Wreck-It Ralph review

Review Simon Brew 8 Feb 2013 - 08:47

Disney turns its attention to the videogame realm with the affectionate and entertaining Wreck-It Ralph. Here's Simon's review...

For a film that could have coasted through its quieter moments on the sheer novelty of its concept alone, it's something of a pleasant surprise to find that the videogaming influences of Wreck-It Ralph are the gravy over the dinner, rather than the main feast itself.

This is just the way it should be of course: the Toy Story films may have been about the secret life of toys when they've not being played with, but it was three substantive and interesting narratives that ultimately made the trilogy sparkle. With Wreck-It Ralph, the same is true. It's not at Toy Story level, but it gives Pixar's trilogy a real run for its proverbial money.

Because what's particularly satisfying about Wreck-It Ralph is that if you took the videogaming elements out of the movie, the story would still work. Sure, it'd be a lot more basic and a lot less fun, but the core of the film is steadfastly about two outsiders, who find each other - without any mawkish romance in the way - and ultimately share their struggles with simply fitting in.

Outsider number one is Ralph, voicing by John C Reilly. Ralph is the villain in an 8-bit arcade game, Fix-It Felix, and the film - courtesy of an excellent opening sequence - pulls back to explore what happens to him and the others when the arcade closes. Basically, while everyone else is living the high life, Ralph gets to sleep in the rubbish.

But come the 30th anniversary of his game, Ralph has had enough. This is demonstrated exquisitely not by the scene that's been replayed time and time again in the trailers - the wonderful moment where he attends a support group for game villains - but instead, by him going for a root beer with a very familiar bartender. It's one of many, many instances of where Wreck-It Ralph gets the little details right. Heck, by the time this scene comes around, several other examples could also have been cited of how the film seamlessly weaves videogame culture in, without ever needing to show off about it.

The film follows Ralph's journey away from his game and Niceland, through to the hustle and bustle of Game Central Station (where a veritable who's who of classic videogame characters are to be found), into the dark, foreboding world of first person shooter Hero's Duty, and then eventually into the land of Mario Kart knock-off, Sugar Rush. On the basis of how quickly and effectively the film gets to this point, director Rich Moore has instantly become the top choice should an adaptation of Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree ever be required.

Things slow up a lot when the film reaches the sickly-sweet world of Sugar Rush though, which proves to be a double-edged sword. On the one side, it's arguably the least interesting of the four different visual worlds presented in the film (although that's as much due to the quality of the other three). On the other, it's here we get to meet Vanellope, voiced by Sarah Silverman.

In a film bustling with quality, well-chosen voice talent, Silverman instantly becomes the highlight, curling her tones into those of a snarky, yet slightly vulnerable and relatable nine-year old girl. The relationship between Ralph and Vanellope always threatened to be the making or breaking of Wreck-It Ralph. Fortunately, these are two characters you can really root for, and frequently do.

It perhaps makes Wreck-It Ralph a little less of an ongoing videogame love-in than you might expect, but with one or two narrative surprises up its sleeve, it's a consistently entertaining family movie.

Furthermore, it's a film significantly enriched by its videogame coating. There's a real sense of a passion for the subject matter here, from the small sight gags through to the broader inclusion of very recognisable videogame characters. Expect when the eventual disc releases come around for much freeze-framing to be required, to catch every little gag and reference Rich Moore and his team have woven in.

It was always going to be a hard job to satiate the needs of a Disney movie and the demands of a videogame-fed audience. Wreck-It Ralph, though, treads the line if not perfectly, then extremely well. It's visually striking, consistently entertaining, and likely to leave you thirsting at the thought of where a second, even nerdier film could go.

Wreck-It Ralph is out on the 8th February in UK cinemas.

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Seeing this on Monday. My memories bygone days of being addiction to Donkey Kong are flooding back.

Watched it. Was awesome. That is all.

I actually enjoyed this a lot more than the last few Pixar films. Maybe it was because of my love for videogames, maybe it was because I wasnt expecting to enjoy it quite so much... But for me it ticked every box, whereas Brave and Cars 2 did not.

Thoroughly enjoyed this, the short before (Paperman) also highly recommended.

cars was crap and cars 2 was abysmal! but the guys in pixar have a hard on for the franchise!
Haven't seen brave yet as like you I've lost the love for Pixar

A decent adaptation of The Magic Faraway Tree is most DEFINITELY required. Get this made before my kids get too old to appreciate it! (We have the books till then though)

Yeah I really never got into Cars... Brave was really great, it just seemed to miss that magical spark I've come to expect from Pixar. I think their biggest hurdle is that they made so many amazing films in a row, disappointment was inevitable at some point. Its fantastic to see great films coming from other studios though!

If you want to regain your love for Pixar then absolutely do not watch Brave. Only my opinion but it was boring.

Out on the 8th of Feb in Uk Cinemas that is. This Film is a CLASSIC example of why regional coding is just STUPID. It came out in the USA last OCTOBER for Gods sake! Thats now getting on for 4 months plus. Its available on Bluray rip websites all over the internet, and has been on sale at my local car boot fair for weeks....

