Wreck-It Ralph delivers charm and entertainment of Disney’s best moviesCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Everyone has seen Toy Story, and most people have seen the sequels. The reason for this is simple: Toy Story has a universal appeal. While it exclusively concerns children’s toys, the film’s appeal lies in the toys’ realities projected via our fantasies. Out of this, an imaginative and fun “what if” situation comes about and we are granted in-depth look into the alien, but familiar, lives of toys. Wreck-It Ralph does just this, and while its similarities to Toy Story cannot be ignored, Wreck-It Ralph still re-invigorates this formula with great imagination.
Wreck-It Ralph, voiced by John C Reilly, is a villain from a 1980s video game called Fix-It Felix, named after the game’s hero. This arcade game is by far the least popular, overshadowed by the increasing number of newer titles. When everyone has gone home, the video game characters take on a life of their own and go home too (home being their respective game worlds) but are able to interact with one another in Game Central Station, a hub leading to all games located in the electricity socket multiplier. In a world where villains have to be bad, whether or not they truly are, Ralph feels like an outcast and aspires to be a hero.
Through Ralph’s journey, we enter different game worlds, each offering their own very individual characters and landscapes. It is here we see Wreck-It Ralph’s imagination in full force. While each of the film’s games may borrow certain elements from their real-life counterparts, Wreck-It Ralph explores the medium of video games seriously, acknowledging the medium’s expansive creative potential for creating and discovering whole new worlds. Moving from the dark, hostile, Halo-influenced world of Hero’s Duty to the extravagant colourful world of Sugar Rush allows the film to retain its visual and thematic novelty throughout.
While gamers will no doubt cheer the brief cameo appearances from Street Fighter’s M.Bison and countless other subtle game references, adults will engage with the heart-warming friendship that develops between Ralph and Vanellope, voiced by Sarah Silverman. But children will gain the most from the plethora of lovable characters and generous use of vivid, rich colours which are so common in the video game world, yet perhaps rarer on the silver screen. Wreck-It Ralph successfully combines exceptional characterisation and artistry to achieve excellent results, and showcases a great soundtrack by British rising star Henry Jackman.
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