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A stunning technical achievement both for kids and for overgrown man-children who still remember the special code for Contra....
Buena Vista / 101 Minutes / 2012 / Rated PG / Street Date: March 5, 2013
If you logged hours as a video game player in the 80s, you should do yourself a favor and watch Wreck-It Ralph- even just its first twenty minutes or so. The geeky thrills one gets seeing folks like Q*bert and even warriors from the Street Fighteruniverse are completely compelling, and frequently funny as all get-out: Wreck-It Ralphis a movie about video games clearly made by former (and maybe current) gamers, and when it refracts into itself and mocks the NES and Sega Genesis worlds that bore it, it’s a hoot.
And as a testament to the Disney machine, even those of us who never learned the tricks of finding bonus worlds in Super Mario Bros. will find endearing, charming fun here. Wreck-It Ralphturns into just another movie in its final reel, which is a shame, but until then, it sports a narrative verve that really sets it apart. This is committee filmmaking all the way, but even the rampant cliches at work in the movie somehow never feel disingenuous: Wreck-It Ralphis always familiar and averse to storytelling nuance, but it’s still often laugh-out-loud funny.
Our eponymous protagonist (John C. Reilly) is tired of being a bad guy. For nearly thirty years, he’s been a boss-man in a game called Fix-It Felix, and he feels like he has more to offer. In a brazen move, he jumps out of the confines of his own video game and when he reaches the ‘arcade’, he opts to jump into a first-person shooter game entitled Hero’s Duty, where he thinks he can grab a medal of honor and atone for his bad-guy pedigree once and for all. This switcheroo doesn’t go as planned, though, and within minutes, both Ralph’s fate and the stasis of the entire video game universe gets thrown up in the air.
Wreck-It Ralphis good for a handful of solid in-jokes and some devilishly fun animation, and even though its narrative never fully coalesces, this family picture is nonetheless able to connect the dots nominally around every corner. It may not be the kind of animated adventure that you’ll come back to again and again, but I know I’m not alone in saying that I’d watch and enjoy any movie Sonic the Hedgehog plays a major part in.