Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph

Stars: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Alan Tudyk,

Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence, Running time 108 minutes, Animation/Comedy

Compare to: Toy Story (1995), Up (2009)

Of all the arcade games I’ve ever played growing up, Rampage! was my favorite. You picked your giant monster, be it a lizard, a gorilla or a wolf. Then you would proceed to destroy as much of the city as you could before the military destroyed. Reversing this concept is the in-film video game of Fix-It Felix Jr., where the player’s goal is to fix the apartment building that a over-sized hobo is destroying it. It’s one of the many aspects of the movie that will have viewers reminiscing of their days at the arcade while the smooth animation and usual kid-friendly adult joke combine to create a movie that’s not only fun, but gives a message that is normally the exact opposite of what we’re usually given in movies, especially animation.

I’ll get to that in a second.

In the arcade game described above, Wreck-It Ralph is the antagonist in a game titled Fix-It Felix Jr., where at the end of the game, if the player wins, the good guys all throw Ralph off the building and everybody goes home happy….everybody except Ralph. After thirty years of being the bad guy, Ralph wants a little more credit. So he decides to hop on over to a different game and see what kind of heroic acts he can accomplish. The problem comes comes when Ralph’s game is turned on, and he’s not there. So while Ralph does what he can to achieve his goal and be somebody, havoc is wreaked everywhere else.

Thankfully, most of the story wasn’t given away in the trailers and you don’t feel like you know the entire point before it happens. It’s something Disney, for all it’s monopolies and corporate overlording, excels at; making a movie kids can enjoy that don’t allow the adults or any other age demographic to feel bored by. Nothing ever feels so tongue-in-cheek that it ever gets too clever for its own good, something Dreamworks and other films feel all too unaware of. While featuring contemporary pop songs and other music I don’t necessarily care for save for the instrumental score, it’s never felt as though I was being elbowed by the screen while having the creators say “Hey, ya like this don’t ya? Yeah, you do! Everybody does! This movie is cool!” It’s balanced and has it’s own voice rather than trying to keep up with the times.

The cameos are fun too. If you play video games, used to play video games, or just know anything about a video game, you’ll nearly be distracted from the main characters and story to spot something you know. I’m not going to spoil any of them for anyone not seeing the film until later but there are many times you’ll wish you could pause the screen to point out these quick appearances. Often times, speaking roles for these cameos even go to the current voice actors who portray these characters currently. Sonic the Hedgehog for example, shows up for a moment and is voiced by the guy who normally does it (Roger Craig Smith, FYI).

But the theme is actually something to get behind and it’s not one we’re used to hearing in film, ever. It mostly touches on being happy with your own self. It doesn’t say you’re stuck where you are so you better get used to it, but understanding yourself and your place in life. I didn’t get the idea we were being told that “There’s nothing wrong with you! Don’t try to better yourself!” either, which is what we’re used to hearing. The character’s only real problem in many of these cautionary tales is that he wants to fit in with the popular kids so he becomes someone else and by the end of the movie, he realizes that there’s nothing wrong with him so everybody can deal with it. Actually there’s a huge problem with you taking an entirely different personahe can be accepted. This wasn’t doing that so much as was reminding us that there’s nothing wrong with being happy where you are.

Society will tell us that you must have high aspirations but some people are happy working a 9-5 desk job or being a garbage man. This film is a healthy reminder of that.

Grade: B+

 

One Response to “Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph”

  1. Chris H Says:

    Rampage was AWESOME!!! I remember playing that for hours on end. Look forward to seeing this movie.

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