It seems like Pixar and Disney have switched roles this year, with the former kicking out a princess themed tale, and the latter trying something edgy and original. But here is Wreck-It-Ralph, a movie about video games, which excited me immensely as I am a huge nerd.
Wreck-It-Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the villain in the arcade game Fix-It Felix, Jr. For 30 years he has destroyed the same building, only to have his efforts undone by Felix (Jack McBrayer) and the residents throw him into the mud. Despite it being his job, Ralph has had enough of being the bad guy, so he attempts to hop over to another game in search of a hero's medal. Nut Ralph only knows wrecking, and it's not long before he stirs up some chaos. Can a guy who only knows how to be a villain step up and do some good?
This movie is a love letter to video games old and new. There are some fantastic cameos spread throughout, from the likes of Sonic, Bowser, Pacman, and many others. They all exist in a fully imagined interconnected world inside an arcade, and the ideas and scenarios are all fleshed out, and made a lot of sense to me as a gamer. Not that this is a movie only gamers will like. There are a buttload of references that only gamers will understand, but anyone can enjoy the plot and characters. Aside from Ralph and Felix, the girl racer Vanellope Von Schweetz and no-nonsense Sergeant Calhoun are fantastically portrayed by Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch repsectively.
While this is predominantly a movie about video games, a lot of the action takes place in one specific original game, the candy themed racer Sugar Rush. Once the plot arrives there about halfway through, it rarely leaves, which could have felt a bit restrictive given the glimpses we had of the rest of the arcade world. But the Sugar Rush world is so perfectly constructed, I instantly went from enjoying the movie as a video game fanatic, to enjoying it as a massive fan of confectionery. Every single piece of the world is made of sweets that you can recognise, with some clear nods to some slightly obscure foods as well. Every aspect of this movie is just constructed perfectly, and never overused.
Wreck-It-Ralph is probably one of my favourite Disney movies of all time. It is a bold and original effort, paying homage to video games old and new, but managing to blend it all into a heart-warming, action-packed comedy that people of all ages can enjoy. With memorable characters, beautiful, fully realised environments, and an awesome soundtrack, I won't be surprised if this scoops up the Best Animated Feature Oscar.
My rating: 5/5