Review: Wreck it Ralph

wreck it ralph

After loading up Wreck it Ralph, a welcome familiarity soon sets in.

Inhabiting the similarly themed story worlds as Toy Story and Monsters.Inc, this time with arcade game characters coming to life after the kids have spent all their coin(s), Disney proves again that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

Appealing to children and parents alike, the  formula is still solid and relevant. More than ever here it’s as enjoyable for gamers of yesteryear – todays Mums and Dads, with a reminiscing trip of all that was great in games  with references that are no doubt lost on today’s digital kids.

Pressing START, we get a voiced over introduction of Ralph (John C. Reilly), chief villain and wrecker in retro game ‘Fix it Felix’. Tired of being underappreciated and misrepresented as the bad guy, thirty year veteran Ralph just wants to one day – save the day, taking matters into his own ham-hands to find another pixelated world to have his hero day in the sun, ushering in a glorious trip across multiple gaming worlds all within the inner space of the outer world arcade.

Ralph’s expansive little big planet worlds are a delight to behold, beautifully crafted and highly technical, they’re the type of roaming electric realms gamers would love to control!

The Halo – Gears of War hybrid ‘Hero Duty’ world plays brilliantly to introduce badass heroin Calhoun (Jane Lynch) with a pulsating, high adrenaline set piece while the speed racer world of ‘Sugar Rush’ looks sweet enough to lick, presenting the button nosed, cute as can be ‘glitch’ Vanellope (Sarah Silverman)

But it’s not just the visual candy that pleases the most, thematically, Ralph is brilliant too, with misfits Ralph and Vanellope joining forces to find a place within their own worlds, outsiders just wanting to belong and be loved. The central friendship is as sweet as the candy-land itself, it’s far more human than digital. In-game champion Felix (Jack McBrayer), too goes on a journey of true heroism, a celebrity in his own game, out of his depth in the wider world.

The main game nasty, King Candy (Alan Tudyk) is pretty tame with a far more perilous end boss battle coming too late to create a genuinely memorable Disney Villain, but the voice casting all round is absolutely spot on, all fitting perfectly with their digital personas from Reilly’s familiar goofyness and heart to McBrayer’s plucky innocence, with strong and welcome female leads coming from fellow Talladegan (Nights) Lynch who just pips the occasionally vexing kart racing Silverman.

You don’t need to be a gamer, retro or otherwise to enjoy what is a beautiful piece of pixelated storytelling, and it may actually prove more distracting to the initiated as the eye turns towards the background, playing out as a gaming Easter egg hunt. The inevitable bill-boarding of big game brands and characters at times feels cynical but is thankfully not too overbearing allowing a warm feeling of gaming nostalgia to flow through Ralph, with conjured heart felt (thirty-something) gaming memories just as fluffy as the on-screen warming heart.

Whether you like your pixels old school blocky or hi-def, by staying true to its brilliant core of relatable digital characters, wonderful storytelling and gorgeous worlds, Disney has done it yet again, proving that it will never, ever likely be GAME OVER, no matter what age or worlds those electronic adventures take us too.

new 4 star

31 responses to “Review: Wreck it Ralph

  1. Loved the movie even though it can bring on a diabetic rush. I speak QBertese, others will too. For a marvelous book using the games of old as major it points look up READY PLAYER ONE on your Reader or Amazon. See my review on my blog.

  2. This one disappointed me, personally, but it’s still a decent enough movie. I’d have to watch it again to rate it, but I remember feeling around 3/5 about it. That’s not too shabby… but I went into this one excited, and hoping for a solid 5.

    Great review.

  3. Great review, Kevin! I enjoyed this more than I thought i would too. “…it’s not just the visual candy that pleases the most, thematically, Ralph is brilliant too” Indeed, it’s more than just eye candy to me, though Sugar Rush is just so adorable, it’s the place where the term ‘eye candy’ is not just a euphemism, ahah.

    Btw, I added you to my blogroll, can’t believe I haven’t added you sooner! 😀

    • Thanks Ruth. The eye candy thing was as much a play on words, I got little big planet in there too but think that one gotmissed 😉 I very nearly give it five thought it was excellent. Thanks for adding me too, very kind 🙂 vanellope is “supercute” as my daughter and viewing buddy (cough) /excuse to watch “kids” movies would say!

  4. Good review. It has a heart, that it always wears on it’s sleeve, which also makes the characters nice and sympathetic to actually feel a little som som for.

    • Thanks and agreed. It wears it on its sleeve for sure and when he wrecks the car I was filling up like a big baby ;’) the fact that they are essentially outsiders really makes you root for them.

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