Ralph in Videogame Land

Wreck-It Ralph

2-D, 3-D

I have a thing for Disney movies, and I have a thing for video games. Combining the two puts me in Nerd Girl heaven. I had high hopes for Wreck-It Ralph and was not disappointed. WIR combines video game icons, moralistic story telling and humor to make a family friendly film for the generations.

Ralph is the delightful villain of the fictitious game Fix-It Felix Jr. After his stump is moved to a landfill, Ralph is so mad that he takes his anger out on the local apartment building reeking havoc on the citizens. Felix Jr. uses his magic hammer to repair the building and earn a medal that makes him the hero of the complex. But the animosity doesn’t end when the arcade closes; Ralph is shunned by everyone within the game. In an effort to win a medal and become a hero himself, Ralph leaves his game. On his road to self discovery, he travels through a first person shooter and a carting game that gives him a new perspective on life: he’s not the only misfit.

Gamers will be excited to see homages to their favorite games. Either in physical representation or verbal mentions, the movie runs the gambit of genres. In the Villain Support Group,  legends from Mortal Kombat, Sonic and Super Mario Bros. get together to accept their roles as villains. Game Central Station is teaming with character life and you can familiar creatures such Marlboros floating around. These are just a few examples how the movies take you into the game world, and I could spend all day making connections.

It’s more than just the cameos that make this a movie worth watching. In fact, non-gamers will enjoy the humor and story in this movie. The age old tell of discovering who you really are gets a 20th century face lift, but still tugs at the heart strings. In Sugar Rush, Ralph meets Vanellope, a glitch that is shunned by her fellow racers. The two makes friend and Ralph start to overcome his lack of self confidence by helping this little girl. The character’s growth is evident through out the movie keeping this from being some nonsensical child’s entertainment. It balances its sappiness with side splitting humor.

John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman really carry their characters. Reilly’s Ralph is great with the ones lines, and Vanellope shines with Silverman’s iconic potty mouth. (This includes the best gag in the movie involving a homophone gag on Hero’s Duty). The two actors are like their character, completely opposite but come together in a very harmonious way. This gives true depth to the character’s relationship.

WIR looks great. While it does not maximize its 3D capabilities, the CG is well done and brings a variety of character into a uniform look. The various video game characters do not seem out of place at all. But the best moments are when you see the games through the gamers’ eyes. The film takes on the look of the 8 and 16 bit games having some great fun with nostalgia.

This is a great family film that will thrill children and entertain adults. Gamers will be excited to see their favorite games represented on screen. It seems that this movie is on thing Ralph hasn’t wrecked.

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