Why cant the idiots in charge understand that all this sort of nonsense just makes piracy worse?????? What are they afraid of? Are less people going to go and see it at the Cinema if it comes out Worldwide at more or less the same time????? NO!

But doing it this way, means all the hard up parents who cant afford to take two kids to the Cinema and pay £40 entry fees, just pick it up at the car boot fair or from knock off Nigel for a fiver.

Its just utterly utterly pointless and the whole system should be scrapped. The internet makes it redundant.

And yes, I have seen it, and yes its very good. Its great infact, and its better than Brave, but that was a bit dull. If you like video games you will love it. All the cute sugar rush stuff does get a bit much after a while, and I would have liked to see more classic characters but other than that...cool.

Stupid regional coding is pants......

Saw this film when cineworld put on an exclusive screening and I must say it was nothing short of brilliant. The whole film gets so much right including character development and still leaves loads of space for the in jokes referencing retro gaming. I could really not recommend this more.

Where I agree it is ridiculous, this only really seems to be the case for animated films these days. Disney and Dreamworks are a like in this, but if it came out in October it would have still been £40, what's the point in buying a knock off that might be good quality, but wouldn't be the best when you could pay the same price to see it now than you would have when released everywhere else? I think the packed out cinema at 20.20 that I was at last night proves that most people don't mind when a quality film will come out, as they just want to see it. A Street Fighter competition thrown in after (on e big screen) made it one amazing cinema experience. (And seeing Paperman on the big screen makes it a little bit worth it too, truly amazing).

Let's just hope Marvel keep releasing films in advance in the UK (Avengers and soon to be Iron Man 3), so don't complain too much :).

This was fun. But do today's kids really go to the arcades? Don't they just stay home playing games on their xboxs etc?

Yes its very strange it seems to be only certain films. But the knock off was Bluray quality. Thats the one I saw. I have a big screen at home, and its just way cheaper as the small town I live in does not have a cinema as such. The nearest decent one is 25 miles away and charges £8 to £15 a ticket depending on when you go, and you have to add in £10 - £15 for petrol as well. Its just not financial sense for me to go to the cinema anymore. It has to be a really good, big event movie like Lord of the Rings / Hobbit etc. I used to go every week, but that was back when it was £4 a ticket, none of this peak time nonsense when they double the price on evenings and weekends. And the petrol only used to cost me 70p a litre...can you imagine? If only it still cost that much Britain would not be dead in the water with a triple dip recession but thats another story.

I have also fallen out of love with the whole cinema experience. Yes the screen is big, but I have a Yamaha Cinema amp 7.1 sound, sub, the works in my living room and it sounds perfect. Better than any standard cinema. And I find I can no longer be bothered with the hassle of driving all the way there, then the scrum of people, idiots with mobile phones glued to their ears / faces, people with B.O. people talking and pratting about, and then there are the naff adverts at the Cinema before the film. If I wanted crap adverts I would watch ITV. Then there is the over priced food, popcorn at £5 a tub and people sitting chewing, chomping, talking ,annoying kids and...well can you tell I dont like it much anymore?

So I just get the download, or Bluray when I can afford it and watch what I want in peace. With a nice cool beer too that I would not be allowed at the Cinema, and for a tenth of the price too.

Wreck it Ralph would be worth taking kids to see as its better than most films. Its just unreal that this was the big thing online and everyone was talking about it four months or so ago, and now its old news. Yet in the UK its just got to cinemas. Its just weird and wrong in this day and age.

Watched this and found it to be nothing like toy story quality at all. This was the promise that I was sold by critics like Jonathan Ross and the company itself but thankfully after thirty minutes I saw that my niece who I had taken was enjoying it so I just leaned back and imagined I was watching a far better film.
I am a fan of John c Riley and even Sarah Silverman but there is no way this is gonna be a classic like toy story here's hoping the same company doesn't just push out another crappy film sequel 'wreck it Ralph 2' the standard sequel.

You lost your love for Pixar just because of two films, one being a sequel to the first?! That's harsh! Brave is fine but not excellent. But rewatch the Toy Story trilogy and re-find your love for them! I'm sure Monsters University will be great and their slate after that promises much excellence!

Haven't seen it so I can't judge but when I saw Jonathan Ross's comment on the TV spot I thought that it was a damn big statement to make! The Toy Story films are one of the finest trilogies in cinema.

Will be watching this Tuesday. It's Disney and not Pixar so hopefully the story and animation are of a similar or the same standard. Looking forward to hopefully see the 'Paperman' short on the big screen that preceded it in the US showings. Do agree with the Region coding being redundant, especially these days of the internet etc as well.

I found that the film ran out of video game references about 2/3rds through the film and just felt like a (sugar) rush to the finish.

Good film but like others have mentioned, the last 1/3rd of the movie in the sickly sweet sugar rush hills is a bit of a drag..

Kid sister loved it though!!

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