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Wreck-It Ralph

February 20, 2013

I like movies. I like video games. When these two interests intersect, I become very interested.

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Wreck-It Ralph is a computer-generated cartoon adventure by Disney, with a little help from Pixar. Its titular character, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the villain in a 1980s aracde game, Fix-It Felix Jnr. Tired of having spent 30 years playing the bad guy and of being shunned by the other characters in the game, Ralph resolves to win a medal (awarded to the digital good guys) and earn their (and his own) respect. He jumps arcade games to a brand new Halo-esque shoot-em-up. He succeeds before accidentally careering into a 1990s diabetic racing game, Sugar Rush. There, his medal is stolen by Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a glitch and wannabe racer so she can compete in the races. Between Ralph abandoning his game and Vanellope’s glitchy nature, they throw the fates of their and other video games into questions and mayhem ensues!

This is a children’s film. The plot is relatively straightforward and filled with typical Disney schmaltz. However, this is also a film for geeks. It drips, oozes and positively gushes with references to video game culture over the last 30 years. Cameos by Sonic and Bowser and M. Bison are obvious and do their duty as advertising fodder but there are subtle nods and homages strewn throughout the film, in crowd scenes, portraits and graffiti. While the kids in the cinema laughed at the toilet humour, the dads and myself were tearing up at the references to our childhood.

In short, I feel well-catered for.

This is not a Pixar film but you can still feel its presence linger on the celluloid. This is a film aimed at children (An impression I do not get with Pixar films) but that doesn’t stop audiences of all ages being carried along by the story and the characters. Despite being an acromegalic machine of destruction, Ralph is a likeable softie (a la Shrek, but softer) and though I found Vanellope a little bit of a high-pitched brat, there are moments of genuine pathos here. The climax certainly had my heart moving into my mouth.

Disclaimer: I may just be an over-sized manchild.

The feature film is preceded, Pixar-style, by a short film, Paperman. Drawn in a heavily monochromatic style, it is about love at first sight and missed opportunities. It is possibly the most perfect love story on the silver screen this Valentine’s Day.

I guess the best review of this film I can give is that I want to see it again. Badly. And not just to try and soak up even more delicious pop-culture references. Any film that entices multiple viewing must be doing something right, right?

Disclaimer: Manchild.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. musicMagpie permalink
    February 20, 2013 11:44 am

    Great review, consider yourself followed. I loved it too – the perfect family film!

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