No Input Required: Wreck-IT Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph is the animated movie that’ll be hard to ignore if you’ve ever called yourself a gamer. The arcade setting and numerous cameos will draw your attention to what would otherwise be just another fun Disney flick.

So let’s just put this on the table right now, Wreck-It Ralph is not the best video game movie ever made. If you’re interested in the movie just for the video game cameos you’ll be treated to a few chuckles but Wreck-It Ralph focus’ on it’s own universe and story to drive the movie. While it was billed as Toy Story but with Video Games, Ralph and friends don’t have the same emotional connection that Woody and Buzz was able to draw out of their audience. The immortality of the game characters mostly has to deal with that, as the movie has to go out of it’s way to explain the drama between characters. It’s similar to how it’s nearly impossible to make a good Superman game because he’s just so damn powerful. How can you connect to a character when there really isn’t much of a struggle. Phew, now that we’ve got the giant elephant in the room out of the way let’s move on to the actual movie.

Wreck-It Ralph is the bad guy of an arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr. If the first image that popped in your head was Donkey Kong Jr. then you’ll understand why Mario or Donkey Kong didn’t make it in the movie as cameos. Wreck-It Ralph is a human version of Donkey Kong and Fix-It Felix Jr. is a Disney version of Mario. But their game is one of many that inhabit the 80’s dream of an arcade and after it closes the characters are free to mingle with each other either each other games or in game central. Game central is apparently the surge protector connecting all of the arcade machines together. Don’t think about this one too hard.

sargent-calhounThe citizens of the game, Fix-It Felix Jr. all live inside this nice building with Felix and have parties. Meanwhile Ralph has to live in a literal dump being disregarded by everyone and treated like a villain even when he’s not on the job. After 30 years of the same thing he’s tired of it and decides he’s going to be the good guy somehow even if it’s in another game. While he’s trying to become a hero we get to venture into two other Disney made game worlds: Hero’s Duty and Sugar Rush are both funny enough concepts. It’s obvious that Hero’s Duty is making fun of Call of Duty in name but actually has more of a Gears of War or Halo in look and character. While Sugar Rush is the candy coated version of the classic Mario Kart. Both worlds are interesting but there isn’t enough time spent in Hero’s Duty and little too much time spent in Sugar Rush. On top of that I would have liked to have seen Wreck-It Ralph spend a little time in some actual game worlds, just to see it on them big screen.

The cast ranges from phenomenal to par. John C Reilly is Ralph, Sarah Silverman is the sugar coated sour bomb known as Vanellope Van Sweets, Jack McBrayer is represents the Barney Fife of video games as Fix-It Felix and Jane Lynch is Sgt. Calhoun. Most of the cast isn’t really well regarded for their voice work but everyone is cast very well. I could watch Felix and Calhoun talk to each other all day. I wish there was more time with them as the Mayberry like Felix falls in love with the stereotype of Marcus Fenix but with boobs.

This isn’t Toy Story but with video games. It’s right on the cusp being a deeper experience but misses the mark and what we’re left with is a fun Disney movie. It’s not a bad movie but it’s just good. At the same time though, it was pretty awesome for old this Sega fanboy to see Sonic on the big screen.

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Bryan Belcher

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