The history of mixing video games and movies is filled with bad memories, but ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is a shining moment of retribution, and just in time for video game season. With the release of Assassin’s Creed 3, Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 all happening within a month of each other, video games are taking over, and ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is the very definition of “right time, right place.”
The movie is your standard redemption style story. Ralph, voiced perfectly by John C. Reilly (Step Brothers), is the bad guy in Fix-It Felix Jr. Basically, he smashes up an apartment building and Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) fixes it. Shocking, I know.
But Ralph decides he doesn’t want to be the villain anymore and sets out to become a hero by winning a medal. He finds his way to Hero’s Duty, a first person shooter where he joins a platoon of soldiers led by the ball-busting Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). Afterwards, he goes to the Mario Kart-inspired Sugar Rush where he meets the lovable glitch Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). However, Ralph’s journey unleashes a dangerous enemy from Hero’s Duty that threatens the entire arcade, and he, along with his friends, has to risk everything to save their virtual world.
‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is quite possibly one of the most reference-heavy films I’ve ever seen, with video references from the generic Call of Duty-style soldiers, to Sonic the Hedgehog public service announcements. There’s even a bad guy support group called Bad Anon, which features tons of recognizable villains and is run by one of the ghosts from Pac-Man.
While the references don’t make the movie, they are a highly appreciated fan service for gamers. Rest assured, even if you don’t catch all the references, you’ll still have fun with the over-the-top characters. One of the most interesting cameos was a split second shot of a virtual Skrillex DJ-ing a party.
After faltering for a few years, Disney’s virtual animation department has really hit it out of the park with this one. The visuals are crisp and beautiful, and each environment is rendered perfectly, from the bright and colorful candy world of Sugar Rush to the cold, dark nightmare world of Hero’s Duty. The characters are also well done, with characters from old games moving in blocky motions and newer generation style characters moving smoothly and cleanly.
The humor hits home for both younger audiences and older viewers and never seems overly-forced. Having said that, prepare yourself for every candy related pun you can think of in Sugar Rush. You might have a couple of “you have got to be kidding me” moments, but try not to get bogged down in it.
‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is a heartwarming, hilarious movie that’s perfect for kids, adults, gamers and non-gamers alike.
4 out of 5 reels.