‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Movie Review

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‘Wreck-IT Ralph’ Movie Review by Mike Gencarelli

“Wreck-It Ralph” is the latest 3D animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and it also has become of my favorite films of the year.  When I heard that Disney was making a film based on an 8-bit game, I was ecstatic.  I grew up playing classic video games from Atari to Nintendo and now high-def  games on systems like XBOX 360 and PS3.  So this movie is a perfectly targeted for someone like myself.  But what also works well is that it isn’t a total nerd fest, a complete video game layman can still enjoy this film just as much as myself. If you are looking to escape for 90 minutes, I highly recommend this film for the whole family.

The video game world created throughout “Wreck-It Ralph” is just simply breathtaking.  They are extremely colorful, specifically “Sugar Rush”.  The 3D effects in the film also really help to add that WOW-factor to this amazing world.  I loved the ever-so subtle touches in each game ranging from the 8-bit “Wreck-It Ralph” to completely different high-def first person shooter “Hero’s Duty”.  The visual effects in this film rival those of the wonders of Pixar for sure.  After seeing the beautiful “Tangled”, I was blown away and thought how can they top this but “Wreck-It Ralph” takes the animation to a new level. Get it level? Anyone? (Sorry had to throw in a little video game humor).

On the eve of celebrating the 30th anniversary with his game “Fix-It Felix, Jr.”, Wreck-It Ralph is tired of being the bad-guy.  He wants to be recognized for his work like Fix-It Felix does every game with his medals and getting respect from the buildings residents.  When Ralph leaves his own game to win a medal and prove that he is more than a bad-guy, he gets more than he bargained for.  After heading into the high-def first person shooter game “Hero’s Duty”, he is able to steal the hero’s medal but ends up taking one of the uncontrollable villains known as Cy-Bugs to the kart-racing game called “Sugar Rush”.  This is where he meets the cutie Vanellope von Schweetz and get involved with helping her with her issue of being a glitch and her dream to race in the game.  Of course, the ruler of the game, King Candy, has another plan.  With the help of the lead character of “Hero’s Duty”, Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun and Fix-It Felix Jr., they set out to find Ralph and return him to his game before it is put out-of-order for good, as well as to prevent a Cy-Bug invasion of “Sugar Rush”.

I am huge fan of John C. Reilly. I love how he is able to range in roles from crazy TV series like Adult Swim’s “Check it Out” to kid friendly roles like this. To be honest though, I am not particularly a fan of either Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch but I am a fan now.  They completely won me over in this film. Sarah was super-cute playing Vanellope von Schweetz and Jack McBrayer was a riot as Fix-It Felix, Jr. The all-star medal should definitely go to Alan Tudyk for stealing the show (and channeling his inner Mad Hatter) playing King Candy, from the game “Sugar Rush”.

The film is jam-packed with amazing video game cameos but it never becomes overwhelming. I felt that it was a nice balance of cameos and didn’t take anything away from the film. Some of them had speaking roles and some were just background. The best cameos were from characters like Ken, Ryu and Zangief from “Street Fighter”, who get some good laughs. Kano from “Mortal Kombat” gets his signature finishing move in. “Sonic the Hedgehog” has a small role as does the bartender from Tapper, which almost got me out of my chair laughing. Lastly Q*bert lands a few good lines as well (if you can call them that). Some of the non-speaking cameos are including Bowser from “Super Mario Bros”, Doctor Eggman from “Sonic the Hedgehog” and even Pac-Man. If you are looking for other types of product cameos you will find them in the game “Sugar Rush” ranging from very clever uses of Oreos, Devil Dogs, Mentos, Nestle Quik and Laffy Taffy.  I have a feeling I will be repeating the following chant for months to come: OREOOOOOOOO….OREEEEEEEEEO! Once you see it you will know why.

When it comes to video games, music is always a very important factor. I absolutely loved the score by Henry Jackman, it captures the video game feel but also adding in the Disney flare.  The Japanese girl group, AKB48, sings the super catchy theme song for the in-movie video game “Sugar Rush”. It will have you bouncing through the credit.  Speaking of credits be sure to stick around for a brief “glitch” scene after the credits. Also if you have an iPhone, be sure to download the free game from Disney’s “Fix-It Felix, Jr.” It is tons of fun and makes you feel like you are in the movie. It will also get you saying “I’m Gonna Wreck-It” after everything you say! My wife loves it ;-)

This film is accompanied by another wonderful short film by Disney called “Paperman”. It is one of the cutest short films that I have ever seen. It is wordless, presented in glorious black-and-white and packs a perfect score from Christophe Beck. The film is in 3D put contains some of the most beautiful hand-drawn animation mixed with the aspect of CG. I would recommend highly getting to the theater early to catch this for sure!

After “Tangled”, which is one of my favorites films (of all-time), I am glad that Walt Disney Animation Studios is successfully making films outside of just working with Pixar. “Frozen” is up next, which is a 3D animated musical based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. It features the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel and is set for release on November 27, 2013. Count me in for sure!

Directed by: Rich Moore

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 93 minutes

MEDIA MIKESSCORE:  Film: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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