Wreck-It Ralph Movie Review
Director: Rich Moore
Release Date: November 2, 2012
Running Time: 108 minutes
Editor's Rating: 4 out of 4 stars
Have you ever wondered why the premise of Toy Storywasn't taken anywhere else? There were so many other things we kids played with in our youths that we left behind from time to time. Well, Disney, taking a cue from their frequent partner Pixar, decided to take a look at a familiar old haunt from last generation's childhood - the arcade. What is practically a relic now used to be all the rage when I was younger, and well before that - all the coolest video games you couldn't play at home, collected in one darkened, often black-lit mecca where kids of all ages spent quarters and good times. I killed my fair share of brain cells on games like Golden Axe and Street Fighter II, and still mourn for the old arcade that used to be a ten-minute drive from my house. It's now a tanning salon/iPhone repair shop. Times change, and not always for the better.
But then imagine my surprise and excitement when Disney came out with this gem in 2012 that took place inside arcade games, inside those old wooden cabinets I used to know and love. And then imagine me forgetting about the movie and getting it for Christmas a year later.
This movie is a gem. John C. Reilly's take on Ralph is a charming mix of heart and brutishness, and the movie takes great pains to get the audience to overlook his flaws in a "that's just what I am" kind of fashion. The video game that bears his name has him busting apart an apartment buidling, while the game's hero, Fix-It Felix, voiced by Jack McBrayer, is controlled by the game's player and cleans up Ralph's messes and defeats him. McBrayer brings his genial and upbeat personality to the character like it was written for him.
Yet after 30 years of being the villain, Ralph is tired of being the bad guy. Of being hated by all the inhabitants of his own video game, with the exception of Felix, whose personality makes Santa Claus look like Ebenezer Scrooge. There are other games out there, with other possibilities.
All of the video games in the arcade he inhabits are connected. The hours when the arcade is open is treated like a day job, and once the video games are shut off, the characters inside them meet and greet and have a grand old time, like I always fantasized they did when I was younger. However, Ralph aspires to become a character in another video game, a move that leads to both the game with the absent character and the game with one extra dude in it glitch, which can cause in both machines being removed from the arcade and lost forever. Knowing the risks, Ralph tries anyway and unknowingly embarks on a quest to redeem himself and save the entire arcade.
If you're looking for some kind of deep storytelling or unexpected plot twists, you don't really need to see this movie, but you should. It's loaded with fun, fantasy, and nostalgia for those that grew up with Atari, Nintendo, and brightly-colored joysticks indicating the player colors (red - player 1, blue - player 2, yellow - player 3, green - player 4). The voice acting is talented, well cast, and spot-on. It's truly just a fun movie, and to be honest, that's all you need a lot of times. Something to make you smile and enjoy life, to make you giggle and think to yourself "God, wasn't that the best way back when?"
Wreck-It Ralph is a cute and quirky experience for young and old. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I know you will too.
*This movie was given to the author as a gift with no reimbursement or quid pro quo expected in return from the author.*