The latest offering from the wonderful world of Disney is a colourful concoction of child-friendly 3-D animation and video game style action known as Wreck-It Ralph. The film takes the viewer inside the world of the video arcade and shows us what actually goes on inside the games that reside there.
The story revolves around Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly), a huge oaf with enormous hands and a serious appetite for destruction, who happens to be the resident "bad guy" in a game called Fix-it Felix Jr. (think of a cross between Donkey Kong and Rampage). Every time a quarter is dropped into the slot of this particular game, he smashes up an apartment building until it is repaired and he is thwarted by the hero of the game Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer), a real goody two-shoes who seems to be loved by all. Ralph is lonely since no one wants to be around him after work and he attends meetings at a support group for fellow misunderstood bad guys. Of course, in typical Disney fashion he undergoes an identity crisis and sets out to become a hero by leaving his game and entering a violent first-person shooter game called Hero's Duty in order to procure a medal that he thinks will make him a "good guy." While battling rampaging insects, he encounters the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of the hilarious Jane Lynch). When things go seriously awry for Ralph he is ejected from Hero's Duty and launched into another game known as Sugar Rush (think a cross between Candyland and Mario Kart), where he meets fellow outcast Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of the always funny Sarah Silverman), a sharp-tongued young girl who is more than a little annoying to poor Ralph. Vanellope is a "glitch" in her game but all she yearns for is the chance to be able to race a candy car like all of the other girls. Of course they become friends and aid each other in their quest for acceptance while dodging obstacles along the way.
Wreck-It Ralph is a really fun film that will definitely appeal to children since it has a slew of colourful and funny characters as well as eye-popping visuals. I appreciated the attention to detail in regards to the behind the scenes environment of the games themselves as well as the multitude of cameos from recognizable characters such as Pac-Man, Q*bert, Bowser and Sonic the Hedgehog.
I felt, however, that the film spent a bit too much time in the land of Sugar Rush with its landscape of gumdrops and lollipops and the hectic sequences clearly were skewing the film to a younger audience. Some adults may grow tired of the constant colourful chaos.
The film does have a sentimental heart to it though and it is very cute and sweet so I certainly can't be too hard on it. I think you'd have to be a very cynical curmudgeon to not get any enjoyment out of Wreck-It Ralph. I definitely smiled quite a bit throughout the film.
I'd also like to single out the wonderful black and white animated short called Paperman that precedes the film. It's a blend of hand-drawn and computer animation that features a beautiful little romance tale that is simply delightful.
Overall, I think that Wreck-It Ralph is a fine piece of family entertainment that, while not quite at the level of some of Pixar's great work, is still well worth seeing on the big screen. I have to say though that the 3-D doesn't really add anything more than depth to the film so you can probably save a few bucks on that front.
I give Wreck-It Ralph an 8 out of 10.