cute and clever. Many of these puns are jokes you’ve probably heard a thousand times when hanging out with friends, but for me they still made me laugh. Even the scenery and world design was quite punny, taking brand names of some products and turning them into environmental hazards and traps. Of course if you don’t like puns, then this movie might annoy you after the sixth or seventh pun. However, for those who are young at heart like me, you won’t be disappointed. Not a fan of puns, well there is one last humor style in this movie that may persuade you to see the movie, a style I call Sue Sylvester style. Those who love the hot-blooded cheerleader coach from Glee will be happy to see her essentially digitalized into this movie in the form of Calhoun the army leader. Out of the hallways and into the battlefield Calhoun insults every single game entity that crosses her path, crossing into the word cover up lines like pussywillows at times. If you’re worried that her character will play a minor role in this movie, have no fears for Calhoun is in most of the movie.
The other thing this movie has going for it is the cute fun adventure that was laid out by their studios. I found very little, if any slow parts in this movie, as the directing team kept the adventure fast and on the move going from world to another. Each of the worlds added another element to Ralph’s character helping him discover the dormant hero sleeping inside of him. This adventure first has promise of dark, awesome action in the first person shooter world, which I can’t lie I wanted to see more of. Once our team gets to Sugar Rush though, the cuteness floods out into the theater. Not only is the world itself a cute display of candy coated puns and Disney cartoon citizens, but it also unfolds the relationship part of the story between Ralph and Venelope (Sarah Silverman). The pint sized driver has some spunk to her lines, but also has the ability to melt your heart with big eyes and even bigger heart. Her character’s background is a story of its own that integrates smoothly into the main plot, though it may bring a few awws out of you. Both stories have the same underlying message, and may even inspire you in some manner, either that or make you roll your eyes at being too cheesy. Despite the fun cuteness though and evolution of Ralph’s goals, the story is still predictable lacking very few twists from the trailer. However, if you’re taking kids to see it, or you’re a kid at heart you might not mind it.
What else is there to say about this movie? Again there is pretty good balance between the characters staying on the screen, which of course keeps the laughs fresh and new. On top of that the animation was very impressive for me. The characters moved based on their video games, such as the classic 8 bit blocky movements that were the precursor to modern games. What also made me happy was that I was able to follow all of the action scenes in this movie, instead of watching glitch filled, shaky camera shots that take away from the detail. Well at least most of the camera work didn’t take away from the detail, unfortunately Hero’s Duty was a little chaotic to follow and the brief screen time for the battle with the bugs was a little disappointing. Even the soundtrack was quite enjoyable and most of the songs fit perfectly with the scenes they were representing, especially Owl City’s theme at the end.
Wreck it Ralph is definitely a fun family film, and quite clever in many aspects. However, if cute and punny isn’t your cup of tea, then you best sitting this one out for now. My scores for this movie are the following:
Movie Overall: 8.5