Wreck-it-Ralph is a Smash Hit: A Review of Disney’s Ingenious Blend of Gaming and Animation

BY WESLEY ROGERS

TOWER staff writer

 

Video games are fun and movies are fun, so putting the two together should cause an explosion great fun, but somehow, it has never worked out that way.  Movies that are based on video games turn out to be horrible pieces of cinema. They take their source material way too seriously, have the most ridiculous plot lines and cast the most obscure and least-talented actors ever. This is not the case with Disney’s newest animated feature film “Wreck-it-Ralph”.

When it was announced in the summer of 2012, the trailer showed Ralph, a villain who has been doing the same job for over 30 years, telling his story to a support group. The catch is the support group consists of classical video-game villains from the ghost Clyde from Pacman to more modern villains such as Bowser and Dr. Eggman. This got people excited: Disney making a movie about video-games using real licensed video-game characters? For many people, that was enough to make them go see the movie. Little did they know that this movie was more than a film, filled with just video-game character cameos; it tells a heartwarming and engaging story about a guy trying to find a better life for himself.

Ralph is a bad guy who no longer wants to be the bad guy. He wants to go out and win a medal like all the other good guys. This motivation to prove himself leads Ralph on an adventure that leads him to many interesting settings from the grim and dark action first-person shooter world of “Hero’s Duty” to the colorful and overly sugar-coated kart-racing game of Sugar Rush. These worlds, although not taken directly from any real video game franchise, are so well-designed that these worlds could be actual places in real video games like “Metroid”, “Gears of War” or “Super Mario.”

Ralph’s adventure also leads him to meet a stellar cast of characters. The characters and their respective voice actors is what make this movie shine. Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly from “Step Brothers,” in the beginning comes off as arrogant and self-absorbed, but by the end Ralph learns who he is and starts to embrace life Reilly delivers his lines in a way that it is easy to tell he had a fun time making this film with the other members of the cast.

Fix-it-Felix, the hero to Ralph’s constant wrecking, is played by Jack McBrayer known for his character Kenneth the page on the show, “30 Rock”.  McBrayer plays the benevolent hero who is always staying calm and collected, even in the most dangerous situations. McBrayer as Felix is hilarious when paired up with the overly brass and serious Sgt. Calhoun, played by Jane Lynch of Glee fame. Lynch’s use of exaggerated and well calculated insults are hilarious and are sure to leave a few parents laughing and children confused.

Last is the adorable over the top annoying Vanellope von Schweetz, voiced by the comedic Sarah Silverman. It is Vanellope who helps Ralph realize who he is and who he can become. The appeal of Silverman’s character is her highly adorable yet annoying way of speaking and thinking. Vannellope delivers funny insults towards Ralph that never lose their charm, and let’s face it, “who doesn’t love a bratty girl with dirty hair.”

This movie for all its greatness does have one fault. The musical score of Henry Jackman is phenomenal. It blends the music of well crafted orchestrated pieces with that of the video game 8-bit sounds that make the music natural and fun to listen to. The problem of this movie arises, in that for one of montage sequences, where Ralph is teaching Vannellope how to drive. They don’t use any of Henry Jackman’s music; they use “Shut up and Drive” by Rihanna. The song just feels out of place and shoehorned in. It starts in the scene suddenly and takes the audience by surprise, and although the song is about driving, it has more of a sexual connotation that doesn’t fit this movie at all.

Wreck-it-Ralph is a great film. The actors play their parts with emphasis and caring that it is easy to forget that these are real people voicing these characters. The actors also work well with one another. It is this interaction between the actors that give the movie its humorous charm. The musical score by Henry Jackman is fun and natural for this film, the choice for outside music, not that good. The way that the movie pays attention to story and characters first rather than having a mesh of endless video-game references is what makes Wreck-it-Ralph one of the best video-game movies ever, and the best animated movie of our time.

Wreck-it-Ralph is a movie that was made with gamers in mind, but it pulled of such a great story filled with colorful character that it can be enjoyed by any one. This is the kind of movie to watch with friends and family on a quite weekend at home.

Come back next week when we journey to the final frontier and into the darkness.

 

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