Videogame baddie Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) longs to be loved like his nemesis, Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer). Since people only appreciate heroes, Ralph uses the arrival of a first-person shooter at his arcade as a chance to change everyone’s perception of him. He sneaks into the game to win a medal, although in the process, he accidentally frees a foe that threatens the entire arcade. To save the day, he’ll have to learn how to be a good guy from Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), a mischievous young character inside a racing game.
Director: Rich Moore (“Futurama,” “The Simpsons”)
Writers: Newcomer Jennifer Lee and Phil Johnston (“Cedar Rapids”)
Notable Voice Actors: Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Ed O’Neill, Dennis Haysbert, Adam Carolla, Horatio Sanz, Maurice LaMarche, John Di Maggio
MY TAKE: Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” has the aesthetics of a Pixar film, the same reverence for videogames as “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” and zany characters reminiscent of ones from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Although the movie is a sweet adventure with a moral in the Pixar vein, “Wreck-It Ralph” appeals to its target audiences through very different means. Adults schooled in classic videogames will laugh out loud at the nods to Q*bert, Super Mario, Sonic, Street Fighter, and even newer games like Metal Gear Solid. Kids on the other hand will giggle, at the silly potty talk used by central characters Ralph (Reilly) and Vanellope (Silverman).
Similar to other computer animated films, this one absolutely benefits from a 3D presentation. The extra dimension breathes even more life into the characters and the environment. In ways that I wish “Tron Legacy” had done, “Wreck-It Ralph” transports you to an immersive computerized world where you legitimately feel like you’re inside a videogame. Slick visuals are partly responsible for this sensation, but the other key piece is the lighthearted electronic score composed by Henry Jackman, which bears the youthful exuberance of typical videogame tunes.
As Ralph, John C. Reilly is funny and lovable in his usual dopey, self-deprecating kind of way. His performance, like that of his co-stars Silverman, Lynch, and McBrayer may be predictable, yet it’s still satisfying. The most unexpected amusement comes from the story’s true villain King Candy, voiced by the immensely talented Alan Tudyk. He literally becomes so lost in the character that he’s unrecognizable until you see his name in the credits.
At times “Wreck-It Ralph” can be overly cutesy and lean too heavily on sophomoric humor, though it is a visually striking, well-crafted flick that will please gamers of all ages.