Wreck-It Ralph (2012) Review
I don’t generally get excited for animated film. I also usually squirm whenever I hear that John C. Reilly (imdb.com) is attached to any project. But I had high hopes for Disney’s 2012 film, Wreck-It Ralph (imdb.com). From the trailer I knew that I would love it from pure nostalgia.
Here’s the basic rundown of the story (No Spoilers, I promise):
The villain from a classic video game is sick of being a “bad guy” and jumps from his game to other games in the arcade in order to get a medal that proves he can be a hero. In the process of jumping between games he accidentally triggers events that could cause a number of games in the arcade to get “unplugged” forever.
Although the story is predictable, it’s still solid in its foundation. Anyone who has any clue of how stories are built (or anyone who watches a lot of movies) will know ever plot point within the first ten minutes. But, that’s not to say it’s poorly done. The foreshadowing in that first ten minutes is really well placed. There are subtle notes that could slip by if you’re not paying attention; and that’s what makes Wreck-It Ralph’s story still work for me. The foundation is there, it’s solid and not going anywhere. Read a book about scriptwriting, WIR plays into the conventions to a tee.
So what makes WIR’s story worth seeing for an adult audience? That’s easy! The way that the writers wrapped all the real, classic games (Street Fighter, Q-Bert, etc) together with the fictional games (Fix-It Felix Jr., Hero’s Duty, Sugar Rush) was genius. It’s got a brand new story that uses icons from our childhood (my childhood anyway) to create a rich environment that’s full of nostalgia and quarters.
The one reason I was actually weary going into Wreck-It Ralph was because of the voice talent attached to it. I’ve already mentioned that I was nervous because of John C. Reilly. But, I’m also not the biggest fan of Sarah Silverman (imdb.com). Her voice usually annoys me. Then there’s Jane Lynch (imdb.com) and Jack McBrayer (imdb.com), both of whom I’m sort of “meh” about.
All four actors have very distinct voices. But each of their voices and natural mannerisms were really brought into the characters they portrayed. When you think of Jane Lynch, (because of the roles she usually plays) you think of a bad ass that doesn’t take anyone’s crap but ultimately has a soft spot (think Sue Sylvester from Glee (imdb.com)). Calhoun (voiced by Lynch) is the exact same character. The same goes for Jack McBrayer. Compare his character (Kenneth Parcell) from 30 Rock (imdb.com) to Fix-It Felix Jr.; they have the same tendencies.
Sarah Silverman, whose voice annoys the crap out of me, really works as the annoying, hyperactive little girl from Sugar Rush. And John C. Reilly, who natural sounds like a big oaf that breaks everything, plays a big oaf that breaks everything. All four actors were sort of typecast into their roles, but it really works when they’re paired with their characters.
I’ll be blunt with this: Wreck-It Ralph has the best title sequence I’ve seen in years! It’s original. It’s colorful. It’s simply awe-inspiring. Pixar’s touch on Disney is definitely felt throughout all the animation, but the ending title sequence blows anything I’ve seen by Pixar out of the water. I wish I could get a clip to show you guys, but I couldn’t find one. Guess you’ll just have to go see the movie.
In true Pixar style (even though this wasn’t a Pixar film), Wreck-It Ralph was preceded by an animated featurette that’s absolutely breathtaking. Paperman (imdb.com), follows a young office worker that uses paper planes to help him find love. I have NOTHING negative to say about this short. The animation is gorgeous. The story is basic and simple. There’s no dialogue to cloud up the simplicity. And the music is just superb. This short alone was worth the $9 ticket.
Is Wreck-It Ralph a kids’ movie? Yes. Will an adult audience enjoy it? Yes. Is it worth seeing? Very much, YES! Director, Rich Moore (imdb.com), who’s worked on The Simpsons, Futurama, and Drawn Together was able to pull together voice talent that fit his characters, beautiful animation, nostalgic game characters, and a simple story that,when combined, make for a very enjoyable 101 minutes. Overall, I give Wreck-It Ralph an 8/10. Kids and adults alike will get a kick out of it.
Check out the trailer if you’re clueless as to this point: