5 out of 5 stars (one of the best films I have ever seen, period)
Note: My opinion on this film has changed after a few viewings. It is not a perfect film, but I would still give it a four star rating (one of the best films of the year). If you have not seen this, I highly recommend it, especially if you like video games or animation in general. Please enjoy my review below.
Disney is on a comeback trail. It’s returning to the elements that made its original animated movies great: Loveable characters, a unique story, and more clean but hilarious humor that kids, teens, and parents can laugh at. “Tangled” started Disney’s fast-track return to stardom. “Frankenweenie” was funny, but had an overly macabre tone for a kid’s movie. Disney’s newest film, “Wreck-It Ralph”, comes even closer to that old Disney charm that we all love. The animation is beautiful, the voice acting divine, and the characters all so great you almost can’t believe it.
This charmer is about Wreck-It Ralph (Hilariously voiced by John C. Reilly, “Step Brothers” and “We Need to Talk about Kevin”), the villain in the “Fix-It Felix Jr.” video game that resides in a local arcade. Ralph is tired of doing the same old thing every day. For the past 30 years, he’s been wrecking the building, waiting for Felix (Jack McBrayer, TV’s Kenneth “30 Rock”) to fix it, and then getting thrown off the building by its inhabitants while Felix receives a “Hero’s Medal”. I would have quit and attempted to find work elsewhere if I was this guy, but that’s just me.
On the eve of the game’s 30th anniversary, Ralph goes up to Felix’s penthouse to enjoy the party that’s being held there. Since he’s the “bad guy”, Ralph gets a reception more chilly then the new kid that comes in at the 2nd semester of the school year. He unintentionally wrecks the place and then sets out to get a medal in another game in the arcade to earn the respect of the inhabitants. Since he can’t get a medal in his own game, he travels through Game Central Station into “Hero’s Duty” to try his luck there. He meets tough military commander Calhoun (Jane Lynch being well, Jane Lynch). This game is like “Halo”, a fast, first-person shooter where you have to kill giant bugs to receive a medal at the end. Ralph gets the medal via cheating, and good old karma throws him into “Sugar Rush”, a “Mario-Kart” type game where he meets the kinetic Vanellope (Rhymes with Penelope) (A hysterical Sarah Silverman), who “borrows” his medal in order to get placed in a race held by King Candy (Alan Tudyk). This guy is basically a CGI version of the Mad Hatter from the 1951 “Alice in Wonderland”. Ralph and Vanellope make a deal: he gets his medal back if he helps her win the race. (“I can feel it in my code”, she says). Meanwhile, Ralph’s absence has caused a problem to arise in his game: It’s in danger of being unplugged. Felix, being the Good Samaritan, decides to find Ralph along with Calhoun, who’s hunting the bug that came through with Ralph when he entered “Sugar Rush”.
I know it’s a little lengthy, but there are a good amount of plotlines in “Wreck-It Ralph”. Every detail is important, every character as well. They are well-developed (Calhoun has the most tragic backstory ever) and the voice talents go perfectly. You don’t have to be a video game geek to enjoy this film: I’m not, and I, an 18-year-old, college-bound male, gave it 5 stars. Now that’s something. There is literally nothing wrong with this movie. I cannot stress enough how amazing it is. There are so many funny references to other films and games. The movie is as far from predictable as an animated movie can get. There are so many different layers to the film that it’s almost indescribable. There are multiple themes in this movie that also make it great. Ralph begins thinking he’s a bad guy just because he’s the bad guy in his game, but he learns to accept himself for who he is in the course of his adventure. Vanellope also has a glitch throughout the entire movie, but she sees it as something that individualizes her and doesn’t let herself be put down by others when they treat her badly. The message that disabilities are positive attributes is handled sensitively enough so that the audience doesn’t feel as if they’re being hit over the head with it. Disney has always been able to put mature themes like these in their animated movies to a level that kids will understand and their parents won’t roll their eyes and think, “Oh My God, I’m being preached to”. Do not let the advertisements fool you; this CGI Disney comedy almost made me cry in a couple of places. The writers of this film knew what they wanted to do, and they accomplished it as well as the possibly could. Attention to detail is also very astounding. In Ralph’s Avon Anonymous group, he’s drinking out of a little coffee cup when he’s a big, strong guy. My mother, who was initially skeptical, said she loved this movie, along with my 15 year-old sister, Carol. She didn’t want to see it in the first place, but she loved it as well. Now, swinging my dad will be another story….
Rated PG for Some Rude (Yet hilarious) Humor and Mild Action/Violence
P.S.: The only negative part of my experience at this film was when they showed a teaser for “The Smurfs 2”, out summer 2013. Great.