'Wreck-It Ralph' Review By Thomas Clarke (Kiion)
Disney has done the impossible, made a worth while videogame film.
By not using an already developed staple for all major characters, the film is able to craft its own narrative based on games that do not exist. Due to this fact the production behind the film need not have worried about peoples perspective of what they want in a game as all audience members are new to the worlds that the production team have set about creating, and perhaps most important of all, the people behind this film have a general ambition to develop something that is not lackluster in its final production. From the beginning, Disney Animation Studio- 'Wreck-it-Ralph' being the 53rd film in the canon of films this studio has produced- have stated that they have set out to achieve for games what Pixar did for toys. Setting out with this goal has worked and the results are that this film is perhaps the first film based around video-games to actually work.
Ralph is a bad guy. Not that he is an actual bad guy but due to the coding in his game 'Fix-it-Felix Jnr.' he is the villain, constantly breaking up a penthouse in a 30 year old arcade game. By wrecking a building that is constantly having to be fixed by the title character, Ralph is outcast from the others that populate his world. After 30 years of this shame and loneliness he is finally fed up of not getting any credit for doing his job. To gain recognition Ralph leaves his game world and searches others in hopes of being rewarded a medal, the greatest accolade that a game character can achieve. Visiting two different and contrasting worlds in his search for the thing that will change his fate, Ralph interacts with other game characters. First is a 'Call-of-Duty-esque' game named 'Hero's Duty'. Seeking a medal that can be found on top of a beacon tower, Ralph fights against a swarm of angry alien bot creatures that are classed as a virus. In the battle however, complications occur and Ralph is transported to another gaming world: 'Sugar Rush' , a game that is very similar to karting classics such as 'Mario Kart'. Here he meets another outsider called Vanellope von Schweetz, an outsider due to being a glitch in a game. Together the two set about winning back the medal whilst also helping the glitched kart racer to become a roster member once more.
After having Ralph leave his game, Felix heads out to bring him back and in doing so will stop the machine being deemed out of order and becoming unplugged. On his search the young fixer meets Sergeant Calhoun, a no-nonsense leader from 'Hero's Duty'. Together the pair find Ralph and set about stopping the evil pans that are being undertaken in Sugar Rush.
As with all Disney films the animation in this film is top class throughout. The use of creating both original styling and 3D models of all the gaming worlds that feature within this film means that the film feels based in reality somewhat. This approach really helps the characters feel like they can exist in an arcade and seeing ralph designed in different ways; such as pac-man and tapper allows this world to feel fully developed. The choice to incorporate real video game characters into the world also brings about a more realistic approach to our knowledge of the video-game market. Having Sonic address passerby's in the hub like game world feels just right and seeing all the different cameos is like crossing a tick list of all favorites. Homages can be found outside different cameo appearances and with all going on it could easily take multiple viewings to find all that are hidden within its narrative. To go with excellent animation and a narrative structure that allows this world to feel based in ours is that of the voice work. John C. Reily is perfect as Ralph, maybe because Ralph seems to be a caricature of the actor. His voice fits in with the traits of the character and allows the character to never feel evil. This choice of mannerisms in which the title character talks, along with his actions, makes for Ralph becoming an instantly engrossing character for audiences to follow. Having an antagonist as a main character is hard to bring in audiences emotion, but having the pleasant voice of John speaking his words allows it to become a lot more easier. Sarah Silverman as Venellope allows the character to overload on the cheeky side of youth. You believe her age but also her desire to become accountable again. The stand out voice aside from the two mains is that of Jane Lynch. Her Sergeant is so much like her real life characters that it is uncanny in the way she is presented. It is a nice manner in which to see this actress, who has gained much attention from her role on the hit TV series 'Glee', and the similarities can be found throughout.
Maybe not as instantly classic as other Disney films, such as 'Lion King' or 'Beauty and the Beast', 'Wreck-it-Ralph' is still as good as any other of the recent studios releases. However there is the odd decision for the in-house studio to develop this story when perhaps Pixar seems the more obvious choice, but perhaps that decision was on purpose to showcase the fact that they can produce something different from their norm. With a stella voice cast, amazing animation and top notch 3D 'Wreck-it-Ralph' is still a fun filled action packed film from the house of mouse. As interesting for adults as it is for children, this will easily go down as the best-ever video-game movie, and rightly so. B+