Maybe not quite as soul-searching as some traditional franchises from Disney, Wreck-It Ralph is still an outrageous, colourful blast of video-game sub genre fun.
Yes, asides from Tron and The Last Starfighter, Wreck-It Ralph is one of the first films to fully embrace the popularity of video games, only difference being Disney has its fingers in a lot of pies when it comes to franchises. References galore!
Ralph is the antagonist in a retro arcade video game, but after thirty years of feeling under-appreciated he goes on a quest to be the hero for once and he “game jumps” to the other games in their arcade.
Ralph’s character is relatively straight-forward and the story isn’t particularly fascinating. It is in his nature to wreck everything he touches, so he has to learn what it really means to be hero or a villain. He meets up with a computer glitch called Vanellope in a racing game, and the two discover their similarities as characters feeling out of place.
I won’t lie, as a game I was fully involved with the dozens and dozens of references and cameos (Sonic, M. Bison, Ryu!) scattered throughout the film, a lot of these are stacked in the first half of the movie, along with easily my favourite segment: Ralph’s trip into the sci-fi action game “Hero’s Duty”. Jane Lynch (yes, from Glee) as Sergeant Calhoun stole the show for me. There is a lot of fun here for the swelling target audience of kids, teens and… erm… big kids, who obsess over computer games!
So yeah, I found the story of Wreck-It Ralph to be quite derivative the film loses momentum towards the end when Ralph stops game jumping, suggesting to me that this isn’t really “film” quality storytelling… But if Disney were to make a load of animated shorts (ala Toy Story) I would be sold!
But the film is a novelty in its mere existence. A testimony of the times we live in and the media we are subjected to. It is a eccentric cartoon with no brakes and for every dud piece of dialogue there are lots of good laughs and sly references.