Thoughts: Wreck-It Ralph, the movie that video game fans have been waiting for years, does it disappoint? Basically, Wreck-It Ralph is the equivalent to Toy Story for the gamer generation like myself, except so much better than any Pixar has ever done. As a die-heart video games fanatic the first half of the film was a geek-fest of nerdy awesomeness! More on the references later. As for the film itself, Wreck-It Ralph is a ton of fun filled with adventure and humor throughout. There are a few problem, which I explain in a "Plot" section, but as a whole it does not disappoint.
Even though many of the games referenced were more of the 80s and 90s arcade era, being a video game history buff I got more than 95% of the references, which was hilariously awesome. There were times when I literally pointed at the screen like "Oh, is that what I think it? That's really clever and funny!" My favorite was probably the Metal Gear Solid exclamation point (!), complete with original sound effects, but it would have been great to actually see Solid Snake. Some of the video games characters that appeared in the film were rather surprising, particularly the Mortal Kombat character Kano considering that the franchise is known for being among the goriest games out there. Although direct references to more modern games such as Mass Effect and Halo would have been great, but it probably would have not fit with the arcade setting very well, however there is hope for the sequel. Among all of the video game references there is small Star Wars reference, which makes me think was this originally planned before Disney bought Star Wars? Since it was in production long before the deal finished it could just be a coincidence because what filmmaker is not a Star Wars or it could have been a last minute type of thing because it was so minor. Despite being loaded with references they were actually subtle and only distracted if you know what the reference is, opposed to blatantly pointing it out.
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Video Game, Adventure, Family
Release Date: November 2, 2012
Running Time: 101 minutes
MMPA rating: PG
The Bad: Too much "Sugar Rush", Unnecessarily childish second half (I know it is a kid's movie, but it still could have been handled better),
Plot: The following plot summery is copied from Wikipedia.com.
When Litwak's Arcade closes at night, the various video-game characters leave their normal in-game roles and are free to travel to other games. Within the game Fix-It Felix, Jr., the characters celebrate its titular hero but loathe the game's villain character, Wreck-It Ralph. At a support group for video-game antagonists, Ralph reveals his desire to stop being the bad guy. Back home, Ralph finds the other characters celebrating their game's 30th anniversary without inviting him. Felix reluctantly invites Ralph to join them, but the others ostracize him, saying he would have to earn a medal, just as Felix does in their game.
At Tapper's, Ralph learns he can win a medal in the first-person shooter game Hero's Duty. Ralph enters the game and encounters Sergeant Calhoun, its no-nonsense leader. Between game sessions, Ralph climbs the game's central beacon and collects the medal, accidentally hatching a Cy-Bug, one of the game's enemies. The Cy-Bug clings to Ralph as he stumbles into an escape pod that launches him out of the game. Meanwhile, with Ralph missing, a girl reports to Litwak the arcade owner that Fix-It Felix, Jr. is malfunctioning. Since broken games get unplugged, leaving their characters homeless, Felix goes to find Ralph.
Watch the movie to what happens next.
Plot: 9.6/10- Despite a ton of references in the first half, the film does unfortunately shy away from the video game references in the second half. Since the movie needed to appeal a verity of movie goers, this is understandable however, was it really unnecessary to spend so much time in the fictional and childish game "Sugar Rush"? Some of it had good character building moments and seemed necessary, but a few parts could have been cut or replaced with more of the other video games. Also there were some parts in "Sugar Rush" that were unnecessarily childish and pandered towards little girls, it could have been easily changed to appeal to a wider audience. Even with those problems, the climax was great, reminiscent of classic video games boss fights and the characters were given a solid story arc. There is a plot twist that I saw coming, but from what I heard in the review most did not see it coming.
Action: 8.5/10- For an animated film, the action was fantastic. During the "Hero's Duty" scene the action was all over-the-place, in an awesome chaotic video game way. It actually reminded me of the Collector Base attack in Mass Effect 2, did anyone else think of that? The cart race was fun, thrilling and reminded me of Mario Kart.
Acting: 9.7/10- Overall the cast was top notch with every member giving an excellent performance. Jane Lynch was the standout of the film as the tough military commander Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun. John C. Reilly as Ralph was solid in the title role. Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix, Jr. was excellently cast in his role. Although Sarah Silverman's character, Vanellope von Schweetz, was intentionally annoying, she was a tad too annoying at times. Many of the video game characters who had a cameo were voiced by their original actors, which was great.
Art Style: 9.9/10- Wreck-It Ralph might have the best 3D animated art design I have ever seen. Everything was crisp and clean were it needed to be and the design for characters in the older 8-bit games was very clever. Each game had a unique art style, yet they blended well into a coherent film well.
Soundtrack: 9.4/10- The score was reminiscent of video games from the arcade era and gave the film a great retro atmosphere. Normally any use of licensed songs during
Comedy: 8.5/10- Humor is the only aspect were Wreck-It Ralph slightly disappoints, while there are plenty of hilarious moments and jokes, some of the humor was too childish and not funny. Obviously the video game references were absolutely hysterical, most of which was in the first half. Although some of the candy jokes were good, but some humor just did not work. However, it is far funnier than the majority of animated films and still among the best in the animated comedy genre.
Mildly Funny: 20%
Not Funny: 15%
Would I Watch This Again: Most definitely, to catch even more of the references a second viewing is a must.
Overall: 9.6/10- There is so much I love about Wreck-It Ralph from a video game fanatic perspective, but there a few things that just did not work and it drug at times. However, Wreck-It Ralph is possibly the best 3D animated film ever made, even if there are a few minor things that I would tweak and an absolutely must watch for video game fans. On the other hand, it is difficult to determine whether non-video game fans would enjoy the film but there should be enough there for the general audience to enjoy.
Note: All rating are relative to other animated films, not live-action. The score would be closer to 8.4/10 compared to most films.
Closing Comments: Even with a few flaws, Wreck-It Ralph blended video games, an original story, and likable characters into a fun family film that has enough for older video game fans like myself to enjoy. Considering the film success, maybe it will revive some of the old franchises like Pac-Man for the modern era.
Reviewing Wreck-It Ralph has reminded me of how much I want to review video games, so if you have a request for a video game for me to review please comment. (I own a Xbox 360, Wii, and PS2).
Also a big thanks goes to Buddy2Blogger for hosting a Redbox giveaway, which I won, that gave the means to rent the Blu-Ray.
Do not forget to check out Jordan's and Daniel's review of this film in the links below.
Wreck-It Ralph Review by Jordan
Wreck-It Ralph Review by Jamie
WRECK-IT RALPH Review by Daniel
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